Genius Foreshadowing You Never Noticed In Your Favorite Sci-Fi Movies 

Stephan Roget
Updated July 31, 2020 10.3k votes 2.9k voters 198.2k views 13 items

List Rules Vote up the most bone-chilling moments of foreshadowing in these memorable sci-fi films.

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 like Star Wars 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 Cape Gag In The Incredibles Gives Away The Villain’s Cause Of Death
The Cape Gag In The Incr... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Genius Foreshadowing You Never Noticed In Your Favorite Sci-Fi Movies
Photo:  Buena Vista Pictures

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.

Was this clever?
The Skulls Tell You When Someone Is About To Die In Mad Max: Fury Road
The Skulls Tell You When... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Genius Foreshadowing You Never Noticed In Your Favorite Sci-Fi Movies
Photo:  Warner Bros

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.

Was this clever?
There’s A Big Hint That Luke’s Dad Is A Villain Early In A New Hope
There’s A Big Hint That ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Genius Foreshadowing You Never Noticed In Your Favorite Sci-Fi Movies
Photo:  Lucasfilm

In terms of Skywalker relatives, Uncle Owen (Phil Brown) and Aunt Beru (Shelagh Fraser) are fairly unimportant. They raise Luke after his mother dies, then they die themselves at the hands of Stormtroopers, providing the impetus for Luke’s heroic journey. They also provide foreshadowing of the Darth nature of Luke’s father in their limited screen time. Beru says at one point, “Luke’s just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” replies Owen. It’s a legitimate concern.  

Was this clever?
A Throwaway Gag In The Avengers Sets Up The Final Battle
A Throwaway Gag In The A... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Genius Foreshadowing You Never Noticed In Your Favorite Sci-Fi Movies
Photo:  Marvel Studios

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.

Was this clever?