Twisted Metal: 56 Easter Eggs And References You Missed In The New Peacock Series
By Kevin Wong on August 1, 2023 at 2:57PM PDT
The Twisted Metal series, now streaming on Peacock, is really, really good--better than anticipated, and genuinely funny in its own right. While turning the iconic PlayStation game into a TV series might sound practically impossible, the creators clearly understood and aced the assignment: Craft a narrative that incorporates vehicular combat, a killer clown, quasi-supernatural elements, and nostalgia for late-'90s/early-'00s American culture, and top it off with a dollop of dark humor. Be stupid and crass, but not incoherent.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for the new Twisted Metal series on Peacock. If you haven't seen it yet, steer clear.
And wouldn't you know, they pulled it off--at least partly due to them hiring the right people. Developers Paul Wernick and Rhet Reese, who also wrote Zombieland and Deadpool, specialize in this type of self-aware, fourth-wall-breaking, smartass humor.
Ironic fan service is enough to suck you in and keep you watching, at least for the first few episodes. But halfway through the 10-episode season, you also realize that you've come to care for these bizarre characters, especially co-leads John Doe (Anthony Mackie) and Quiet (Stephanie Beatriz). And by the time there's a multi-car rumble in a massive parking lot, and Sweet Tooth lights his head on fire, you're completely invested--on a visceral level, sure, but on an emotional level, as well.
Still, as much as we loved the story being told and the characters telling it, there's of course tons of Easter eggs for fans of the video game franchise in there, too. Here are the 56 best references to Twisted Metal and Easter eggs that we were able to track down while watching the Peacock series. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.
When we first meet John Doe, he's crashing through shops in the Ridgepointe Centre mall. This is a central location in the Twisted Metal: Black (2001) level "Suburbs."
One of the stores that John Doe crashes through is an EB Games, and the case for the original Twisted Metal (1995) lands on his windshield.
In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), the homing missiles create pink smoke trails, which distinguishes them from the fire missiles, which have orange trails. We see both trail types in the Peacock series, depending on which missiles the combatants are firing.
John Doe uses a sawed-off shotgun in the opening scene. Twisted Metal (2012) was the first game in the franchise to distinguish mounted guns from sidearms, which you could customize before each new level.
The Three Rivers outpost that John delivers dog food to is a reference to the real-life Three Rivers community in Tulane County, California, which is bordered on its north side by national parks. If you look closely, you can see a national park sign that reads "South Entrance," implying that the Three Rivers community fenced itself in or near the park when the power went down.
There are multiple graffitied signs in the series that state "CALYPSO IS REAL." In the games, Calypso is the mysterious benefactor who organizes the Twisted Metal tournaments and grants the winners' wishes, often in darkly ironic ways. At the very end of the Peacock series, we see Calypso's back, and he appears to have the long black hair that he wore in Twisted Metal (2012).
Based on the color scheme, the downed helicopter in this shot is Talon, an unlockable vehicle in Twisted Metal (2012).
In the series, John Doe doesn't remember his childhood—his earliest memories are from when he was in a car accident as a child. In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), the John Doe character also has amnesia. The main difference here is that in Black, he had an entire adult life and discovers that he used to be an undercover FBI agent.
Evelin, which is John's original car in the series, is a 2002 Subaru WRX. It has no equivalent in the games.
In the series, Raven is the villainous leader of New San Francisco. In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Raven is a teenage girl who enters the tournament to avenge her best friend Kelly, who drowned when bullies threw her into the water. She drives the Shadow car in the game.
The bar where Raven meets John is called Kelly's, a clear reference to her deceased friend.
This shot from the final episode, where we see Raven sewing a doll, is a reference to her ending in Twisted Metal: Black (2001), where she uses a voodoo doll to torment and eventually kill Kelly's bullies.
In the series, the Shadow car is not driven by Raven. Instead, it is driven by new character Quiet and her brother Loud.
In the series, Agent Stone is a crazed mall cop who dishes out a twisted brand of justice to the outsiders he pulls over. In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), he is a virtuous man, who feels deep guilt and shame for killing a child in a raid gone wrong. In both timelines, he drives the Outlaw car.
