All the 'Nope' Easter Eggs and Symbolism You May Have Missed

Jordan Peele's latest movie 'Nope' is full of references, easter eggs, and hidden meanings. Here are all the easter eggs you may have missed.

Nope Daniel Kaluuya
Universal Pictures

Image via Universal Pictures

Nope Daniel Kaluuya

There’s a strong possibility you were one of the thousands of people who flocked to the cinemas this weekend to see Nope, the latest film from Get Out and Us director Jordan Peele. If you’ve seen either of Peele’s previous films, you know the director likes to seed all kinds of references, easter eggs, and hidden meanings about the larger thematic points of his films into them. In fact, Peele’s movies often become richer the more viewers revisit them and find new bits of storytelling they hadn’t before. 

That fact remains the same with Nope. The Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer-led film feature plenty of weighty thematic content to explore on subsequent watches and plenty of nods to Hollywood’s history. So while you may understand the film’s major twists and turns, you may have missed all the small details that go into fleshing out that larger picture. But don’t worry; we’ve rounded up nine of Nope’s biggest and best easter eggs that either enhance, inform, or even directly foreshadow the events of the movie.

It goes without saying, but, major spoiler alert for Nope below.

Jordan Peele has released the ‘90s sitcom intro for ‘GORDY’S HOME’ from #NOPEMovie

— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 24, 2022

While the full context of Gordy’s Home becomes clear throughout Nope, the event is rooted in real-world situations. Chimps can become extremely violent if provoked, as in a 2009 incident wherein a chimp actor named Travis viciously attacked a friend of his owner’s named Charla Nash. Travis knew Nash from an early age but was increasingly erratic around the time before he mauled her. Nash later spoke on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show about her experience and showed off her (failed) face transplant. Initially obscured by a hat and veil, her appearance is not dissimilar from how the older version of Mary Jo Elliott looks when she visits Jupiter’s Claim towards the end of Nope. Also worth mentioning are the legacy of The Planet of the Apes movies, which have long maintained the potential dangers of primates.

Also, there’s been much discussion (thanks to Logan Paul, of all people) about the upright shoe in the Gordy’s Home sequence and what it may mean. While this is one of those symbols that could just be a cool thing to look at, there’s a case to be made that it falls into the category of a “bad miracle” that OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) mentions. Additionally, there’s definitely an overlap between the idea of young Jupe (Steven Yeun) staring at the shoe to avoid making direct eye contact with Gordy, something which will come in handy as OJ and Emerald (Keke Palmer) tackle the UFO-like “The Viewer” later on.

The Thing From Another World

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The legendary Keith David only has a few moments of screen time in Nope, but the actor’s legacy looms large⁠—especially in genre movies. One of David’s most beloved roles is Childs in John Carpenter’s The Thing, which just turned 40 in late June. If you somehow haven’t seen one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, the premise of Carpenter’s classic is that some sort of alien from another world has invaded a remote arctic research facility and is capable of changing its shape. That tracks with the ability of “The Viewer” to change its shape and works as Peele pays continued homage to the master of horror.

Black Cowboys

The Harder They Fall cast Netflix film

While Black cowboys have seen a renaissance in the last decade due to various factors like the release of Django Unchained and The Harder They Fall or through the music of Lil Nas X, there’s an extensive legacy of Black cowboys throughout history. As mentioned in Nope, the assembly of the first motion picture came from photographs of a Black jockey riding a horse. While Nope reimagines the history of this jockey to be an ancestor of the Haywood, the man’s identity remains unknown even to this day (we do know the horse’s name, however. It’s Annie G). Another prominent Black western, Buck and the Preacher, is one of the many posters adorning the walls of the Haywood home. Directed and starring Sidney Poitier, Buck also featured luminary Harry Belafonte and was part of a larger wave of Black Power and Blaxploitation films released in the 1970s. Those curious about the history of Black cowboys should watch the video essay below by film scholar and author Mia Mask, which airs as part of the Nope pre-show at the Alamo Drafthouse and is an excellent exploration of the subject.

