This article contains spoilers for Uncharted.
Uncharted isn’t just a somewhat surprisingly fun movie that tries to capture the spirit of classic adventure films gone by, it’s a video game adaptation that generously cites its source material through a variety of easter eggs. Thos movie seriously pays tribute to the blockbuster PlayStation games (as well as a variety of other genre staples).
While some video game adaptations are more than happy to ignore their source material entirely or just nod at it once in a while, Uncharted wears its heart on its sleeve when it comes to referencing the best-selling and award-winning franchise that obviously inspired it.
Although fans of these games probably won’t have to work too hard to spot the movie’s many Easter eggs, here’s a rundown of some of the film’s absolute best references.
Nolan North’s Beach Cameo
One of the Uncharted movie’s best (and most surprising) easter eggs happens shortly after Nate and Chloe manage to escape a cargo plane (more on that in a bit) and end up at a beachside resort. There, they run into a beachgoer who not only gets a surprising amount of screen time but seems to be oddly sympathetic to, and understanding of, the unique situation the pair just endured.
Fans of the Uncharted games will probably instantly recognize that the beachgoer is none other than Nolan North, the voice actor who portrays Nathan Drake in the Uncharted games. While it makes no sense whatsoever that he’s acknowledging his video game adventures in this film, it’s a fun cameo that gives North some much-deserved time to shine on the big screen.
The Naughty Dog Sticker
While we’re on the subject of bizarre meta-references in the Uncharted movie, we have to talk about the fact that Nathan Drake has a Naughty Dog (the developers of the Uncharted games) sticker attached to his suitcase. Again, you could easily break your brain trying to understand this world where Naughty Dog and Nolan North as Nathan Drake exist in an Uncharted movie despite the fact that the Uncharted game franchise seemingly doesn’t exist in that same universe, but I’d rather have a mind-bending Naughty Dog shout-out than no shout-out to the legendary studio at all.
Cries of “Where is the mustache?” have been echoing through the night ever since fans got their first look at Mark Wahlberg as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and realized that he’s lacking the character’s trademark facial hair.
Well, those who choose to stick around for Uncharted’s second post-credits scene will be pleased to see that Wahlberg does eventually rock a mustache in the movie. It’s not quite as glorious as Sully’s mustache in the games, but Wahlberg is only human.
The Sam Drake Prison Cameo in Post-Credit Scene
While Nathan Drake’s older brother is referenced several times throughout the Uncharted movie (we even see a younger version of Sam during an early flashback sequence), we finally see an adult Sam Drake sitting in a jail cell covered by shadows. The scene seems to tease the possibility that future Uncharted movies could explore certain elements of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End‘s plot, which finally reunited Nathan and his brother after Sam is freed from prison. Of course, as we’ll soon discuss, the movie teases some other ways that possible future sequels could borrow other plot points from a different game in the series…
Nathan Drake’s Lighter
Again, there’s quite a lot to say about how the movie dances around Sam Drake, but one of the most fascinating Sam-adjacent plot points that the movie borrows from the games is Nathan’s use of a lighter that Sam gifted him before he disappeared into the night years ago. Whereas Sam’s lighter doesn’t really come into play in the games until Uncharted 4, Nathan gets quite a lot of use out of it in the movie, as he pops out the comically unreliable device to do everything from scam a young bar patron to light a cannon fuse.
The Ring and the Motto
Nathan Drake’s ring and the words that are inscribed on it (“Sic Parvis Magna”) are obviously borrowed from the games, but what’s especially interesting are the various ways that the movie changes how Nathan does (and doesn’t) use the ring. In the first Uncharted game, Nathan uses his ring to solve some puzzles as well as uncover information about his apparent relationship to Sir Francis Drake. While the ring is little more than a trinket in the movie, the motto it features (which translates to “Greatness from Small Beginnings”) is the same as it was in the games.
