Though they were fun to spot, The Adam Project‘s Hulk and Deadpool Easter eggs that break its universe. Thanks to its time-traveling premise, the story itself is full of surprises as the characters repeatedly break reality to save it, but the subtlest reference sparks the most questions. Near the end of The Adam Project, young Adam, played by Walker Scobell, and future Adam, played by Ryan Reynolds, play a final game of catch with their father Louis, Mark Ruffalo, using equipment found in a plastic bin in the garage. For a brief moment, the camera lingers on the lid of the bin, which is covered in numerous stickers, including ones of Deadpool and Hulk.
The Adam Project contains many nods to other franchises throughout the film, such as its recurring lightsaber joke, which is not only a Star Wars reference but also parallels a lightsaber scene in Free Guy, another Shawn Levy-directed movie starring Reynolds. The announcement that Levy and Reynolds would be working together once again for Deadpool 3, a franchise notorious for its fourth-wall-breaking, though The Adam Project‘s fun references add another layer of levity to an otherwise sad story about grief, but its superhero Easter eggs also undermine the continuity of the universe.
The Hulk and Deadpool stickers suggest that these characters, specifically the movie versions, are a part of The Adam Project‘s universe. The Deadpool image is the same design used for Reynolds’ Deadpool films, and the Hulk looks similar to Ruffalo’s MCU character. Of course, this raises an issue with the film’s universe since both Mark Ruffalo and Ryan Reynolds are in it. Presumably, people who look like them play those characters in this universe, making the changes for a fourth-wall-breaking confrontation highly plausible. The existence of Hulk and Deadpool stickers sets The Adam Project much more firmly in some semblance of the “real world” than anything else in the movie. Still, having the actors for those characters playing other people poses an interesting question about precisely what reality the film exists in.
Setting Up New Jokes for Deadpool 3
Reynolds’ previous movie with Shawn Levy did something similar with its Chris Evans cameo. Near the end of Free Guy, when Reynolds’ character summoned Captain America’s shield, the movie briefly cut to Chris Evans watching the moment on his cell phone. That scene established the existence of the Marvel movie franchise in Free Guy’s universe and suggested that it took place in the “real world.” Yet, at the same time, plenty of actors in the film was not playing themselves but other fictional characters within the story, necessitating a level of separation between the movie universe in Free Guy and reality. Although these instances are brushed over within the movie, thinking deeply about them can send viewers down an endless rabbit hole of unanswerable questions.
It’s unlikely that Levy, Reynolds, or anyone else who worked on The Adam Project intended for viewers to contemplate this detail that closely. The stickers were only ever meant to spark a bit of laughter from the audience, if they were noticed at all. If nothing else, these Easter eggs throughout Reynolds’ movies will provide a lot of potential joke material for Deadpool 3, which is bound to build on the actor’s filmography in fascinating ways.