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The history of Steven Yeun’s Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park not only dovetails with the glory story of Gordy’s Home but serves as a treatise on the history of child actors in Hollywood. Jupe’s star turn in Kid Sheriff (a seemingly adventure-style epic) evokes the story of Ke Huy Quan, who famously starred as Short Round in Temple of Doom and as Data in The Goonies before largely falling off the map due to the treatment of Asians in Hollywood before triumphantly returning to the screen in 2022’s massive hit, Everything Everywhere All at Once. While Yeun’s Jupe has managed to carve out a life for himself, it’s not without having to exploit the trauma of his past, as evidenced by the extensive collection of Gordy’s Home merch he’s assembled behind the hidden door in his office. Even the merch of Jupiter’s Claim could be seen as a nod to Gordy; the costumes Jupe’s kids wear to scare the shit out of OJ (and the audience) look chimp-like in their construction.

Little Green Men

Nope Easter Eggs

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

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In addition to calling the monster “The Viewer,” a lot of the footage Holst (Michael Wincott) is editing features close-ups of animal eyes. Given that OJ later states he believes the Viewer to be an animalistic predator, it’s just another subtle nod toward the monster’s real intentions. 

Anime Action

100 must watch movies before you die akira

There are two references to beloved anime series in Nope, depending on how willing you are to play along. The first is abundantly clear: as Emerald heads into Jupiter’s Claim on the electric bike, she performs what’s known as the “Akira slide.” Pulled from the 1988 cyberpunk anime film Akira, the slide features a character sliding a motorcycle away from the camera and skidding to a stop. Homages to the slide have appeared in various forms of media over the past three decades, from shows like Batman: The Animated Series to Joria Smith’s “Come Over” video. Now, we can add Nope to that storied list.

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The shape-shifting ability of “The Viewer” certainly evokes that of the scary, alien foes of Neon Genesis Evangelion, an influential anime that debuted in the mid-90s. The “Angels” are monstrous creatures that can change form seemingly at will. Specifically, the monster’s initial form evokes the design of Sahaquiel, an airborne Angel that attacks around the midpoint of the series. Much like “The Viewer,” there’s something horrific about the spectacle of the Angels, and it’s not impossible to think Peele may have drawn design inspiration from the series—even if our evidence is slightly tenuous. 

Hollywood History

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OJ mentions his first project with Otis senior was The Scorpion King. Both a spin-off and a prequel to The Mummy franchise, Scorpion King is notable because it was the first lead film role for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Additionally, Scorpion King is a Universal Pictures-distributed movie, just like Nope. While Scorpion King was released in 2002, OJ’s hoodie features a 2001 date on it, which was when production took place. 

Steven Spielberg’s influence amongst Hollywood directors always looms large, but you can particularly feel his impact on Peele throughout Nopea point Peele has mentioned in the past. There’s not only a bit of Jaws in how Peele holds off on fully showing “The Viewer” until the third act but Close Encounters of the Third Kind, too. The 1977 alien epic features Jaws actor Richard Dreyfuss re-teaming with Spielberg for a movie that features an obsession with chasing a UFO. Both Encounters and Nope then see that UFO hiding out inside a cloud to keep cover and feature their lead performers hiding out from the object inside a truck. If you’re going to be inspired by a filmmaker, well, we can’t blame Peele for pulling from arguably one of the greatest of all time.

One-Eyed, One-Horn

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Holst’s rendition of “The Purple People Eater” is likely the first time you’ve thought or heard about Sheb Wooley’s song since you were a child. But the song has a lot of overlap with “The Viewer.” The “I wouldn’t eat you cause you’re too tough” could either apply to how OJ and Emerald avoid being eaten by not looking at the creature in the eye or could refer to the actual toughness of the non-human elements that get chewed up and spit out by the monster. The secret of Wooley’s song is that the beast only eats, well, purple people and that as humans, we’re fine since we’re not purple. That could be another indication that by figuring out “The Viewer” is a monster and not a UFO, the Haywoods are the ones capable of defeating it accordingly. 

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