The Cargo Plane Sequence
Uncharted’s marquee action scene is a stunning sequence that sees Nathan Drake battle gravity and goons inside the belly of a cargo plane. Of course, ever since that scene was teased during one of Uncharted’s first trailers, fans have wasted no time reminding everyone that the sequence is pretty much directly lifted from Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
While the film version of that cargo plane scene doesn’t play out exactly as it does in the games, it’s really hard to fault the film crew for essentially trying to recreate that stunning sequence. It’s one of the best scenes in any of the Uncharted games, and it proves to be about as effective in the films.
The Ship in the Cave
Anyone who played Uncharted 4 (which hopefully includes quite a lot of you) will instantly recognize that a pivotal scene in the Uncharted movie in which Nathan discovers a pirate ship stuck in a cave was clearly inspired by a very similar scene in that game. While the film changes some of the details of Nathan’s discovery, this is just another one of the ways that the movie borrows one of the most visually striking moments from the games while altering them just enough to make them work in the movie’s (mostly) original plot.
The Auction Heist
One of Uncharted’s best scenes sees Nathan and Sully infiltrate an auction in order to steal the La Cruz de la Hermandad Cross, which they believe will lead them to the treasure they so desperately seek. The basic idea of that scene is pretty much lifted directly from Uncharted 4, again, though Nathan and Sully are looking for the St. Dismas cross in that game and are also joined by Sam Drake. If we ever get an Uncharted movie that lets the brothers share an on-screen adventure, it seems like that theoretical sequel won’t be able to borrow nearly as many scenes from the fourth Uncharted game as this movie does.
Gabriel Roman and the Setup For Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
While Sully’s mustache is arguably the star of Uncharted’s second post-credits scene, the most important takeaways from that surprisingly long sequence are a reference to a Nazi treasure map, a goon’s fascination with Nathan Drake’s ring, and that same goon’s decision to name drop their employer: a man known simply as “Roman.”
Interestingly, all of those elements are found in the plot of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, the very first game in the Uncharted franchise. “Roman” is a clear reference to Gabriel Roman, one of the villains from the first game, that adventure’s plot involves a treasure map once controlled by the Nazis, and, as noted above, Drake’s ring and the legacy it supposedly signifies play a much larger role in that game.
Could a hypothetical Uncharted movie sequel circle back to the plot of the very first Uncharted game after this movie spent so much time paying homage to the fourth game in the series?
Nuns and Snakes
Given the many ways that the Uncharted games were clearly inspired by the Indiana Jones movies, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Uncharted film also finds a way to directly reference Indy’s adventures.
In whatever the audio equivalent of a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment is, we hear Nathan say “Nuns. Why’s it always gotta be nuns?” after spotting a nun in a church. Not only is that a reference to Nathan’s fear of the nuns who ran the orphanage he grew up in, which we see earlier in the movie, but the line is obviously a play on Indiana Jones’ famous fear of snakes.
The Well Joke
Speaking of jokes, there’s a pretty good one during that same church sequence referenced above in which Sully says “Well, well, well” in response to…err…an area that reminds him of a well. It’s not the best joke on paper, but it makes a lot more sense once you realize that Sully makes a similar quip in two of the Uncharted games. It’s really a perfect example of Sully’s lovable dad joke vibes.
The Barcelona Tomb Puzzle Sequence
While the pivotal Barcelona church scene in the Uncharted movie doesn’t seem to be a direct callback to a specific sequence from the games (though the location may have been inspired by similar settings found in the games), there is something pleasantly familiar and “game-like” about the way that the whole thing plays out.
From characters physically supporting each other to reach new areas to the various little puzzles, traps, and even the way that some members of the party take separate (but parallel) routes to the same destination, this is one scene in the movie that finds some very interesting ways to mimic the style of the games without directly lifting from them. That might be why it is one of its best.
Did you spot any more easter eggs in the Uncharted movie? Let us know about them in the comments below.