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All the Connections to ‘Searching’ You Might Have Missed

Feb 10, 2023


As though making a feature film with a traditionally formatted narrative isn’t difficult enough, the team behind Missing and Searching embraces the screen thriller format, which demands extreme attention to detail so that every corner of their protagonist’s computer screen, phone screen, etc. feels authentic. But the filmmakers don’t stop there.

While taking on that gargantuan task, producers Sev Ohanian, Natalie Qasabian, Aneesh Chaganty (director of Searching), and directors Will Merrick and Nicholas D. Johnson (editors of Searching) packed Missing to the brim with all sorts of Easter eggs, many of which directly connect to things we see and experience in Searching.

We’ve already told you about the alien invasion subplot that runs throughout Searching and continues in Missing as well as the in-world Netflix true crime series, Unfiction, which covers the Margot Kim (Michelle La) disappearance. Those are two pretty substantial Easter eggs right there, but there’s so much more than that and Ohanian took the time to run us through a bunch of them.

Image via Sony

Before getting into the specifics, Ohanian discussed the team’s top priorities when incorporating Easter eggs into their main narratives. He began:

“One of the biggest rules that we have as far as Easter eggs are concerned is to make sure we reward rewatchability, or to reward a good rewatch. We want to make sure with these movies, with any movie, if you ever want to watch the movie again now that you know the ending, what the twist is going to be, and you can kind of catch and see all the foreshadowing that you missed the first time, we want to make sure that there’s a little treat for you, that any time you pause the movie, you might see an entire new story on the side that you never imagined. So for us, one of the big dos is to make sure that Easter eggs are meaningful. The key ‘do not’ is to not make them distracting.”

Not only did Ohanian and co. do just that with their Easter eggs in Missing — craft a film that makes for a very rewarding repeat watch while never letting those hidden surprises become distracting — but they also used those Easter eggs in a way to enhance Missing’s main narrative. Ohanian explained:

“When we were writing Missing and developing the story, we found ourselves in this trap of like, ‘Well, we’re just doing Searching all over again.’ We can’t make the same movie, and we had a eureka moment, which was to treat this movie like a remix of Searching. So things happen in this movie that also happen in Searching, but they kind of happen at different points and with different results.”

What exactly are those things? Ohanian admitted he didn’t tell us all of them, because there’s a lot, but he did reveal a significant amount of Missing/Searching connections that function as thematic enhancements and also as fun little in-world details for fans to discover.

Image via Screen Gems

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Missing, Searching & Run.]Here’s a list of connections to Searching that you can find in Missing as explained by Ohanian:

Opening Home Video
“Missing opens with a home video of a family and something tragic happens. One of the parents, as far as we know, dies of a tragic disease, and we see the effects of what happens when someone grows up that way. Searching also opened in the exact same way. So with Missing, it was kind of remixing that same opening tragic montage of Searching, but having a subversion in that the dad’s not actually dead.”

Parent/Child Text Messaging
“Both movies treat a text message between a parent and child in a very emotional way. In Searching, the dad is not able to text his daughter about his wife and her mother, and in [Missing], the daughter just gives the unsympathetic thumbs up. And both of those come back in the epilogue in a really sweet way.”

Videos of Lost Loved Ones
“Both Searching and Missing have a scene early on where the protagonist is watching a video of their dead family member. David Kim (John Cho) in Searching sees a video of his wife Pam (Sara Sohn) cooking, and then he’s so sad and tragically looking at that. In Missing​​​​​​, the daughter, June (Storm Reid), looks at a video of her dad (Tim Griffin). But in Searching, the first thing that David does is he clicks ‘hide from search results.’ He doesn’t want to address that wound. And in Missing, she types a post that says, ‘Wish you were here,’ which obviously has crazy foreshadowing if you think about what ends up happening at the end of the movie.”

Image via Screen Gems

Law Enforcement
“Both movies have a scene when a professional law enforcement officer gets involved. With Searching, David calls Detective Vick (Debra Messing), and he looks her up as well, and the first time she’s like, ‘I’m gonna help you with this case.’ In Missing, [June] speaks to Agent Park (Daniel Henney), the FBI lead guy, and it’s the same deal, but actually, it’s subverted in that he’s actually not going to be the sidekick this time.”

