Warning: This post contains spoilers.
Though director James Gunn says he had to delete the most easter-egg-laden scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the movie still has plenty of geek-out moments for die-hard Marvel fans. Callbacks — like the Troll Doll from the first Guardians movie — abound. Characters like Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone) are teased for future films. And for those less versed in comic books, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) drops a handful of ’80s pop culture references. Heck, even David Hasselhoff shows up.
Plus, Gunn stuffed five post-credit scenes into the end of the film, each with its own hint of what’s in store for the Guardians and the Avengers in future Marvel movies, including next year’s Avengers: Infinity War. Here are all the easter eggs, references and teasers you probably missed while you were distracted by Baby Groot’s dance moves.
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Peter Quill uses a classic '80s game to track the Abilisk
The planet the Guardians crash-land on has been visited by the Hulk
"Trash panda" is a Reddit meme
Does Peter Quill have Internet access in space? Because the insult “trash panda” that he lobs at Rocket is pulled straight from a popular meme.
Howard the Duck is back
David Hasselhoff has a cameo
Peter tells Gamora that when he was little he would tell his friends that his dad was David Hasselhoff, who never visited because he was too busy filming a show with a talking car (Knight Rider). The Baywatch star later makes a cameo when Peter’s shapeshifting real father Ego (Kurt Russell) briefly transforms into Hasselhoff. (He also performed a song for the soundtrack.)
Knight Rider is also one of Peter’s many pop culture references, like Skeletor and Sam and Diane from Cheers, that go over the heads of his cohorts.
The conversation about whether Ego has a penis was lifted from social media
When Marvel revealed that Kurt Russell would be playing a planet named Ego and also Peter’s father, fans questioned how, exactly, a planet could have procreated with a human. Gunn came armed with answers: When Drax asks Ego about the mechanics of creating Peter, Ego confirms that he did make himself a human penis.
When Peter whispers, "Eternity," he's talking about a character, not a concept
When Ego reveals Peter’s powers to him, the father shows his son the limits of the galaxy. Peter’s eyes literally fill with stars, and he whispers “Eternity.” Maybe Peter was envisioning a never-ending existence, but more likely the line is a nod to a character named “Eternity,” an all-powerful God in the Marvel Universe who is illustrated as a being filled with stars, like those in Peter’s eyes.
Peter becomes Pac-Man
Peter's grandfather was almost crushed by the blob
When Ego begins to take over the planets where he’s left his “seeds,” a blue blob near the Dairy Queen in Missouri (where Peter grew up) begins to envelop the earth. At one point, the blob barely misses crushing a car. The passenger in that car is Peter Quill’s grandfather, played by Gregg Henry in the first movie.
The Troll Doll Peter places next to Yondu's body is important
Cosmo the Spacedog shows up in the credits
Grandmaster from Thor: Ragnarok also danced through the credits
Stan Lee may be a Watcher
Stan Lee has shown up for a cameo in just about every Marvel movie. Fans have speculated as to whether the comic-book legend may actually be playing a character in all of these films. Some say he’s a Watcher, one of the aliens in the Marvel Universe whose job it is to literally watch important events (and not interfere). In the film, Lee chats with the Watchers, and in a post-credits scene, the Watchers bore of Lee and leave — all of which further bolsters the fan theory.
Adam Warlock is coming...
In another post-credits sequence, the priestess Ayesha says that’s she created a perfect being. She stares at a pod and declares she will call him Adam. This is almost certainly Adam Warlock, a scientifically-engineered perfect being who sometimes fights alongside the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. (In the comic books, Ayesha did not create Adam but rather is his female counterpart. They’re sometimes called “Him” and “Her.” Gunn confirmed that Adam will feature in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.)
And so is another Guardians team
Sylvester Stallone plays the Ravager Stakar in Vol. 2. The character is also known in the comics as Starhawk, part of another iteration of the Guardians: In the comics, he founded the Guardians of the Galaxy in another timeline. The fact that he joins up with several other characters in a post-credits scene — his sister Aleta (Michelle Yeoh), Mainframe (Miley Cyrus), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames) and Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum) — means that we’re getting another Guardians team either in sequels or spinoffs.