The Uncharted movie is a treasure trove of references and nods to the Naughty Dog games on which it is based. Like the artefacts Nate has uncovered while being the world’s most bloodthirsty explorer, however, some of the Uncharted movie Easter eggs are almost impossible to find at first glance.
But don’t worry. We’ve jotted them all down, Drake-style, in our journals. From fan favorite cameos to outright game references, and even some cheeky winks from the movie’s director, every base is covered.
As a word of warning: we’ll be going right up to the credits – and beyond. So there will be some spoilers for the Uncharted movie throughout.
You ready? Here are all the major references and Easter eggs in the Tom Holland-led Uncharted movie. For more on Uncharted, read our interview with director Ruben Fleischer and our breakdown of the Uncharted post-credits scenes
Uncharted movie Easter eggs
Uncharted’s most famous opening – arguably one of the most famous in video game history – comes in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. It grabs the player’s attention immediately by plonking Nathan Drake into a life-or-death situation as he’s caught in a train car teetering precariously over the edge of a cliff.
Nate manages to get out of his perilous predicament – and the game then rewinds back several weeks and tells the rest of the story in chronological order, up to and then after Drake’s train-based trauma.
That style of storytelling is carried over into the Uncharted movie, with Tom Holland’s Nate being introduced in mid-air and hanging from a cargo plane. It even ends on a similar cliffhanger, though not quite as literal as in Among Thieves. It then segues into a flashback with his older brother Sam (who we’ll get to in a minute) before telling the story of how Nate met Sully and found himself in pursuit of Magellan’s gold.
Surely you didn’t miss this one? While Nate’s brother Sam isn’t introduced properly until the fourth game in the series A Thief’s End (voiced by Troy Baker), he’s brought in from the off in the movie. The brothers Drake, like in the games, both grew up at an orphanage. Unlike the games, however, Sam escapes the orphanage instead of leaving it. He also has a prior working relationship with both Sully and Chloe. In the Uncharted movie, Sam’s played by Rudy Pankow, best known for his appearance in the Netflix series Outer Banks.
Nate’s keepsake crops up several times in the Uncharted movie – often to comic effect. While the flimsy lighter eventually saves the day in explosive fashion, some may not know it’s actually an item used to solve a handful of puzzles in the fourth game, A Thief’s End.
Uncharted 3’s cargo plane set-piece
Uncharted 3’s cargo plane sequence isn’t the only moment ripped from the games, but it’s certainly one of the more fleshed-out callbacks to the PlayStation series.
Moncada, Braddock, Chloe, and Moncada’s men are en route to Magellan’s gold in the Philippines. Unbeknownst to them, Nate and Sully have snuck aboard in Moncada’s car.
Once they’re (inevitably) caught, chaos ensues: several cargo boxes fly out of the hold, taking Nate along with it. It’s all done in a manner strikingly similar to a moment in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception where Nate is desperately trying to climb the netting to get back onto a plane that is shedding baggage. Fortunately for game-Nate, he’s a little bit lower to the ground in the Rub’ al Khali desert than Tom Holland’s Drake was over the Banda Sea. But it’s not a fun landing for either man.
Nolan North cameo
We wondered whether Nathan Drake’s voice actor, Nolan North, would show up in live action. In one of the movie’s most shoehorned-in scenes, North is seen relaxing at a resort on the coast of the Banda Sea. He even converses with his Hollywood mirror, listening to Holland’s Nathan Drake regaling a tale about how he jumped out of a plane. North’s character’s response? “Something like that happened to me once.” Cute.
Were you listening closely during the Nolan North scene? A slightly revised version of the main Uncharted theme, heard in every title from the Naughty Dog series and composed by Greg Edmonson, starts playing. That leitmotif continues in the final act set-piece onboard one of Magellan’s ships.
A Thief’s End-inspired auction plan
Sully’s plan to swipe La Cruz de la Hermandad under the nose of Antonio Banderas’ Moncada is pretty similar to that found in Uncharted 4’s sixth chapter “Once a Thief.”