“In both movies early on, the protagonist realizes that they have a way they can actually find their missing family member. David Kim sees the picture of the laptop that Margot left at home, and in Missing she sees the picture of her mom’s laptop, except this time, again, the subversion is she doesn’t have access to that laptop.”

Protagonist From Another POV
“Both movies have a sequence very much like A Christmas Carol … So they both have the similar sequence where in Searching, David discovers Margot’s YouCast where it’s her video blog and he’s kind of going back in time and seeing her. And at one point, he even sees himself from her POV, where in one of the videos, he enters the room and he sees himself and how they act and how he made her so upset. In Missing​​​​​​, we have a similar beat, except this time it’s looking at her mom’s dating profile, and it’s being able to see all these videos, and at one point she also sees herself.”

Heart-to-Hearts
“Both movies have what we call this midpoint campfire scene, where the protagonist and the sidekick have a heart-to-heart. And in Searching, that’s when Detective Vick tries to make David feel at ease by telling him a story about her own son and how he used to get into trouble, and she would always try and help him out. And at the end of the movie, we find out that that was foreshadowing and that he was really the bad guy. In Missing​​​​​​, Javi (Joaquim de Almeida), everyone’s favorite character, he talks about how distant he is with his own son, but this time, there is no subversion. This time, it’s actually earnest.”

Game-Changing Clues
“There’s a lot of twists in both movies, but the biggest twist in Searching is the realization that Detective Vick is a bad guy. And one of the ways that is on screen is when David is comparing the old photo of fish_n_chips to the new photo of fish_n_chips and realizes something’s fishy. In [Missing], we kind of repeat that exact same moment at the end of the movie when she’s gone into her mom’s account and sees that the place that the bad guy is probably holding her mom is exactly where she grew up.”

Hidden Cameras
“In Searching, David realizes that his brother is probably involved, and the way he’s gonna try to get him in the act is by recording him confessing. And we see he’s gone and he’s planted all these secret cameras in his brother’s apartment and it leads to this big whatever. In Missing, she has the same idea, but this time she uses the watch. But instead of it leading to a big confrontation, the subversion is when she gets into the office, Heather’s (Amy Landecker) already dead.”

Image via Screen Gems

Abigail Nielsen
“Abigail Nielsen (Briana McLean) was a fun character in Searching, Abby. That was the friend that Margot was supposed to be at her study group [with]. And when David asked her, ‘What’s going on with my daughter?’ She was like, ‘I don’t know. We weren’t really that close.’ But once Margot’s case becomes a big deal, she’s out there saying, ‘She was my best friend,’ and trying to get all the credit and trying to go viral. In Missing, we actually see Abby twice.”

You can catch a glimpse of Abigail when the public learns that Rachel Page (Lauren B. Mosley) is posing as Grace (Nia Long). Ohanian added, “It kind of makes sense that she’s gone on to become a gossip BuzzFeed kind of person.”

Hockey
“In Searching, David’s brother, Peter (Joseph Lee), was a big hockey fan, and he was a big fan of the San Jose Fins. We were trying to do the San Jose Sharks, but we kind of weren’t allowed to do the San Jose Sharks, so we made up the fake one.”

You can see the Fins in Missing when June is reading an article titled, “How to Throw a Rager … On a Budget.” There’s an advertisement to the right that says Game 6: Fins vs. Notes.

AppEnsure
“In Searching, David was working for a company called AppEnsure, which, fun fact, is actually Aneesh’s parents’ company, and we have a really fun little Easter egg in this one. All of the emails that June goes through, every single one of them pretty much has a really fun [Easter egg]. So once she gets into Kevin’s (Ken Leung) email account, all of these emails are pretty much like goldmines for Easter eggs.”

Image Via Sony Pictures Releasing

Sunny Daze
“This is an email that Kevin got from a weed delivery service, Sunny Daze. But if you look below and see who is this founder and CEO, it’s Peter Kim, who was David’s brother from Searching, who most famously gave Margot weed. So it’s fun that he’s expanded that business in a really commercial way.”

More fish_n_chips
“Another favorite Easter egg of mine is she has Javi going all over town trying to find out where’s this hardware store that they supposedly went to and what exactly happened in there. And we find out exactly where their hardware store is right here … So if you look at the hardware store ad behind him, that’s fish_n_chips, the famous stock photo image. So even in Colombia, we could see her. She’s still doing business and getting around.”

