Here’s the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘Buffy’ reference Joss Whedon snuck into ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind such cult classic TV shows as Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngelFirefly and Dollhouse, took our fandom freakouts to the next level when he helmed Marvel’s mega-hit blockbuster The Avengers, and it’s equally squee-worthy sequel, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But, as much as we love Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the whole Avengers crew, fans of Whedon’s earlier work were secretly (not secretly) hoping he would find a way to work in a nod to his original universes, particularly his iconic Buffyverse, during his Marvel run.

Whedon dispelled our fangirliest hopes when he told Collider he just didn’t have time to work in references to his other work, even if he wanted to. “It’s so hard for me to make a movie, especially [Age of Ultron], I don’t spend a lot of time going, ‘You know what else would be hilarious?!’”

And we believed him. We were saddened, but we believed Joss when he said Ultron wouldn’t be full of fun Easter eggs. How naive we were, too, because it turns out, he did manage to sneak in a fun, albeit fast (we’re talking super fast, like blink-and-you-will-most-definitely-miss-it fast) reference to the Buffyverse after all.

The great people over at ScreenCrush spotted this one and it looks like Whedon confirms it in the director commentary on the Age of Ultron DVD. The reference in question appears when Thor is being majorly tripped out by Scarlet Witch’s powers and experiences a series of visions about Asgard. In one of those quick cuts, we see three men (Asgardians? Other aliens? Three beings, at least) wearing masks. Seems normal enough for Thor’s world. But a closer look reveals the meaning in the specific masks they’re wearing — a wolf, a ram and a hart (which is a medieval term for stag). Here’s a screenshot to refresh your memory:

The Buffyverse connection? In the Buffy spinoff Angel, the titular vampire is constantly coming up against a variety of foes, from other vampires to demons and monsters and, sometimes, against the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart. Get it? Wolf, ram and hart. Here’s a screenshot from Angel, highlighting Wolfram & Hart’s LA offices.

Well done, Whedon. Well done.

(Images via Marvel & Mutant Enemy Productions.)