As this is the conclusion of the unofficial Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, the characters are seen eating peppermint with chocolate chip ice-cream - as what the Cornetto green wrapper represents. According to Edgar Wright, green represents science fiction and extraterrestrial elements, which is the main motif in the film. For Wright's other films, Shaun of The Dead, it was red / strawberry flavor, symbolizing blood and zombies while the second part, Hot Fuzz, it was blue/ vanilla symbolizing the police.
The girl sitting next to Gary in the opening group therapy scene is played by Nicola Cunningham, who had previously appeared in Shaun of the Dead (2004) as "Bloody" Mary (the zombie girl who shows up in Shaun and Ed's garden).
All of the parking lots in Newton Haven (with the exception of side streets that the shot passes on) are populated with Vauxhall Amperas in different colors foreshadowing the underlying uniformity that is affecting the town. Also the Vauxhall Ampera is a plug-in electric car which is another reference to the robots.
Early in the film when Oliver is on the phone with his sister Sam he teasingly asks "You get lost on the ring road again?" Much later in the film she says she is late because she got lost on the ring road.
In addition to references to the movies The Thing (1982) and The Stepford Wives (1975) (see Connections section), Edgar Wright credits the posters for these movies as inspiration. Though it does not appear in the actual film it promotes, the image of the man standing and his head is lit up, obscuring his appearance, from the poster for The Thing led to Wright's idea that the blanks have their faces light up. On the poster for the original The Stepford Wives, Katharine Ross's head lies shattered on the floor, like a Christmas bauble or an Easter egg. This inspired Wright to have the blanks' heads be very breakable.
The irony of a pub crawl in Letchworth is that until 1995, the town (designed by Ebenezer Howard) only had 4 pubs and 2 hotel bars, which for a British town of 30,000 is incredibly low. Even now, and with a 2011 population of just over 37,000, has only 7 and a single hotel bar.
The film progresses through three increasingly larger negative formats: The opening flashback footage is standard 16mm, from then up until the robots appear it's 3-perf Super 35, and from then it's 4-perf Panavision anamorphic until the ending scenes, which switch back to Super 35.
The Majority of the film was shot in Letchworth Garden City, with some extra filming taking place in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. With many of the local pubs being used like "The Tavern", "The Collonade", and "The Three Magnets". The actual pub named "THE WORLDS END" in the movie is actually a pub called "The Gardeners Arms" located on Wilbury Hills Road Letchworth Garden City Herts. Other Places used in filming include the Broadway cinema that was renamed "The Mermaid" and Letchworth Train Station that was renamed "The Hole In The Wall".
At the first pub, after Gary is mocking Andy for drinking water. Andy replies by saying "There's nothing 'ooh ducky' about being teetotal, about walking into a pub after a rugby match and ordering a tap water at a bar packed full of big ugly bastards wearing warpaint. That, my friend, takes confidence, yeah? I'm talking balls." Gary does exactly this at the end of the movie.
In the scene where he beats up the Blank of the school bully, Pete (Eddie Marsan) grabs a branch off a tree and starts repeatedly smacking him on the back, almost identically to a famous scene performed by John Cleese in Fawlty Towers (1975). Darren Boyd, who plays the school bully, has previously played Cleese in the BBC comedy Holy Flying Circus (2011)
The bartenders ("publicans") of the first two bars are, by complete coincidence, real life cousins Teddy Kempner and Mark Kempner, who hadn't seen in each other in years until they were reunited at the audition, according to director Edgar Wright.
The movie has two BBC Radio references, appearing right near the beginning of the film. The first is part of the fast-talking introduction to "It's That Man Again" (ITMA), starring Tommy Handley, a comedy show which buoyed up British morale during the worst of WWII. The show was well-known for its rapid-fire delivery. This is perhaps to set up the character of Gary King as a glib, charismatic, persuasive leader-type. This is followed almost immediately by the soothing narrator who told stories to mums and their toddlers in the late 50s on "Listen With Mother": 'Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.' This is possibly just a jokey way of saying, 'Now that we've introduced Gary, here's a story about him.'
The pubs used in the film were renamed. In Welwyn Garden City, The Cork was temporarily The Famous Cock. The Parkway Bar was renamed The Cross Hands. The Doctors Tonic became The Old Familiar and The Peartree was transformed into The First Post.
After the fight in the bathroom, when the guys try to place calls, the "your call cannot be connected" messages they hear are voiced by Bill Nighy. The barely audible voice on the phone in the Trusty Servant speaking to the Reverend Green is also Bill Nighy, and when the blank of Adrian Keane approaches Sam in the club, his line is voiced by Bill Nighy as well.
When Sam joins the boys at The Old Familiar, everyone stands to greet her except for Gary. This alludes to their medieval names (King, Knight[ley], Page, Chamberlain, Prince) where everyone in the king's court would rise to greet a visitor except for the king himself.
