Avengers: Endgame has been out for about four months now, easily claiming the crown of highest-grossing movie of all time, and even racking up some serious Oscar talk. It’s the kind of once in a generation flick at the peak of the zeitgeist, elevated by the fact that it’s the culmination of over a decade’s worth of MCU films. So, of course, it’s within reason to believe that movie lovers will never stop picking it apart frame-by-frame, discovering all sorts of Easter eggs and fan service hidden within its dense story.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a hidden cameo has already been revealed within days of Endgame’s home video release. This info actually comes from a behind the scenes featurette documenting the work of London-based VFX company Cinesite. Their VFX reel breakdown shows us many of the hidden tricks that brought the mega-hit superhero film to life, including a shocking look at a villain that we haven’t seen since 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
You may recall that when Tony Stark travels back to the 1970s and accidentally runs into his father Howard, the elder Stark name-drops Arnim Zola. Well, as it turns out, Zola actually makes a surreptitious appearance in the background of the scene, too.
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Those familiar with the Captain America films – and if you’re watching the extras of the Endgame Blu-ray, why wouldn’t you be? – may remember Arnim Zola as the Hydra scientist captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. in The First Avenger. In The Winter Solider, we find out that Zola wound up conceding to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., where he covertly infiltrates the organization with Hydra ideologies. Despite having died long before Steve Rogers discovers this, Zola transfers his consciousness into a computer, so as to still have the power to influence world events. It’s this green digitized face that pops up in the latest Avengers movie, carefully concealed amongst Stark’s lab.
Robot Zola is one of the most comic book-y aspects of the entire MCU, and personally I think it’s the exact moment where the studio leaned into its more absurd comic history for the better. Giving the character a little nod in Endgame is a nice move on the VFX artists’ behalf, both to fill out the universe and pay homage to the films that lead up to this monumental event.
Of course, spotting these little cameos and Easter eggs are all the easier now that Avengers: Endgame is officially out on Blu-ray and Digital. Also, the movie is headed to Disney Plus this December, making it even more accessible to fans, so expect additional hidden secrets to be revealed in the coming months.