Hatched: the 101 best Easter eggs in tech history

TV and Movies

Back to the Future Part II

When Marty travels to the future the cinema is showing Jaws 19 as directed by Max Spielberg – the then four-year-old son of Steven. Alas, Max went into making games, not movies, adding to the film’s long list of off-the-mark predictions.

Iron Man

Tony Stark’s mobile ringtone is no random choice, but a squeaky remake of the theme song to the 1966 Iron Man cartoon show. Also, keep an eye out for Captain America’s shield when Stark is struggling to take his suit off in his lab.

Lost

Lost has more eggs than a Creme Egg factory, not least Hurley’s recurring numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. Fans could have brought peace to the Middle East in the time they spent figuring it out.

The Walking Dead

This zombie apocalypse series paid homage to the drug dealing drama Breaking Bad in the second episode of its second season, when Daryl rummages through his brother’s drug bag. Inside is some of Walter White’s distinctive blue crystal meth.

The Ring (2002)

If you weren’t already traumatised enough by watching the ring then you’ll definitely want to try out this extra on the DVD release. Press ‘up’ at the DVD menu, then hit enter, and you’ll be treated to a familiar looking video, complete with a ringing phone at the end. Who needs sleep anyway?

The Pizza Planet Truck

The Pizza Planet delivery truck played such an important role in the original Toy Story film… and believe it or not, it has appeared in almost every single Pixar film to date. The company has stuck the truck into a scene in every film from WALL-E to ­Cars and even The Good Dinosaur (believe it or not), and it has become something of a scavenger hunt for fans.

Curiously, the lone exception is the original The Incredibles, even if the sequel has the truck. Well, they'd better chop together a late director's cut to right that obvious wrong…

Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker’s tech-dystopia telly phenomenon is jammed with blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references – mostly to other Black Mirror episodes. This is particularly true of the latest (fourth) season, with the purpose apparently being to suggest that all these self-contained stories actually take place in the same fictional universe.

Take the season’s first episode, “USS Callister”, for example. Look carefully enough and you’ll see the receptionist using the same dating app that forms an important plot devices for two other episodes, Jesse Plemons’ main character drinking a brand of milk named after a character from season three’s “Men Against Fire” episode and using a device made by TCKR Systems, the same company that built the software that grants life after death in “San Junipero” (also season three).

Fight Club

The ninth rule of Fight Club is: make sure you read the hidden message at the start of the DVD. Insert the disc as normal but look out for the second copyright message: a lengthy rant from Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden. It politely requests that you quit your job and start a fight. Sure, Tyler; but we might watch the movie first…

Altered Carbon

Eagle-eyed viewers of Netflix’s cyberpunk drama might pick a couple of references to other geek favourites, namely Highlander (there’s a sword that’s the same as used by one of the immortals) and Game of Thrones (check out the church-like windows in episode three and you might spot the symbol of a certain Westerosi religion).

Archer

In S06E02 of Archer, a picture of Conway Stern is shown, which happens to be accompanied by a serial number which appears to be a random group of letters and numbers. But it's actually far more than that, leading the inquisitive viewer on one of the lengthiest and nerdiest easter egg hunts ever. We won't recount the whole thing here - but this Imgur gallery takes you through it step by painstaking step.

The inside track

The music industry likes eggs, too. While some acts hide songs at the end of CDs, the craftiest conceal them in the pregap – a space before the first track that usually houses computer data. To find them, start the first track, then rewind.

Public Enemy was one of the first major acts to do this, sticking a rant about hip-hop in the pregap of 1994’s Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age. Pregap surprises also lurk on Kylie’s Light Years, Soulwax’s Any Minute Now and Blur’s Think Tank albums.

Comics

Grimm Fairy Tales: The Dark Queen

In a one-off issue, we find out that the Dark Queen has been drawn to Earth because of how humanity has become self-obsessed and believes in nothing but itself. Showing that we worship stories that justify evil, there are clear references to Walter White from Breaking Bad, Don Draper from Mad Men and Dexter from the eponymous show.

Star Wars: Jedi Council

This comic book prequel to The Phantom Menace contained an accidental easter egg. Fed up with his editor’s insistence on sticking the word ‘master’ before any Jedi’s name, its writer added Jedi Master Bayts (or Baytes) to the Star Wars canon in his script for the second issue, thinking it would get cut. It didn’t.

Spidey

Artist Al Milgrom used a Jan 2001 Spider-Man comic to take revenge on his former boss. He drew a shelf of books with titles that spelled a message to the “nasty S.O.B.”. Marvel pulped every issue.

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