The police chief that Agent Stone mentions during his monologue to Quiet is a real person. His name is William Bratton, and he served two terms as New York City's police commissioner. He is the current Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Stone's lackey in the series is based on Agent Shepard, who drives the Crimson Fury car in Twisted Metal: Head-On (2005). In the game, he is a principled federal agent who enters the tournament to bring Calypso to justice.
In the series, the two cops who obey Agent Stone are Carl and Jamie Roberts. They are the first two drivers for the Outlaw car in Twisted Metal (1995) and Twisted Metal 2 (1996), respectively.
The color scheme and style of the maps that John retrieves from the Mapmaker recalls the Green Book travel guide--a real-life book that helped keep black travelers safe in the mid-1900s by cautioning readers against sundown towns and other unsafe locations.
When Evelin stalls on the road, John Doe inputs the invincibility code from Twisted Metal 2 (1996) to get her moving again.
The Peacock series gives Sweet Tooth his classic ice cream truck. In Twisted Metal (2012), the bobblehead on top detaches and can be used as a flaming homing missile.
Sweet Tooth is brought to life by two actors. Will Arnett performs the voice, and professional wrestler Samoa Joe performs the body and movement.
We see that Sweet Tooth used to be a resident of Blackfield Asylum, and his real name is M. Kane. In Twisted Metal: Black, Calypso recruits all of his contestants from Blackfield Asylum. In Twisted Metal (2012), we learn that Marcus Kane is the former name that Sweet Tooth used before he became a serial killer, after which he began calling himself Needles.
Sweet Tooth's best friend is Harold, a brown paper bag. It's bizarre, but it is actually taken directly from the original game, in which Sweet Tooth requests Harold from Calypso after winning his tournament.
Sweet Tooth's white checkered suit that he wears to his "show" is based on his costume in Twisted Metal III (1998).
One of the best jokes in the second episode is when John Doe and Sweet Tooth share their mutual appreciation for Sisqo's "The Thong Song," and Unleash the Dragon (1999), Sisqo's solo debut album. "Unleash the Dragon" shipped over 5 million copies within four years of its initial release.
The RC cars outside of Radioshack during the Agent Stone flashback are a reference to Twisted Metal: Small Brawl (2001), a more family-friendly version of Twisted Metal that pits remote-controlled cars against one another instead of real cars.
In the series, Agent Stone accidentally kills a child, and a bloody teddy bear implies what happened instead of showing us the body. Twisted Metal: Black (2001) uses the same visual motif of a bloody teddy bear when Agent Stone accidentally shoots a child during a botched raid.
Mike and Stu are two of Agent Stone's failed lackeys in the series. In the game, they are the drivers for the monster truck called Hammerhead in Twisted Metal 2 (1996).
Agent Stone agrees to meet Quiet at the Thrills and Spills Adventure Park, which is also a deathmatch level in Twisted Metal (2012).
John Doe refers to the nuclear Watykins lightning that habitually strikes the eastern United States. This is also a reference to Watykins Harbor, one of the levels in Twisted Metal (2012).
The movie that John and Quiet watch in the movie theater is Blankman, a Wayans comedy starring Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier that opened in 1994.
Quiet professes her fondness for mid-90s boy band Hanson, and she singles out Track 2 of their album Middle of Nowhere as being particularly catchy. Track 2 is "MMMBop," which hit #1 on the Billboard charts in the United States.
Amanda Watts is the resident gearhead and de facto leader of the truck caravan in the series. In the game, Watts is a thrillseeker who's on a constant search for a faster ride. She drives the Twister car in Twisted Metal 2 (1996).
We see the Twister car under a tarp, and Watts drives the car herself at the climax of the season finale. It is an IndyCar-styled race car with open wheels.
John gets sent on an errand to see Amber Rose, who grows medicinal plants and poisons. In Twisted Metal III (1998), Amber Rose is an activist who enters the tournament to end it and stop its negative impact on the environment. She drives the Flower Power car.
We can see the Flower Power car in the background of this shot. It is an old-fashioned Beetle, circa 1960's.
