In the age of the Internet, there aren’t many “little-known facts” left to uncover, and so most of the examples of foreshadowing in sci-fi films has long since been discovered and discussed ad nauseam. Still, there’s something incredibly satisfying about watching old favorites and noticing some of the easy to miss clues in sci-fi movies you thought you knew by heart. It’s a sensation that makes one feel like a seasoned film critic and a masterful detective in one fell swoop.
There are some directors out there that put an intense amount of effort into filling their science fiction movies with foreshadowing, because they know it will make their films all-the-more rewatchable. And, if there’s one thing that all science-fiction fans love, it’s re-experiencing their favorite stories over, and over, and over again. Call it foreshadowing, call it an Easter egg, or call it spoiling your own ending - the fact is that peppering a plot with hints of future events is a time-honored part of creating science-fiction.
The World’s End, the third film in the Cornetto trilogy directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is primarily a comedy, but it also has some serious sci-fi elements, due to the characters’ entire hometown being replaced by alien robots. Initially, the film’s plot seems to center on some old friends attempting to “crawl” to a dozen different pubs, each with its own memorable name and heraldry. Each of the pub names is actually a hint at a plot event that is going to occur when the characters reach said pub, and so the entire plot of the movie is hinted at right at the very beginning. At “The Cross Hands,” the group engages in their first round of fisticuffs, and at “The Two-Headed Dog,” they encounter a notorious set of twins. Most impressive is “The Hole in the Wall,” a pub that one character unexpectedly drives his car into to rescue the rest of the gang.
In a film filled with mind-blowing imagery, one of the most memorable sights in Mad Max: Fury Road was the War Rig that Max (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa (Charlize Theron) use in their attempt to escape from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). The War Rig is essentially a heavy metal semi-truck, and it’s adorned with human skulls on the front of it, but they’re not just there for show. Every time the camera focuses on the skulls, it’s a secret signal that the next scene is about to feature death. In a film like Fury Road, this occurs rather frequently.
The Incredibles remains one of the best superhero movies ever made, despite its cartoonish appearances, and perhaps the most cartoonish character in the entire film is Edna Mode (Brad Bird), costumer extraordinaire. One of Edna’s most famous quotes is her rant on the dangers of capes as a part of superhero fashion, as she believes that capes are an unnecessary liability. “No capes!” Later, in the final confrontation with primary antagonist Syndrome (Jason Lee), the villain is defeated when his garish cape is sucked into a plane’s engine, and he goes right along with it.
One of the funniest lines in The Avengers comes when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) calls out a SHIELD agent for playing Galaga on board the Helicarrier. “That man is playing Galaga. Thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.” Shortly thereafter, the man goes right back to playing the vintage video game. Of course, Galaga is primarily a game in which aliens attack Earth by descending from the sky, which foreshadows the climactic battle between the Avengers and the invading Chitauri that is yet to come.