The appearance of Gary and the four blanks at the end of the movie, when they are approaching the Rising Sun, is a reference to the Fields of the Nephilim, another seminal goth band from the 1980s (besides the Sisters of Mercy) whose image has always been that of dusty, post-apocalyptic cowboys.
The move Gary uses which decapitates the first blank in the bathroom of The Cross Hands is called a rock bottom, perfected by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which is ironic/fitting since Gary is arguably at rock bottom in his life.
Andrew Knighley's law firm is called "Beckingham, Davies & Knightley LLC". "Beckingham" is the last name of main actor Simon Pegg (Pegg is a shortening), "Davies" is most likely a change on the name "Davis" which is the last name of the actress "Lucy Davis" who played Dianne in "Shaun of the Dead" (the first installment in The Cornetto Trilogy).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Each of the names of the 12 pubs featured in the movie foreshadow events that take place there. The first pub they visit is 'The First Post'; The interior of 'The Old Familiar' is exactly the same as 'The First Post'; Gary King is finally recognized as the banned teenager in 'The Famous Cock'; they get into a fight at 'The Cross Hands'; The guys all drink in unison at the "Good companion" the drug dealer Reverend Green is met in 'The Trusted Servant'; the bitchy twins are met in 'The Two-Headed Dog'; at 'The Mermaid', the characters are tempted to their downfall by beautiful women; the characters fight off swarms of enemies at 'The Beehive'; at 'The King's Head', Gary King makes a last stand and decides to continue his journey without anyone else's help; a car is driven through 'The Hole in the Wall', leaving a hole in the wall and the events that transpire at 'The World's End' lead to the end of the world.
Aside from the appearance of a Cornetto ice cream cone, a uniting theme of the three movies in the Cornetto Trilogy is a gag where one character tries to hop over a fence, only for it to collapse under him. In this movie it occurs when King is trying to outrun the blanks on his own.
Toward the beginning of the film, just before the gang arrives in Newton Haven, Gary King states that "There should have been Five Musketeers. That way, two could've died, and there'd still be three left." This foreshadows the deaths of O-Man and Peter.
Look closely at the decor of each one of the pubs. The 'number' of the pub (according to the order it is visited in The Golden Mile) will appear prominently somewhere on a chalkboard or sign within it, or on the table that Gary and the group are sitting at.
Edgar Wright admitted that a lot of thought went into the costumes of the characters. Some of the clothes foreshadow what happens to the characters in the film: Peter and Oliver wear blue, foreshadowing that they will become Blanks, and both Steven and Sam wear red, foreshadowing that they will become a couple. Gary dresses in the same outfit as his teenage self as an homage to a way a soldier might 'suit up' before going into battle or committing suicide.
When the town is first seen from the top of the hill as the characters drive past, Gary King remarks that they should get a good look at the colors, because they're going to paint the town red. At the end of the movie, this shot is mirrored, with the town on fire and glowing red.
Gary King is adorned by merchandise for Sisters of Mercy, a seminal goth band from the 80s. His post-apocalyptic cowboy attire closely resembles attire worn by Andrew Eldritch, the lead singer of the Sisters of Mercy, in their music video for "Black Planet".
Each movie in the "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" features a different flavor of Cornetto. There is a red Cornetto in Shaun of the Dead and a blue one in Hot Fuzz. The final Cornetto makes its appearance here during the epilogue, when Andy says he does not miss processed foods. A green Cornetto wrapper then blows into the fence in front of him, and he follows it longingly with is gaze as it drifts away.
The dialogue heard at the close of the prologue ("We wanna be free...") is part of Primal Scream's song "Loaded" (which is itself sampled from The Wild Angels (1966)). Gary later quotes the same dialogue to The Network.
Peasants in the Czech lands (at the time a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) who revolted against rich landowners in the late 19th century were called "robotniks," derived from the Czech words for "work" and "forced labor" and an older Slavic term for "slave."
Gary mentions the "knife game" from Aliens (1986), a scene in which it is revealed that Bishop (Lance Henriksen is a robot. In the previous film, Alien (1979), Ash (Ian Holm) is revealed to be a robot. In this film, Oliver (Martin Freeman) is revealed to be a robot. Holm and Freeman have both played Bilbo Baggins.
The fictional town of Newton Haven was filmed primarily in a town called Letchworth, the home of the UK's first roundabout and a sign for said landmark can be seen for a split second during the climax of the movie as Sam is driving away from the blast wave after the explosion at The World's End.
Early in the film, when it's flashing through all of the characters as adults, we see Peter reading a newspaper with the front page story's headline reading "New Survey Suggests Happier Britain." This is a foreshadowing to the widespread of The Network's control.
Across the town, several depictions of the Network apparition can be seen: the face of the statue is five slits across the head; there are several drapes throughout the scene getting to the tenth pub show the five lines. Also, after entering pub 12, two signs saying "welcome, join our club" in reference to the intentions of the network.