The best part of rewatching a favorite film or television show is trying to hunt for clues you may have missed in previous viewings. Like magicians, scenes can have a way of keeping your attention diverted from a hint or joke in the background. These subliminal messages can be used to foreshadow the end, to promote something, or to nod at an inside joke. From cameo appearances to revealing plot points, you won’t believe all the hidden messages that were right in front of you in these popular movies and shows.
Friends Had Messages On A Magna Doodle
As popular as the show Friends is, many may be surprised to discover there were secret messages written in the background for seasons. In season three, the production crew added a Magna Doodle to a wall in Joey and Chandler’s apartment.
The Magna Doodle didn’t just display a random note or grocery list. One of the crew members would write messages on it that corresponded to the episode. One example is when the apartment gets robbed, and the Magna Doodle reads, “Thanks for all your stuff.”
Fight Club Gave Away The Plot Twist
For those who haven’t seen Fight Club, let us warn you now that this hidden message gives away the story’s epic plot twist. When Edward Norton’s character is in a phone booth, there’s a brief moment where the camera reveals a “No incoming calls allowed” sign.
A moment later, Brad Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, calls the payphone. The subtle clue signals to the viewer that Tyler is a figment of the protagonist’s imagination. Director David Fincher implemented various hints like this into the film, making it the kind of movie you can watch over and over again.
The Social Network Reveals Tyler Durden’s Facebook Page
The director of Fight Club, David Fincher, also directed The Social Network, a biographical drama about the creation of Facebook. At one point in the film, Jesse Eisenberg, who portrays Mark Zuckerberg, is scrolling through an account on an early version of Facebook.
If you pause the movie and take a closer look, you can see that he was looking through “Tyler Durden’s Photos.” Tyler Durden was the lead character in Fight Club, played by Brad Pitt.
Stuart Little Accidentally Featured A $250,000 Painting
Stuart Little is an adored family film that happened to have a secret hidden in the background. The movie centers on a wealthy Manhattan family, so set designers decorated the house with artwork. One of these pieces of art turned out to be a Róbert Berény work that had been missing since 1928!
Art historian Gergely Barki recognized the piece while watching the film in 2009. It turns out an assistant had purchased the work from a thrift store for just $500. The famous work was returned to the rightful owner and valued at a quarter of a million dollars!
I Am Legend Foresaw Batman Vs. Superman
In I Am Legend, Will Smith’s character roams the streets of a post-apocalyptic New York. While in Time Square, he walks past a billboard with a Batman/Superman logo on it, suggesting that the superheroes would appear in a film together.
Fast forward almost a decade and Batman Vs. Superman hit the theaters as a sequel to Man of Steel. As it turns out, the writer of I Am Legend had also written a Batman vs Superman film that wound up getting dropped. So while the advertisement didn’t technically foresee the 2016 Zack Snyder film, it is quite a coincidence.
Terminator 2 Cross-Promoted Guns ‘N Roses
When Terminator 2: Judgement Day hit the theaters, it had been six years since Guns ‘N Roses released their stellar debut album. Director James Cameron pegged the rockband as the perfect candidate to do the film’s theme song, which became the song “You Could Be Mine.”
Guns ‘N Roses promoted the film by incorporating Arnold Schwarzenegger into the music video, and James Cameron returned the favor with subliminal messages in the movie. For instance, the Terminator pulls his gun out of a box of roses. In another scene, a character is wearing an LA Guns t-shirt, which was the band’s previous name.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark Has Star Wars Hieroglyphics
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones bends down next to a pillar to lift a giant rock. Displayed on the golden pillar are hieroglyphics, and if you look closely, you’ll realize they feature two characters from Star Wars.
Toward the middle of the pillar is an outline of R2D2 and C-3PO. At another part of the movie, a hieroglyphic of Princess Leia appears on the ark. Since Harrison Ford portrayed Han Solo, we can assume that the symbols were an homage to his former co-stars.
Tron Contains A Mickey Mouse Cutout
The 1982 Disney film Tron follows Jeff Bridges’ character as he gets transported into the digital world. At one point in the movie, a ship crosses a light beam path over an unusual surface.
The hidden message is easy to miss, but viewers who were paying attention may have paused the film to take in the Mickey Mouse cutout in the background. Though the image isn’t hidden, the pattern makes it easy to miss if you aren’t looking closely.
Aladdin Briefly Showed Jasmin’s Tiger With Mickey Mouse Ears
The hilarious children’s cartoon Aladdin has a clue hidden in it that is so brief it can easily go unnoticed. When Aladdin manages to get Jafar into the lamp, the spell that Jafar placed on the other characters is broken.
As they come to, Jasmin’s tiger, Rahaj, leaps into the arms of the Sultan and morphs back into a normal tiger. During this transition, a frame reveals the tiger to have a face and ears like that of Mickey Mouse.
