All of“ The Fall Guy”'s Crazy Cameos and Action-Movie Easter Eggs Explained

From Tom Cruise references to a special post-credits cameo, find out all the easter eggs in 'The Fall Guy'

<p>Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures; ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> (Left-right:) Ryan Gosling in "The Fall Guy"; Lee Majors in "The Six Million Dollar Man"

Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures; ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

(Left-right:) Ryan Gosling in "The Fall Guy"; Lee Majors in "The Six Million Dollar Man"

Fans of action-packed cinema have plenty to feast their eyes and ears on in Ryan Gosling’s The Fall Guy.

Loosely based on the 1980s TV series of the same name about a stunt man played by Lee Majors, the film comes from director David Leitch, who was involved in such pulse-pounding hits as John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 and Bullet Train.

Related: The Fall Guy Criticized Over 'Distasteful’ Joke Involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

With a script from Drew Pearce (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) and costarring action regulars Emily Blunt, Winston Duke and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, The Fall Guy honors and showcases the best of the stunt community — “the heroes on screen,” as Gosling, 43, recently told PEOPLE. 

It also pays homage to similar action films and stars that have come before. Read on for the cinematic references, easter eggs and starry cameos that audiences won’t want to miss.

Tom Cruise

It seems inconceivable to make a movie centering stunt work without mentioning a trailblazer of the art form: Tom Cruise. The Top Gun star has made a name for himself doing the kinds of death-defying acts that most A-listers leave to their stunt doubles. In his Mission Impossible franchise, he has jumped from alarming heights, hung onto the outside of airplanes and driven motorcycles off cliffs.

As both an all-around fan of moviemaking magic and a vocal proponent of practical effects, Cruise’s name had to make an appearance in The Fall Guy. Gosling’s stunt double character Colt Seavers, as he’s joining the set of movie-within-a-movie Metalstorm, has his face and body copied by deepfake technology. He quips that he’d like Cruise’s face transposed onto his own.

Jean-Claude Van Damme

The Fall Guy’s top scene-stealer isn’t Gosling, Blunt or even Stephanie Hsu or Hannah Waddingham. It’s Jean-Claude Van Damme — not the martial artist who starred in countless action classics, but a loyal dog with that name.

So loyal is the Kelpie pooch, in fact, that he seems to converse with Hsu and Gosling’s characters and obey their commands. The catch is that such commands must be in French, a winking nod to Van Damme’s primary language. (The Belgian actor also speaks Dutch and English.)

Related: Eva Mendes Praises Partner Ryan Gosling for Supporting Her: 'He's Got Me in All the Ways' (Exclusive)

The canine sidekick is also a salute to a dearly departed pet of Gosling’s partner Eva Mendes. “Eva used to have a dog named Hugo who was a Belgian Malinois who was an attack dog," he revealed in March. "He only spoke French. He’s passed now, so this is my homage to him."

<p>Universal Studios</p> Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in "The Fall Guy"

Universal Studios

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in "The Fall Guy"

Stunt-heavy movies and series

Leitch’s movie doesn’t take place in the 1980s, but its rock-and-roll-inflected music and macho vibes channel that era’s most action-packed properties.

Audiences don’t have to look closely to find echoes of Magnum P.I., The A-Team, Miami Vice and, of course, The Fall Guy. And trailblazing action A-listers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jackie Chan or Chuck Norris would surely nod in approval of the impressively choreographed fight moves and stunts from Fall Guy’s second unit director and stunt designer Chris O’Hara.

Related: Ryan Gosling Reveals Burt Reynolds Had a Crush on His Mom: 'I Thought He Took a Shine to Me'

Fans of Burt Reynolds, who was no stranger to action fare, will see his influence too. The director-star’s 1981 movie Sharky's Machine includes a yet-to-be-topped record: the highest free-fall movie stunt ever at 220 feet, performed by Dar Robinson. Among Fall Guy’s death-defying feats is a climactic drop from a helicopter performed by one of Gosling’s doubles, Troy Brown, who broke his own record for longest high fall at 150 feet. (The stunt performer’s father, Bob Brown, was also a high-fall expert.) 


Movie-within-a-movie Metalstorm, directed by Blunt’s character and starring a slew of extras in extraterrestrial get-ups, looks almost convincing enough to deserve its own feature-length treatment. Obvious aesthetic influences on the gold-tinged, post-apocalyptic alien world include Cowboys & Aliens, Mad Max and Dune (its soundtrack is distinctly reminiscent of Denis Villeneuve’s Arrakis).

Per The Fall Guy’s distributor Universal Pictures, its inspiration came from a little-known box office flop from 1983 also from the studio: Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn.

Note: Spoilers for The Fall Guy ahead.

<p>Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures</p> (Left-right:) Ben Jenkin and Ryan Gosling on the set of "The Fall Guy"

Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures

(Left-right:) Ben Jenkin and Ryan Gosling on the set of "The Fall Guy"

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Jason Momoa

A late twist in The Fall Guy involves Taylor-Johnson’s movie star character needing to be replaced on Metalstorm. Who should step in but Aquaman himself?

With brief screen time for a cameo, Jason Momoa manages to both ham it up and show off some impressive combat skills, slinging extraterrestrial guns, swinging the character’s gold cape and delivering inspiring speeches with panache.

Related: Jason Momoa Reveals the ‘Weird’ Breakfast He Has Every Day (Exclusive)

Lee Majors and Heather Thomas

Fans of the 1980s Fall Guy series are in for a treat at the cinema: original stars Majors and Heather Thomas are given a grand cinematic entrance in a mid-credits cameo that serves as a satisfying payoff.

<p>Ruby Wallau/Getty; Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage</p> (Left-right:) Ryan Gosling; Lee Majors

Ruby Wallau/Getty; Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

(Left-right:) Ryan Gosling; Lee Majors

In Glen A. Larson’s five-season show, both actors played Hollywood stunt performers who moonlight as bounty hunters. Its hit theme song, "Unknown Stuntman," was sung by Majors himself. (The Fall Guy film updates the song with a new cover from none other than Blake Shelton.) Fun fact: the 1981 GMC K-2500 Wideside that the series made famous also appears in Leitch’s movie.

There’s one more homage to Majors in one of the film’s wild fight scenes. When Gosling pushes away a goon, the sound effect audiences can hear is the same as one in The Six Million Dollar Man, another TV hit starring Majors.

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