(SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD) Sure, superheroes exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but thanks to a couple of lines in the Eternals, costumed do-gooders from Marvel Comics competitor DC are apparently also a thing.
There’s a line in the yet-to-be released film that acknowledges for the first time that regular people in the MCU are aware of Superman and Batman, and that’s because of Eternals‘ Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao. “I take responsibility of that,” she tells Variety.
At one point in the movie, a young character recognizes Richard Madden‘s Ikaris from seeing in action, and exclaims, “That’s Superman!…With the cape, and you were shooting laser beams out of your eyes!”
Ikaris then winks, “I don’t wear a cape.”
Another scene has Don Lee‘s Gilgamesh referring to the butler of Kumail Nanjiani‘s Kingo as “Alfred,” who is, of course, the keeper of the Caped Crusader’s secrets.
While the reveals blew fans’ minds, Zhao explains to Variety how the multiverse-shaking name-drops came to be. “We’re playing on a genre that draws so much from mythology, and Superman, for example, was created in the comics and also by these brilliant filmmakers along the way — they’re modern reinterpretations of a mythical characters that exist in different cultures.”
She says, “Ikaris is our interpretation of it. It doesn’t mean we can’t pay tribute to the really iconic version that we’ve all grown to love and has influenced us.”
The unprecedented references obviously got the blessing of Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige. “I don’t think there was a conversation…except, he goes, ‘Oh, that’s cool,’” Zhao says.
Eternals hits theaters November 5.
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