Hannah Couch
“This is an Easter egg of an Easter egg, so it’s kind of crazy, but in Searching, if you’ve really paid attention to that movie, we saw that there were texts that David was getting from a woman named Hannah Couch who said, ‘It was such a lovely time having dinner with you last week,’ and she’s always following up trying to get another date. And if you look at Kevin’s dating profile, we can see Hannah Couch is also pursuing him. So she’s still unlucky in love, but trying.”

Last Night Was Fun
“In Searching, David saw a text from Margot to Peter saying, ‘Last night was fun,’ and it horrified him because the implications began from right there.” Ohanian continued by highlighting the use of this same line in Missing; “During the middle of this dating montage, at one point, we see Grace say, ‘Last night was fun.’ It’s such a minor line, but that was a huge line in Searching.”

Hollywood Producer Charged
“In Searching there was a good Easter egg that showed a little news ticker that said, ‘Hollywood producer charged with …’” That thread continues in Missing with, ‘Hollywood producer charged with the murder of film editor.'” Ohanian laughed and further explained, “We had that same news ticker in Searching, and over here [it] says, I lost my appeal. So basically in Searching, I had a really fun relationship with Will, one of the editors, where we’d always joke about how one day I’m gonna kill him, and they put it in the movie. Now, unfortunately, thanks to them, I lost that appeal.”

Thomas Barbusca
“In Searching when David was on YouCast, he stumbled upon this kid who was doing a whole YouCast, ‘Hey guys, like, subscribe,’ or whatever. It’s that same kid right here played by Thomas Barbusca. So it’s the same guy playing the same role. Now he’s on TikTok, of course.”

Image via Sony

Roy Abramsohn
“We also have a returning newscaster … Roy Abramsohn is the actor who plays this newscaster. He was also in Searching as a newscaster. Roy, by the way, when Aneesh and I were first coming up with the idea for Searching, we shot a three-minute proof of concept short and we cast Roy to play David in that. So it was our way of always wanting to have him come back and be part of that.”

Derek Ellis
“In Searching, there was a character named Derek Ellis who was kind of that little douchebag punk kid who was posting about Margot being like, ‘Oh, she’s fine. I want to smash,’ and then David goes to the movie theater and he punches him if you remember, and they get into that big brawl. So that was a guy named Derek Ellis. If you blink or miss, you might see that he’s actually in this movie, too. If you look at the bottom, same guy. “For real #GraceAllen is hella fine… She can go missing in my bed any time she wants Imao.” And both movies have him with a profile picture smoking.”

#BraveShave Challenge
“In Searching, in the YouCast section when David’s looking at those videos, there’s a quick clip of two guys. One of them shaving the other guy’s head, and that was Will and Nick, the editors of Searching. Nick shaving Will’s head. And in this movie, if you see, it says, ‘#BraveShave Challenge Raises $100K.’ This time, Will is shaving Nick’s head.”

Image via Hulu

Run Connections
Ohanian primarily kept the focus on the Searching/Missing connections, but he did leave us with a couple of ties to his 2020 film, Run:

“If you look at the news ticker here, the left one is about, again, the Green Angel storyline, but if you look at that one, ‘Manhunt still underway for runaway from Belfair Corrections Center for Women.’ If you remember, the ending of Run is where Sarah Paulson was at that Belfair Correction Center for Women. So this is implying that maybe something else happened there.”

Ohanian pinpointed a second Run reference in Missing that came straight from Merrick and Johnson; “At one point we have this really fun emotional flashback of what [really] happened to Grace and her husband. And this is all set very much in the past. This is once she found a way to get him to prison. If you look at this bottom right one, it says, ‘Stockton family mourns missing daughter’s 6th birthday, bring her home,’ and that’s a reference to the twist in Run, which is that Chloe (Kiera Allen) was actually kidnapped from her parents.”

The Best Easter Egg of All
While all the Easter eggs covered thus far are extremely clever and effective, none are more heartwarming than the one Ohanian saved for last. He scrubbed to a frame that included a sonogram photo and explained, “My personal favorite Easter egg is this bottom one that says, ‘Research suggests pregnant women who watch mystery films…,’ because that is actually mine and Natalie [Qasabian]’s baby.” Ohanian added, “We were like, why not? And the sad thing is, we have releases from every single person that’s in these movies. We don’t have a release yet from that little guy. So hopefully they don’t hate us.”

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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