5 Great Side Stories Hiding In Famous Blockbusters

Sometimes movies over-explain things. Did we really need two movies telling us how the Alien was invented, or a solo Solo story about why Han Solo is named Solo? But then you get movies that do the opposite, dropping bombshells in passing before skipping along like nothing happened. There are entire movies hidden inside other movies, and half the time they seem way more interesting than the movie we actually got. For example ...

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5
How Did Clark Kent Explain His "Death"?

In the gripping legal drama Batman v. Superman, plaintiff Batman wins the case, and the defendant Superman is forced to hand over his life (if we're remembering that right). Superman dies, which means his alter-ego Clark Kent is also sent to that defunct print media office in the sky. Because their world hasn't yet realized that wearing glasses is not a disguise, the film ends with two separate funerals: a massive memorial in Metropolis for Supes, and a humble service in Smallville for Clark. That alone wouldn't be too much of a coincidence. After all, millions of people would have died on that one day. But only two people have ever come back from the dead, and they have the exact same chin.

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Superman gets un-killed in Justice League, and that's fine. Not staying dead is kinda the whole schtick for superheroes. But it's not so normal for mild-mannered reporters. And yet at the end of DC's Attempted Avengers, we see Clark about to casually stroll back into the Daily Planet office like he'd spent a long weekend away, not two years in the cold embrace of the grave.

5 Great Side Stories Hiding In Famous Blockbusters

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And this isn't just any old workplace where your colleagues consider you with such dull indifference that they probably forgot they signed a "Sorry For Your Loss" card for your family. This is an office full of professional journalists -- people paid to notice weird coincidences and look into them. So give us that movie, DC. We don't need any more dark origin stories about back catalog villains. How about a 90-minute workplace comedy in which Clark weaves a web of increasingly complex lies to keep his colleagues from doing even the most cursory of digging into the death records? (Or, you know, reaching up to take his glasses off for a second.)

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Even without the Superman link, somebody must have raised an eyebrow at the guy who was not just missing but actually buried in a clearly marked grave for two years. What could he possibly say to throw them off the trail? That he faked his death for an assignment? "Oh cool, which story was that for?" Unless he has superhuman lying abilities, Clark will dig himself into a Coen brothers plot faster than a speeding bullet.

4
There's a Fourth Captain America Movie Hiding Inside Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame already had a runtime of several days, but somehow there's still enough stuff missing to fill a whole new MCU phase. Most of it we were happy to skip in favor of not having to pee into our empty Coke cups, but we would have let our bladders burst to see the implied Captain America 4 ... and the extremely awkward showdown with the character's true nemesis.

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At the end of Endgame, when Thanos is dead (again) and everyone else is alive (again), Cap takes it upon himself to return the Infinity Stones to their original timelines and make sure there are no loose threads for *shudder* tie-in comics or novels. After finishing that up, he takes the long way back by traveling to the '40s and aging up to the present, ultimately looking worse than Eric Bana's Hulk movie.

It's no real mystery what happened while he was gone, and it hits all the well-trodden beats of a Marvel movie. Captain America: Reverse Time Heist would see Cap gallivanting through space and time, sneaking the Stones back into '70s S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ and that Indiana Jones ripoff temple on Morag. He'd have to inject the Reality Stone back into Natalie Portman. He'd have to give Loki's scepter back to the H.Y.D.R.A. agents, along with some kind of awkward apology for running off with it. The meat of the story would obviously be him dealing with the inevitable fuckups that come with time travel. But it all builds toward an implied encounter so huge that it's kind of amazing Endgame ignores it completely. Cap would have met Red Skull again when returning the Soul Stone.

To be fair, pretending to be gone but roaring back 80 years later is a classic Nazi move.To be fair, pretending to be gone but roaring back 80 years later is a classic Nazi move.

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As far as Cap knows, Red Skull died back in the '40s. But we found out in Infinity War that in fact our redheaded friend somehow Space Stoned himself into a job telling people to jump off cliffs. But did anybody bother telling Cap about this? Would he really be willing to hand over an Infinity Stone to an undead space Nazi? However this showdown goes down, it'd make a hell of a capper to Captain America 4.

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3
Doc Brown Went On A Zany Quest To Build A Steampunk Time Train

The Back To The Future trilogy is a cautionary tale about not fucking around with time (or your parents' younger selves). And yet by the end of it, Doc Brown has apparently learned absolutely nothing. He makes Marty promise to destroy the time machine once he returns to 1985, and two minutes after Marty does just that, guess who shows up in a brand spanking new time machine? It's a cute little character moment to have Doc show up back in 1985 with his new family in a badass steampunk time train, finishing off the saga with some feel-good schlock about how nobody's future has been written yet (even though we just spent three movies learning the exact opposite). But it implies we missed one hell of a story.

5 Great Side Stories Hiding In Famous Blockbusters

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Doc had a hard enough time building the original time machine in 1985. So how the flux did he manage to slap one together in an era before electricity and cars and personal hygiene? How much coal do you need to burn to generate 1.21 gigawatts of power, considering it took plutonium or lightning to get the job done in the 20th century?

