Mortal Engines is full of Easter Eggs - here are the best we saw on set. Arriving in theaters this December, the film - produced by Peter Jackson and directed by longtime collaborator Christian Rivers - is based on Phillip Reeve’s book of the same name, telling of a post-dystopian world where cities have been transferred to giant treads and rampage across the barren sea, with the larger - primarily London - consuming the others.
But while it’s set almost two millennia in the future, Mortal Engines is very much an evolution of our present. The landscape has been redefined by climate change and war and societies mobile, yet a lot of recognizable elements remain (even if the characters don’t always understand them). London has a lot of iconic landmarks (most noticeably St Paul's Cathedral right at the top), but the plot also centers around a museum assistant - and this allows for some great deep cut references too.
Related: Watch The Mortal Engines Trailer
When Screen Rant visited the Mortal Engines set, we saw all manner of hidden details. The London Museum, where hero Tom (Robert Sheehan) works as an apprentice, has a bunch of pop culture Easter Eggs: front-and-center are the Minions, who were on a plinth describing them as “Deities of Lost America”, but also in there are skeletons of dinosaurs (a T-Rex and Triceratops) which, given the impending release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom feels like a reference to Universal’s other franchise, while concept art featured the Wombles. Outside of the museum displays, museum head Chudleigh Pomeroy (Colin Salmon) has a lapel pin just like Bilbo Baggins’ from The Hobbit, a sly reference to Peter Jackson’s previous movie. Salmon explained his own, tongue-in-cheek explanation for the pin:
"Yeah, I think we discovered it when we were passing by New Zealand and we captured it. But we took that little town, that tiny little island. A little town called Wellington."
There’s a lot more than just winks to related movies, however. Cabinets we saw contained all sorts of modern technology charting the evolution of mobiles phones, games and more (with the addendum that “Miniaturization peaked mid 21st Century”), with the most modern real tech being a Nintendo Switch (although there is more sci-fi tech present also that appeared to have a greater plot purpose). The remnants of McDonald's arches get pride of place and concept art suggested that exhibitions from current museums have been relocated, such as a Roman temple from the British Museum.
While several of these Easter eggs clearly have an extra purpose - either product placement or cross-brand synergy - they do all ultimately aim to ground Mortal Engines in the real world, rather than some abstract future. This was especially prevalent in Phillip Reeve’s novel, so there’s sure to be a lot more in the finished film than the handful we were able to see on set.