Late last week, word started to trickle out that Aquaman – who is all but confirmed to be played by Jason Momoa in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ – made a cameo in ‘Man of Steel,’ but you just didn’t realize it because he was never on camera. Remember those whales that we see after Superman saves the people on the oil rig? Apparently, Aquaman sent those whales to help out.

On the Marvel side of things, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been making the rounds in support of the ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Blu-ray, and they claim that the driver of a truck that we see in two scenes may or may not be The Punisher.

All of this is clever. Who needs real cameos when, later, someone closely associated with the movie can just say, “Oh, yeah, that character you like? He or she is there, just not quite on the screen where you can see him or her.” It’s kind of like what we’re hearing out of the ‘Star Wars’ camp, that an evil character will be introduced during the ‘Rebels’ television series, then reintroduced in ‘Episode VII’ in a, See, he’s been there causing mischief all along, sort of way. This is both a sham and genius. I can’t decide if I’m offended or impressed.

Anyway, based on this line of thinking, we went back to some recent superhero movies and, lo and behold, there are a plethora of cameos that we never noticed.

"Is that Ant-Man helping out with Tony Stark's first Iron Man suit? He's pretty small, but he's probably there!"


"Is that The Atom in Batman's suit, helping out, in 'The Dark Knight Rises? He's there, allright."


"Is that Deadpool under that sheet, helping out, in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'? It could be!"


"Was that The Flash running by Hal Jordan's apartment, helping out, in 'The Green Lantern'? It might be, he's pretty fast!"


"Is that Wonder Woman in her Invisible Jet there in the background? You better believe she wouldn't miss a chance to help out."


People would love to see Spider-Man, owned by Sony, team up with the rest of The Avengers, owned by Disney. Well, could that have been The Avengers lurking outside Peter's bedroom, nabbing his attention, ready to help out if needed? You bet it is.


Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.