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17 TV And Movie Moments That Were So Clever, The Writers Literally Planned Them For Years

Breaking Bad waited five years to make one callback reference, and it was genius.

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their favorite TV and movie callback references throughout the series. Here are the genius results.


1. In Avengers: Endgame, when Captain America was about to fight Thanos's army by himself, but then Sam appeared behind him ~on his left~, calling back to The Winter Soldier.

Side-by-side of Steve running by Sam in "Winter Soldier" and saying "on your left," vs. Sam saying "on your left" to Steve in "Endgame"

"Hearing Sam say 'On your left' in Endgame made me cry buckets. It was a great callback to Winter Soldier. It's perfect."


2. In Parks and Rec, when Leslie got a free MRI during her blind date with Chris in Season 2, and he said her body was capable of having triplets the first time she got pregnant. Then, in Season 6, she was pregnant with triplets.

Side-by-side of Leslie in the hospital on her date with Will Arnett's character, vs. Leslie in the hospital again four years later finding out she's pregnant with triplets

"I just love this moment."


3. In Breaking Bad, when Walter White rolled that barrel through the desert at the end of Season 5, he unknowingly walked right by the pants that he lost in the pilot.

Side-by-sides of Walter White's pants flying through the air in the pilot episode, vs. him walking by those same pants in the desert five years later

"Thinking about this always makes me laugh."


4. In Split, when the final scene started playing, and Bruce Willis's character appeared, revealing that the whole movie was actually a sequel to Unbreakable, which came out 16 years earlier.

The ending of "Split" when Bruce Willis's character from "Unbreakable" appears in the diner
Blinding Edge Pictures

"Bruce Willis’s appearance at the end of Split had me literally screaming in the theater because we found out there was FINALLY a sequel to Unbreakable. I had been waiting for years, and you wouldn't have even known the movie was a sequel unless you stayed for the very end."


5. In Sister, Sister, when the series had a full-circle moment by starting and ending with the same department store clerk thinking that Tia and Tamera were one person.

Side-by-sides of Tia and Tamera being confused for each other at the same store in the pilot vs. in the finale
ABC / The WB

"I always loved this moment in the finale because it brought everything back together. The department store was where Tia and Tamera first met, making everyone a family, so ending it with the same actors in the same spot was a fitting tribute and nice way to say goodbye."

Spencer Althouse

6. In Community, when they spent the first two seasons casually mentioning the name "Beetlejuice," and after the third time, an actual Beetlejuice appeared in the background, just like he did in the movie.

Side-by-sides of every time a character said the word "Beetlejuice," ending with an actual Beetlejuice appearing

"In the movie, Beetlejuice appears after you say his name three times. So in Community, after Annie says 'Beetlejuice' for the show's third time, someone dressed as Beetlejuice walks across the screen in the background. It’s so subtle and you barely notice it, but when you do, it’s pretty funny and clever."


7. In Seinfeld, when the pilot opened with a conversation about shirt buttons, and nine years later the finale ended with the same exact conversation about shirt buttons.

George and Jerry talking about shirt buttons in a diner in the pilot episode, then the gang talking about shirt buttons in jail in the finale

8. In Veep, when Selina and her team hoped that a big news event would happen — like Tom Hanks dying — to distract the media from reporting on her scandal in the pilot episode. Then, in the finale, Tom Hanks's death overshadowed the news of her own funeral.

Side-by-side of the pilot episode of "Veep" where Mike hoped Tom Hanks would die, compared to the finale where he reported on Hanks's actual death

"The finale called back to so many hilarious moments throughout the show's run, including the Tom Hanks bit in the pilot. It was brilliant."


9. In Final Destination 5, when the movie ended with Sam boarding his flight to Paris, and you realized it was the same plane that exploded after takeoff in the first Final Destination.

Side-by-side of the first plane exploding in the first "Final Destination" movie, vs. the same plane exploding in the 5th installment
New Line Cinema

10. In Grey's Anatomy, when Dr. Miranda Bailey had to give birth without her husband in Season 2, so George stepped in to help her. Then, 14 years later, Bailey returned the favor and repeated the same mantra to Amelia so she wouldn't feel alone while giving birth.