In each, Nate is tasked with switching off the lights while Sully tries to outbid an antagonistic threat for a cross-shaped artefact. In the movie’s case, it’s Moncada emptying out his pockets. It even ends in similar fashion, with the good guys walking off with the item lot and towards their next clue in the hunt for the treasure.
Drake’s ring features prominently in the Uncharted movie – including the post-credits scene, where Pilou Asbaek’s Gage takes a liking to it. It also forms part of a plot point in Drake’s Deception where Nate, believing the ring to belong to explorer Sir Francis Drake (who he could be descended from), uses it in an attempt to decipher the location of Drake’s hidden treasure.
The Drake motto
That ring also includes a motto: “Sic Parvis Magna.” If you’re rusty on your Latin, Sam fills you in during the movie’s opening act. It means “Greatness from Small Beginnings.” It’s attributed to Sir Francis Drake in the games and Nate adopts it as a motto throughout the series.
The text used when introducing each new location in the Uncharted movie should look familiar to game fans. It’s the same main font used for the Uncharted title, which can be seen on the games’ main title screens as well as on the box art.
Naughty Dog sticker
When Nate is fishing through his old orphanage suitcase in search of postcards from Sam, the camera lingers for just a second on a sticker lining the inside of the case. It’s hardly subtle, but in case you missed it: that’s the logo of Naughty Dog, the developers of the Uncharted series.
Chloe Frazer – and her red clothes
Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer is first seen in the streets (and then the rooftops) of Barcelona. While she catches the eye of Tom Holland’s Nate throughout, more eagle-eyed games fans will notice the flashes of red on the explorer’s clothes. It’s a clear throwback to Chloe’s Uncharted 2 look, which is a nice nod from PlayStation’s back catalogue.
Nate’s iconic look
Speaking of clothes, it takes Tom Holland’s Nate about two-thirds of the movie until he finally puts on his iconic wear seen from the games. Once he crosses the Pacific Ocean, he finally dresses in something a little closer to his attire from Drake’s Deception: a tan, baggy shirt, olive cargo pants, and lots and lots of little brown straps and belts.
Pirate ships in a cave
While this isn’t the most direct reference to the games, it most certainly is one. Nate finally uncovers the resting place of Magellan’s gold: aboard a pair of pirate ships in a remote, open-top cavern. If you’ve replayed A Thief’s End as part of the newly remastered Legacy Collection, that scenario might be familiar to you: it mirrors the discovery of the Libertalia and that game’s final hour.
Sam in prison
Throughout the Uncharted movie, Nate, Sully, and Chloe are led to believe that Nate’s brother, Sam, died in a shootout over Magellan’s gold.
The first of two post-credits scenes reveal the current whereabouts of Sam: stuck in a hellhole prison. If it’s following the games, it’s likely that the elder Drake brother is in Panama and has been sending Nate postcards to prove he’s still alive. If a sequel comes to pass, expect to see more of Sam’s prison-centric exploits, and potentially a jailbreak.
Did you stay until the very end? The second Uncharted post-credits scene is a treat for OG game fans. First up is a reference to “Roman”, the employer of Pilou Asbaek’s Gage. He’s not of the cousin-bowling variety but should still be a recognizable name for Uncharted fans: that’s Gabriel Roman, a nefarious treasure collector who serves as one of the main villains in the first game, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
In fact, the entire scene feels like a mini-prologue for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. While the game doesn’t see Roman cross paths with Nate until he’s well on the hunt for Francis Drake’s El Dorado treasure, there are various aspects that bleed into the movie that will seemingly be adapted. They include a Nazi map, which factors in heavily into Drake’s Fortune. As, too, does Drake’s ring, a subject of fascination to Gage.
While the first movie cherrypicked the good and the great from Uncharted history, a possible sequel could focus solely on Drake’s Fortune.
Sully’s classic facial fuzz may have been revealed in the pre-release trailers, but the movie, much like with Tomb Raider’s twin pistols in the 2018 movie, leaves the moustache reveal until the final seconds of the second post-credits scene. Up until that point, Mark Wahlberg’s mentor had been suspiciously clean-shaven. Maybe Mr. Whiskers had given him some fashion tips?
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