Subtle Moments That Foreshadowed 10 Movie Characters’ Fates

Captain America_ The First Avenger

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Foreshadowing is when something seems random or unimportant but later turns out to be a hint concerning the events in a story. Many directors are masters at using foreshadowing in their films, and these little clues they leave for viewers can be hard to catch. There may be moments of foreshadowing in your most-loved movies that you never noticed!

1. “Sleeps With the Fishes” Foreshadowing

The Godfather
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

In the iconic movie The Godfather, fish art is on one of the bar’s glass windows and frames Luca Brasi. This subtle detail foreshadows the brutal end of this character and the creepy fish sent to the other characters to indicate his death. The “sleeps with the fishes” metaphor is strong here, and we get a hint about it early in the film.

2. When Hydra Attacks With a Pocket Knife

Captain America_ The First Avenger (2011)
Image Credit: Marvel Studios.

In Captain America: The First Avenger, Howard Stark prepares Steve for the battle against Hydra and explains that they’ll use intense and terrifying weapons, not simple pocket knives. However, this comment turns out to be ironic foreshadowing, as Captain American ends up fighting Hydra at the end and is attacked by an agent with a pocket knife!

3. Prince Naveen’s Fortune Card

The Princess and the Frog
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

The charming kids’ movie The Princess and the Frog also has some clever foreshadowing you may not have noticed. At the beginning of the movie, Prince Naveen visits a fortune teller and receives a fortune card with an image of him playing an instrument. However, the subtle background design on the card is a lily pad, foreshadowing his transformation.

4. Jerry Lundegaard’s Fate

Image Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

Jerry Lundegaard is a complex and deeply flawed character in Fargo who tries to have his wife fake-kidnapped to collect the ransom. In an early scene, there is a shot of him talking on the phone, and the view is through vertical blinds. This subtle detail foreshadows his eventual arrest and prison sentence for his crimes.

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5. The Bird Cage Deceit

The Prestige (2006)
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

In Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, one of Borden’s magic acts foreshadows the characters’ complex fates. The magic trick is to crush a small bird to death in a cage, but then it miraculously lives. However, the bird does not live; it’s replaced with a different bird, much like how Borden’s twin brother takes the fall for him in the end.

6. Norman’s Stuffed Birds

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

In the unforgettable and chilling Hitchcock movie Psycho, there are creepy stuffed birds on display that Norman seems to like and care for. At one point, Norman Bates refers to them as harmless, foreshadowing the eventual reveal of his mother. Like the birds, he unnaturally preserved his mother, but in doing so, she became harmless and couldn’t hurt him anymore. While his mother was dead from the beginning, the birds foreshadow the reveal to the audience.

7. “No Capes”

The Incredibles
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Everyone loves this hilarious line from The Incredibles, but it’s an excellent example of foreshadowing. Edna refuses to make capes for her superhero designs because she says they’re dangerous. When we first see Buddy, a.k.a. Syndrome, his cape should give us a clue that he won’t make it out of the movie alive, and like Edna predicted, his cape is his downfall.

8. The Squashed Pumpkin

Coraline (2009)
Image Credit: Focus Features.

In Coraline, the main character’s Other Father says a strange line about a pumpkin getting squished. The line is earlier in the film when the Other Mother drags him out of a room, showing how she controls him. It seems inconsequential, but later on, when the Other Father dies in the garden, he’s wearing a big pumpkin suit, so he foreshadows his own demise.

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9. “Life Found a Way”

Jurassic Park
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

One of the coolest examples of foreshadowing in a movie is in Jurassic Park when Alan Grant doesn’t have a proper seatbelt because both ends are “female,” meaning both sides are the insertable part of the buckle. He says, “Grant found a way,” as he ties them together. This foreshadows how the all-female collection of dinosaurs managed to procreate.

10. The Stay Puft Marshmallows

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Who could forget the giant marshmallow man from Ghostbusters? If you pay attention, the characters who have to face the marshmallow man are near marshmallows during different parts of the film. In particular, Dana has a bag of Stay Puft Marshmallows in her kitchen just before her first paranormal encounter.

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