Side-by-sides of George holding Dr. Bailey as she gave birth, vs. Dr. Bailey holding Amelia as she gave birth

"In Season 2, Miranda Bailey’s husband got in a car crash when she was in labor. He couldn’t be there for the delivery, so George O’Malley stepped up. He got behind her on the bed and held her shoulders and told her encouraging things while she was pushing. It was such a sweet moment. Then, in Season 16, Dr. Bailey did the same thing for Amelia Shepherd when Link couldn’t be there for the delivery of their baby. She remembered what George had done for her and carried on his legacy while helping her friend. TEARS."


11. In American Horror Story: Apocalypse, when Madison Montgomery returned five years later and repeated her iconic "Surprise, bitch" line from AHS: Coven.

Side-by-side of Madison in her iconic red dress while talking to the Supreme in "Coven," vs. Madison reappearing in "Apocalypse"

"Say what you want about the decline in quality of American Horror Story over the years, but when Madison (Emma Roberts) came back in Season 8 with her 'Surprise, bitch' line, it was a glorious callback moment to Season 3."


12. In How to Get Away With Murder, when the pilot's first scene and the finale's ending scene were practically identical, except Annalise Keating was replaced by Christopher.

Side-by-side of the pilot episode where Annalise introduces herself to the class vs. Christopher introducing himself to the class

"The dialogue was identical, and each scene even started with Alfred Enoch's characters riding through campus on their bikes."


13. In Deathly Hallows Part 2, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione fought the same creatures during the Battle of Hogwarts that they fought throughout the series, in the exact order that they appeared throughout each movie.

Comparisons of the earlier monsters in the "Harry Potter" movies to the final Battle of Hogwarts in the last movie
Warner Bros. Pictures

"First a giant creature tried to smash them (mirroring the first movie when Harry and Ron rescued Hermione from a troll in the bathroom). Then they ran from Aragog’s spider offspring, just like when Harry and Ron came up against the spiders in the forest in Chamber of Secrets. Following this, Hermione launched a spell at the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback (werewolf Lupin was obviously huge in Prisoner of Azkaban), and they also fought Dementors. Then everyone fought together, mimicking Order of the Phoenix. Then it cut to Snape (Half-Blood Prince). It's all genius."


14. In Lost, when the final scene of the show perfectly mirrored the pilot's intro from six years earlier, except everything happened in reverse.

Side-by-sides of the first scene from the pilot of "Lost" perfectly mimicking the final scene in the last episode, only everything appears in reverse

"The first and final scenes both had Jack flat on his back, looking up through the palm fronds, and Walt's dog appearing next to him. It was a strange, confusing show, but those last scenes and the music were A+++++++."


15. In the Toy Story series, when the aliens spent the first movie worshipping "the claw," and then, in the third movie, they used it to save everyone from being burned alive in the fire.

Side-by-side of the aliens in the first "Toy Story" movie, vs. the third movie where the aliens used the claw to save everyone

16. In Modern Family, when the final scene of the series perfectly mimicked the first scene of the series by putting each character in the same situation they were in 11 years earlier.

Side-by-side comparisons of the pilot and finale with Jay and Gloria at a soccer game, vs. Cam and Mitchel on a plane bringing their new baby home

"The last scene of the last episode is full of callbacks to the first one. Mitch and Cam were on a plane with their new kid (cream puffs in hand), Jay and Gloria were next to each other at their son's soccer game (now both of them were struggling to get out of their chairs), and Phil and Claire were planning. It was really neat."


17. And in 30 Rock, when they had a running gag that Kenneth might be immortal, so in the finale's post-credits scene, they showed him 100-plus years in the future with flying cars.

Side-by-side of all the times people questioned Kenneth's age, vs. him in the finale appearing in the future with flying cars

"It was a really lovely ending that drives home some series-long jokes. It was just right."


Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.