Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3: The best Easter Eggs, jokes, cameos, and Marvel references

Chris Tilly
Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy.

The best Easter Eggs, jokes, cameos, and Marvel references that we found in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.

With the third and final Guardians of the Galaxy now topping the box office everywhere (read our 5-star review here), we’re examining the Easter Eggs that writer-director James Gunn loves filling his films with.

The Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy has been filled with cameos and references, launching characters that spin off into other movies, hiding nods and allusions to Marvel’s history all over the screen.

This is the best of what we found in Vol 3, which we’ll be adding to as-and-when we spot more. So BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD

Best Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Easter Eggs, jokes, and Marvel references

This list combines character cameos, actor cameos, in-jokes, Marvel references, and everything else we’ve spotted thus far. Beginning with the return of an old friend…

Howard the Duck cameo

Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Howard the Duck’s first GOTG cameo.

Howard the Duck was initially glimpsed in Tivan’s collection during a post-credits scene at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Then again during Vol 2, when he told a drinking buddy: “You’re out of luck, until you’ve gone duck.”

The duck makes it a trio of cameo’s in Vol 3, with Howard – once again voiced by Seth Green – popping up during a card game on Knowhere. Against his old friend Cosmo.

Patrick Swayze is the new Kevin Bacon

Peter Quill is a child of the 1980s, and as he also left Earth around that time, his cultural references are similarly stuck in that decade. He was all about Footloose star Kevin Bacon in the first movie, which led to some insane scenes with the real Bacon in the Holiday Special.

This time out he’s brining up another snake-hipped hunk from the decade, claiming he’s called Patrick Swayze while trying to charm a receptionist. But the woman clearly hasn’t seen Dirty Dancing, as his efforts fail. Initially, at least.

The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam by Michaelangelo.

Painted by Michelangelo sometime between 1508 and 1512, The Creation of Adam can be found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and is one of the most replicated religious images in history.

Now the Guardians of the Galaxy are giving it a go. During the scene where Star-Lord nearly dies by floating into space, Adam Warlock rescues him, by reaching out and touching his finger. In a shot that pays homage to the Michelangelo classic.

Pete Davidson cameo

Pete Davidson in The Suicide Squad, who also appears in Guardians of the Galaxy 3
Pete Davidson in Suicide Squad.

Pete Davidson has already collaborated with James Gunn on one superhero movie, playing Blackguard in 2021’s The Suicide Squad. And now he’s doing it again by voicing a creature in the new GOTG.

In Vol 3, the former SNL star plays a blob that has clearly been tortured and experimented on by the High Evolutionary. But Mantis frees him, with Davidson’s one line being a thank you.

Avengers: Infinity War reference

Star-Lord in Avengers: Infinity War.

James Gunn has made no secret of the fact that he didn’t agree with decisions made regarding the Guardians of the Galaxy in the Avengers movies. Most notably Star-Lord losing his temper, and pretty much facilitating the Thanos “Snap.”

So he addresses this issue during Vol 3, when Peter explains why he’s been struggling, and ends the speech with a line that makes it sound as ridiculous as Gunn felt it was: “Then I lost my temper and nearly destroyed the entire universe.”

Nathan Fillion returns

Nathan Fillion in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
Nathan Fillion in Vol 3.

Nathan Fillion voiced a character called ‘Monstrous Inmate’ in GOTG Vol 1. Then had a (sort-of) cameo cut from Vol 2. Now he’s actually in the third movie.

During the raid on Orgoscope, Fillion pops up as a cocky security guard called Master Kaja, who gets a funny moment with Peter Quill when he clocks that their teams are much the same. He then fights the Guardians.

2001: A Space Odyssey homage

On the way to that raid, the Guardians wear colorful space-suits. Colors that cause some confusion when Peter tries to have a quiet word with Gamora.

When asked if the suit were an homage to the game Among Us, James Gunn simply Tweeted “No,” above a picture of the 2001: A Space Odyssey suits that he was referencing (see above).

Yondu appears

Michael Rooker as Yondu.
Michael Rooker as Yondu.

The most emotionally-charged moment in GOTG Vol 2 involved Yondu’s death, and his funeral, as audiences said farewell to Michael Rooker’s beloved character. But he’s back in Vol 3!

Early in proceedings, Kraglin struggles to work Yondu’s whistling arrow. Then at the end of the movie – during a live-or-death sequence where he really needs it – Yondu appears in a vision from beyond the grave and tells him to “Use your heart boy.” Kraglin does just that, and the arrow works.

Phyla-Vell debuts

Phyla-Vell in the comics.
Phyla-Vell in the comics.

Phyla-Vell first appeared in a Marvel comic back in 2004. She was the daughter of Mar-Vell and Elysius, and the sister of Genis-Vell. The character has since gone by many names and identities, including Quasar, Martyr, and Captain Marvel.

You can read all about her GOTG Vol 3 appearance here, but the exciting news is that she ends the movie a member of Rocket’s New Guardians, alongside the likes of Groot, Kraglin, and Adam Warlock.

“Kevin Bacon Shares All”

The aforementioned Kevin Bacon was kidnapped during the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Something that receives a nice nod during Vol 3’s final post-credits scene.

While Peter is enjoying breakfast with his grandfather – but before we learn that “Star-Lord Will Return” – the headline on grandad’s newspaper reads: “Alien Abduction: Kevin Bacon Shares All.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in cinemas now. You can read our review here, while for more on the movie, head to our dedicated GOTG page, or check out the below articles…

Best Easter Eggs | Pete Davidson cameo | Who dies? | Counter-Earth explained | Number of post-credits scenes | Avengers: Infinity War reference | Phyla-Vell explained | Is Yondu in GOTG 3? | Chris Pratt wants to return | Lylla, Teef and Floor explained | Does Rocket die? | Doctor Moreau influence | Adam Warlock, hero or villain? | High Evolutionary explained | Soundtrack details | Description of post-credit scenes | All actors and characters | Runtime explained | Why Rocket is the MVP | Is it streaming? | What is Blurp? | Ending explained | GOTG movies ranked | Will there be a Vol 4?