Granny is one of the founders and "old timers" of the truck caravan. She is the driver of monster truck Hammerhead in Twisted Metal III (1998).
The slow-motion sequence where Sweet Tooth and his followers take over one of Stone's outposts to the sound of classical music is inspired by a similar sequence in Stanley Kubrick's dystopian film A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The flashback to Sweet Tooth's childhood reveals that his father was a taxi cab driver. This is a reference to Charlie Kane, who drove the taxi cab Yellow Jacket in Twisted Metal (1995). In Twisted Metal: Black, Charlie is retconned to be Sweet Tooth's father.
There's a "blink and you'll miss 'em" run of characters at the milkman pit stop. First up is Simon Whittlebone aka Mr. Slam, who drives a massive front loader in Twisted Metal 2 (1996) and numerous sequels.
Conner Nazang, nicknamed Pizza Boy, appears in Twisted Metal 4 (1999), and his special attack is a homing pizza saw blade.
Dennis Flanders, nicknamed Petunia, drives the Drag Queen vehicle in Twisted Metal 4 (1999). The vehicle's special attack is a flamethrower.
Angela Fortin, nicknamed Pit Viper, is a character in Twisted Metal (1995). Her special attack is a green acid slime.
And lastly we see Blood Mary, John Doe's former girlfriend. In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Bloody Mary is an insane, murderous bride who wants to get married at any cost. She drives the Spectre car.
Preacher makes a late appearance in the series as the leader of the Holy Men motorcycle gang. In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Preacher is a fraud who believes he was possessed by a demon during an attempted exorcism, and he curses Sweet Tooth with eternal flames on his head during his execution. He drives the Brimstone car.
The Zorko Auto Bros. Salvage that we see during John's flashback is a reference to the Junkyard level of Twisted Metal: Black (2001).
The vulture who robs Quiet says that his wife couldn't resist the "blue crystal" that killed her, a reference to the chemically pure meth that Walter White concocted in the AMC drama Breaking Bad.
John argues with Quiet about Roadkill's Weapons, Armor, Speed, and Handling. If you substitute "Weapons" for "Special," which is essentially the same thing, these are the same statistical measurements that nearly every game in the Twisted Metal franchise uses to rank its vehicles.
The Roadkill vehicle, which Quiet and John build together, is John Doe's vehicle in Twisted Metal: Black (2001). Its special attack is a cluster of missiles, fired in rapid succession.
During the final car battle in the season finale, we see Darkside, a massive black truck that made its debut in Twisted Metal (1995).
The Outlaw vehicle that Agent Stone drives is a police SUV that made its debut in Twisted Metal: Black (2001). It has a gun turret on its roof, which is also the vehicle's special attack in the game.
In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Sweet Tooth's flaming head is due to a supernatural curse that Preacher places on him during his execution. But in the series, the flames are DIY; Sweet Tooth squirts lighter fluid on his head and commands Stu to set him on fire.
There are multiple teasers for additional characters; should Twisted Metal be greenlit for a second season on Peacock, it seems we're going to get a massive car tournament organized by Calypso himself. We see a photo of what looks like Axel, who made his debut in Twisted Metal 2 (1996). In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Axel enters the tournament to avenge his wife's death at the hands of Sweet Tooth.
We also see a photo of Mr. Grimm, the nimble motorcyclist with perfect handling but terrible armor, who made his debut in Twisted Metal (1995). In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Grimm is a war veteran who is forced to eat his friend's corpse to survive.
At the end of the season, Quiet runs into Dollface and her gang, and Dollface claims that John is her brother. In Twisted Metal: Black (2001), Dollface is an abused mental patient whose face is locked behind a heavy mask. She enters the tournament to acquire the key to free herself.
There is a single mid-credits sequence where it's revealed that Sweet Tooth is not dead, even after Mike and Stu shot him and rammed him with their car earlier in the episode. Sweet Tooth appears to butcher Mike before dragging Stu off into the woods.Warning: The following contains spoilers for the new Twisted Metal series on Peacock. If you haven't seen it yet, steer clear.