Anchorman Has A Joke Hidden In A Restaurant Sign
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is an outlandish comedy, so it’s no surprise that they included a ridiculous hidden message in one scene. Christina Applegate’s character heads to a Mexican food restaurant with her coworkers.
In the scene, the camera pans over the restaurant sign, which reads, “Escupimos en su Alimento.” Translated into English, that means, “We spit in your food.” The crude sign is an inside joke for Spanish-speakers and pokes fun at the ignorance of the movie’s characters.
The Big Bang Theory Has Whiteboard Messages
The Big Bang Theory is highly regarded for being both a hilarious sitcom and scientifically accurate. To help with the science part, the production team hired David Saltzberg, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Los Angeles.
To add to the show’s humor and authenticity, David throws something clever on the whiteboard in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment. In one episode, two characters get into an argument over a cricket. So, David put the formula that calculates cricket chirp rates in relation to temperature up on the whiteboard. It’s nerd jokes at their finest.
The Matrix Borrowed A Line From This Philosophy Book
When Neo is first introduced to the real world in The Matrix, Morpheus welcomes him to “the desert of the real.” The line comes from a page in philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s book, Simulacra and Simulation.
For anyone who didn’t make this connection right off the bat, the book is pointed out in Neo’s apartment. Furthermore, the book is opened to the chapter “On Nihilism,” suggesting that Neo finds life meaningless. As his character develops, Neo comes to reject this idea.
The Matrix Reloaded Has Bible Verse License Plates
The Matrix Reloaded is full of action-packed car chases. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the license plates correspond to Bible verses. For instance, Trinity’s plate reads “DA203,” which translates to Daniel 2:3, “I have had a dream that troubles me, and I want to know what it means.”
Agent Smith’s license plate reads “IS5416,” which corresponds to Isaiah 54:16. That verse reads, “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc.”
Batman Begins Hints At The Joker’s Alias
Batman Begins reveals how Bruce Wayne came to be a superhero, leading up to the fateful ending when the Joker is introduced via a playing card. Bruce receives the evidence from Jim Gordon, but a closer look reveals a hidden clue.
Written next to “recovered by” is the name J. Kerr. The Joker’s common alias is Joe Kerr, which suggests that the Joker was already scheming to entice Batman from the moment Bruce decided to become a hero.
Fast Five Has A Character Named After Star Wars
One of the main characters in the Fast and Furious franchise is Han, a racer and thief who initially was a member of Dominic Toretto’s crew. Though he initially was only going to appear in one movie, positive reactions from audiences brought the star back for multiple films.
In Fast Five, Han’s last name appears in a database as Seoul-Oh. Phonetically, this name is exactly the same as Han Solo from Star Wars. Since the two characters have little in common, we’d assume the name was merely a shoutout to Star Wars fans.
Firefly Had A Han Solo Carbonite In The Background
Hidden in the background of science fiction show Firefly was a Han Solo figurine molded out of carbonite. The foot-tall piece became a prop when word spread that Nathan Fillion, who plays the lead role of Captain Mal Reynolds, is a huge Star Wars fan.
The prop department reportedly snuck in the item without informing the producers or the director. Crew members used to hide the figurine in the background of scenes as a joke, but it eventually became a regular part of the set.
Iron Man Borrowed The Name “Lebowski”
Jeff Bridges portrays the Iron Monger in the 2008 superhero film Iron Man. A decade earlier, Jeff had starred as “The Dude,” a slacker who gets mistaken for someone else in The Big Lebowski.
When Iron Man’s wife Pepper is looking through secret shipping documents for the Iron Monger, she discovers a revealing outline. She discovers that the Iron Monger plans to sell and ship illegal weapons on a vessel called none other than the MSC Lebowski.
Futurama Gave Eric Cartman A Cameo
Futurama spent more than a decade on the air, and in one episode they featured a character from one of their competitors, South Park. When Lars Fillmore and Leela visit the head museum, they stop to chat with one of the heads.
As they’re talking to Charles de Gaulle’s head, viewers can see a plethora of other heads in the jars surrounding them. In the top, right corner you can clearly make out the head of Eric Cartman, one of the lead characters in South Park.
Jurassic Park Illustrated Their Own Point
In Jurassic Park, scientists figure they can control the population of dinosaurs by only producing females. Alan Grant inadvertently proves this theory wrong when the group endures a bumpy helicopter ride to the island.
Alan struggles to fasten his seatbelt because he only has two female ends. He finds a way out of his predicament by merely tying the two ends together. The moment becomes a symbol of finding a way against all of the odds.
This Prop Newspaper Keeps Reappearing
It’s not uncommon for people in the entertainment industry to recycle props. One prop has been reused so many times it’s become a Hollywood inside joke. The item is a newspaper produced by Earl Hays Press, a motion picture prop house in Sun Valley, California.
According to The Slate, the newspaper was first printed back in the ’60s to avoid the red tape of real publications. The prop has since appeared dozens of movies and shows, including Modern Family, Desperate Housewives, Scrubs, and No Country For Old Men.