Director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan made it clear from the beginning that they didn’t intend to make “Man of Steel” an easter-egg intensive movie experience. Unlike the Marvel cinematic empire, there’s been little effort on the part of Nolan/DC/Warner Bros. to tie their movie universe together, even with little references sprinkled through the movie.
Which is pretty inexplicable to me. It feels like a kind of snobbery about comic book movies from people who have made billions of dollars making comic book movies.
However: There are a few comic book and movie easter eggs in “Man of Steel,” although one of them might be coincidental.
Besides Lois Lane, Perry White, the Kents and the Els, another couple of characters from the comics make an appearance. Among the kids on a school bus that Clark saves in one of the Smallville flashbacks were characters representing Lana Lang and Pete Ross. The Pete character, young Clark’s best friend in the comics, pops up again later in the movie.
Dr. Emil Hamilton: Played by Robert Schiff, best known as Toby from “The West Wing.” the scientist working with the military in the movie, discovering and dealing with not only the appearance of Zod but Kal-El as well, Hamilton is a character familiar to comic readers and fans of the DC universe animated TV shows as well as “Smallville.” Hamilton, of DC fixture STAR Labs, was a recurring character in the animated “Superman” series as well as “Smallville.” In the former, he was a scientist so worried about super-powered humans that he worked with a group trying to keep tabs on and control the supers. In “Smallville,” he was a confidante of Clark and Chloe Sullivan.
Speaking of which: Alessandro Juliani, the actor who played Hamilton in “Smallville” had a small role in “Man of Steel,” playing Officer Sekowsky. This is the one that was probably a coincidence. I can’t imagine Nolan and Snyder going to the “Smallville” well to cast their movie.
Contrary to rumors, Lex Luthor doesn’t show up in the movie. But hints of Superman’s best known villain do. In the final battle in Metropolis between Zod and Superman, Zod throws Lexcorp gasoline tanker trucks at the Man of Steel and – although my eyes didn’t catch it, but photos appear online – the LexCorp building is glimpsed in Metropolis.
The hardest-to-spot easter egg might be an acknowledgement of Batman in “Man of Steel.” During their battle, Superman and Zod rocket into space. In their fight, they damage a satellite in orbit. The Wayne Enterprises logo is briefly visible on the side.
And we already knew Nolan thought Batman was out of this world.