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Knowing how much trouble Doc gets in whenever he tries to build anything, it's easy to see him getting tangled up in a classic Western outlaw plot when he tries to source parts (no doubt illegally) for his futuristic train from all over the planet. You think he can get rare earth minerals down at the general store? How does he avoid detection in the course of this years-long project, both in acquiring materials and building/testing his machine? (One that, oh by the way, every government and military in the world would love to have in their possession.)

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And that's just before he builds it. You don't just create a machine that defies the laws of astrophysics unless you plan to use it, and they obviously have. Clara and the kids regard the journey 100 years forward in time with all the excitement of a rest stop, so clearly they've been on this road trip before. And Doc brags to Marty that he's already been back to the future (like, the future-future, not this 1985 "future" shit).

There's just no way a family of four can whip around with such an irresponsible disregard for the space-time continuum, in the least subtle time machine ever built, without some mayhem going down. Even if this movie is just about dropping Biff Tannen's great-great-grandkids into a spaceship full of alien shit, we wanna see it.

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2
A Mercenary Team Cleaned Up The Ruins Of Jurassic Park To Build Jurassic World

Besides scientist Henry Wu, the only Jurassic Park character to return in Jurassic World is the T-Rex herself. If you look closely, you can see the old battle scars from that time she inexplicably rescued a bunch of hapless humans from raptors in the JP visitor center. And to hammer the point home, throughout the press junket, director Colin Trevorrow repeatedly nudged reporters in the ribs and winked while explaining that yes, Jurassic World has the same toothy ol' gal. And that couldn't have happened without its own movie's worth of bloodshed. How did Ms. Rex go from fearsome free predator to a Snapchat backdrop for bored teenagers? And more importantly, why didn't we get that movie?

<i>*freeze frame* *record scratch*</i> Yep, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation ...*freeze frame* *record scratch* "Yep, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation ..."

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The last time we saw this T-Rex, she and all her dino buddies had the run of Isla Nublar after the last of the humans noped out on a chopper. The Lost World and Jurassic Park III took place on Isla Sorna next door, so those were different T-Rexes. That means that somewhere in the 22 years between Park and World, someone had a worse cleanup job than the guy who follows the Brachiosaurs around with a shovel. A team obviously had to go in, subdue (but not kill) an island-load of pissed-off prehistoric beasts, and then build a new park around them.

Let's see you find a way out of this one, Life!"Let's see you find a way out of this one, Life!"

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We even know who did it, and when. It was Vic Hoskins, aka Vincent D'Onofrio, aka the buttplug who wanted to weaponize the raptors in Jurassic World. Buried deep in the in-universe corporate website is a log entry from Vic dated April 19, 2002: "I was impressed with the team today. Hell, staring a seven-ton predator in the eyes is no easy job. These things are bigger than you'd expect! Let's just hope Timack knows how to build strong paddocks." (Spoiler: They don't.)

Given Chaos Theory's chumminess with these movies, there's no way this went totally as planned. A movie about Vincent D'Onofrio on a Cretaceous safari with a sassy squad of mercenaries picked off one by one could have been the Aliens to Jurassic Park's Alien (and Jurassic Park III's Alien: Resurrection).

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1
It Sends The Kids On An Unseen Lovecraftian Mindfuck Journey

At first glance, the It movies are pretty much five hours of kids being weirded out by someone's creepy uncle who works in the sewer. But there's a way bigger story playing out in the background. The titular It (the Itular, if you will) is actually a cosmic entity locked in a battle with the giant space turtle who created the Universe. If you read the book, you're currently nodding sagely. If you only watched the movies, you're wondering when the hell that happened. This is when:

5 Great Side Stories Hiding In Famous Blockbusters

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As the book explains, the Deadlights that It carries around in its throat are a portal to another dimension. When you look at them, your soul or whatever gets flicked out of your body and goes hurtling through space, where you see It's true form, as well as a bigass cosmic turtle called Maturin. Apparently old Maturin accidentally created the entire Universe by barfing it up one day, which is exactly the origin story our cursed existence deserves. And when the gang starts the Ritual of Chud (the name of which immediately cancels out any reverence it may have had), Maturin contacts them through the space internet to guide them through how to kill It.

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The movie half-assedly explains a bit of this. We're told that It crash-landed on Earth in a meteorite millions of years ago, but it doesn't bother telling us about the space turtle, even though we know it's there, still guiding our pubescent protagonists. When the kids are swimming in the quarry, they yell out "Oh look, a turtle!" because apparently the budget couldn't stretch enough to actually show one. Turtles also show up in the form of stuffed toys and Lego models. Director Andy Muschietti said that these signs are how Maturin reveals himself ... which seems a bit unhelpful, but who are we to tell godlike entities how to do their job.

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In the first movie, Beverly gets deadlighted and comes back with visions of the future -- a telltale sign of the guiding flipper of a clumsy cosmic turtle. In the second movie, it's Richie's turn to get flashed. In both cases, we don't see their souls zooming off through a higher dimension, and the inevitable existential crisis that would bring. Instead we just see their bodies levitating slack-jawed ... which is probably how the audience would react if you actually paused the finale to interject a giant turtle into the film, apropos of nothing. So maybe it was for the best.

Michael writes about space and dinosaurs and stuff at New Atlas, and mumbles into the void on Twitter.
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For more, check out 5 Screwed-Up Messages Hidden In Famous Sci-Fi Films:


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