As you may or may not know, a movie "Easter egg" is a joke or reference cleverly hidden in a scene. Pixar's references to its other movies are probably the most recognizable examples of an Easter egg (a plush Nemo toy in "Monsters, Inc.", a Pizza Planet truck appearing in almost every movie), but many other films have at least a few.
Directors have been sneaking (often elaborate) Easter eggs into their movies for years and one of our favorite pastimes has been uncovering the often-missed ones. Here are few of the crazier instances we've written about in the past, those that had some serious ramifications for their movies' plots.
1. R2-D2 has made secret appearances in many movies, including "Raiders of the Lost Ark," along with C-3PO.
There were aliens in the Indiana universe even before Shia LaBeouf showed up!
The "Star Wars" robots make two appearances in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." First, the pair noticeably shows up as a sort of hieroglyph on a pillar, right as Indiana Jones finds the ark. Then, shortly after this moment, there's an even bigger depiction of the two on a wall behind Jones and Sallah as they lift the ark. This one also features Princess Leia, who is kneeling next to R2-D2 as she presumably uploads data with C-3PO.
R2-D2 has made appearances in other movies, as well. J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" had the little robot show up amid floating debris in space. Abrams put R2-D2 into ""Star Trek Into Darkness," as well. The robot also made its way into "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and another Steven Spielberg movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
Image: "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
2. The "Toy Story" movies are full of homages to "The Shining."
Perhaps someone more evil than Sid lurks among the toys.
As mentioned, Pixar movies are famous for their Easter eggs, but they are usually self-referential. The "Toy Story" series, however, has many nods to Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." In the first "Toy Story," for instance, the pattern of the carpet in Sid's house is the same as in the Overlook Hotel. The director of "Toy Story 3," Lee Unkrich, is a huge fan of "The Shining" and even runs his own fan site. Unkrich explained his obsession to Vulture:
I saw it when I was 12, in 1980, for no particular reason other than that it was a new film in theaters. My mom took me to see it. She’d taken me to see a few bad horror films that had affected me really deeply in terms of having chronic nightmares. But still, that didn’t stop her from taking me to see this one. And it turned out to be the best move she ever made -- because it began this 32-year love affair with the film. It was the film that inspired me to become a filmmaker myself.
And if you feel like this ruined the innocence of "Toy Story" for you, give this illustrated "Toy Shining" series a try, which features Woody as Jack Torrance.
Image Left: "The Shining." Image Right: "Toy Story."
3. An image of Waldo lying among dead bodies flashes in "Apocalypto."
Who knew Waldo was involved with the fall of the Mayan civilization?
This only happened in the theatrical release (therefore you have to trust this has not been inserted into the multiple bootleg copies of the original as a hoax), but for some reason Mel Gibson felt it necessary to put a brief frame of Waldo among a sea of dead bodies in the middle of a chase scene. (You can watch it here.)
The movie "Apocalypto" is a gory but serious account of the fall of the Mayan civilization. Waldo is a hilarious addition. Gibson also put a seemingly random image into the trailer of "Apocalypto" -- a shot of his goofily smiling, and bearded, face with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth.
4. Pac-Man is on a screen for a moment in the original "Tron."
"Tron" may have actually just been a live-action version of Pac-Man.
The movie also has a scene in which the Solar Sailer travels over Mickey Mouse's face. ("Tron" is, of course, a Disney movie.)
5. Prince was originally supposed to be in "Fargo." In the end, only his symbol showed up in the credits.
The crimes in "Fargo" were way bigger than the movie even portrayed.
One of the most popular pieces of trivia about "Fargo" is that Prince's symbol shows up sideways in the end credits, a wink at the fact that he supposedly played the "Victim in Field." In fact, a storyboard artist for the movie, J. Todd Anderson, played that listed role, but people like to entertain the idea that Prince made his way into the movie.
Well, according to Peter Stormare, who spoke to The Huffington Post about his role as the main villain in "Fargo," Prince almost did show up:
Prince is from there and a friend of theirs -- this was during his battles with his record company and that sign was the only thing he was allowed to use. He wanted to do a smaller part -- I was told -- but it didn't work out. But just having his symbol there helped his image a little in his long battle getting out from a stupid record contract!
Maybe Prince will still show up in the television series?
Image Left: Getty. Image Right: "Fargo."
6. There's a hidden sex scene in the third Harry Potter movie.
Hogwarts was much more like a typical school than everyone thought.
In "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," Fred and George Weasley give Harry Potter the Marauder's Map. The map shows all of Hogwarts, including everybody's location on the grounds.
If you wait until the credits of "Prisoner of Azkaban," you can see the map at work, tracking people's movements with footsteps around the halls of Hogwarts. Then, in the bottom left corner, the map reveals four footsteps facing each other, with two of those footsteps being spread around the others. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was rated PG.
HuffPost tracked down the visual effects artist behind the moment and he said it wasn't a "sex scene," but still said it was a moment for the adults. It might have even been Potter and Cho Chang.
7. "Fast & Furious" and "Herbie: Fully Loaded" take place in the same universe.
Maybe all the characters got beat by Herbie and are now embarrassed.
Referring to the picture above of a 1970 Dodge Charger driven by Dominic Toretto in the first movie, an advertisement for "Fast & Furious 6" asked the question, "'Fast & Furious' and 'Herbie: Fully Loaded' confirmed to take place in the same universe?" And answered, "We’re gonna say yes."
Herbie is an anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle that has a mind of its own and is extremely fast. Certainly the ramifications of this sentient car being in the "Fast & Furious" universe are huge. In "Herbie: Fully Loaded," there is even a street racer scene in which Herbie has LED blue lights and a lowered suspension. For supposedly being some of the best street racers in the world, it's pretty suspicious the "Fast & Furious" crew have somehow never talked about the the "Love Bug."
Image: "Herbie: Fully Loaded"