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Disney+ Is Apparently Wildly Popular In Utah, But Not These Other States

The release of Disney+ has easily been one of the most talked about events in the entertainment industry this year. It’s driven plenty of conversation on social media platforms, as well as countless think pieces about the future of streaming. And according to Google, interest in Disney+ differed across the country. The new streaming platform was super popular in Utah — but a few other states didn’t seem to be very interested.

Google Trends logs and aggregates the number of searches performed on Google for a specific topic. They’re usually a good indicator of interest during a certain time period, and in a certain area. Interest is measured up to 100 percent — meaning that the topics (or areas) with the most interest are scored at 100, and every other score is calculated in relation to that. examined Google search trends around Disney’s new streaming service between November 2018 and November 2019 — the year leading up to its release. They drilled down by state, and the Beehive State easily emerged as a hotbed for interest in Disney+. Idaho came in second, with 73 percent in comparison to Utah’s 100 percent, and Wyoming rounded out the top three with a comparative 70 percent interest.

This data showed that, depending on what state you live in, search interest in Disney+ varied widely. Many states, including California and much of the midwest, fell somewhere in the 50 to 60 percent interest range. New York was within the bottom three, logging 41 percent interest, followed by Vermont at 38 percent. And the District of Columbia showed the overall least amount of interest in Disney+, with just 33 percent (to be fair, there has been plenty of other stuff to keep D.C. occupied these days). Check the chart for a general look at your state.

One thing Google Trends doesn’t reveal is what searchers clicked on after they searched. Users could have been looking for information about what Disney+ is, what kind of content it would include, or how to subscribe. (You can get a free 7-day trial here.) Thus far, the streaming service has netted more than 10 million subscribers. Since Disney hasn’t offered a breakdown of where those subscribers live, it’s impossible to know whether Google Trends was an accurate measure of true interest in the platform overall.

Disney+’s rollout hasn’t been perfect — but they seem to have managed to capture viewers’ interest. Subscriptions currently run at an enticing $6.99 per month, though data indicates that users would not continue with the service if prices dramatically increased. It’s distinguished itself in a wide field of streaming platforms by offering new original content for beloved franchises like Star Wars and the MCU, as well as countless titles that appeal to our sense of nostalgia. There’s no word yet on which titles Utahians have streamed the most.

Why Knives Out Needed Big Names Like Chris Evans And Daniel Craig, According To Rian Johnson

Knives Out has a major cast to back its tight whodunit script. This includes major names like Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, oh yeah, and throwing in Frank Oz and Christopher Plummer for funsies. Apparently, the cast is so stacked by design, as director Rian Johnson revealed during a recent podcast interview.

The director of Knives Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Looper has built enough of a resume and worked with enough big names that he shouldn’t have too much trouble hiring for new movies; however, there’s a difference between an ensemble movie with a few big names and Knives Out, which is absolutely jam-packed with them.

The reason the director did this was because he was looking at the whodunits he grew up with and how they chose to do things. He said:

Speaking on the Filmmaker Toolkit podcast, Rian Johnson talked about crafting Knives Out in a way that paid homage to what came before. He also said it was an “essential part” of the movie for the audience to recognize that, “this is a whodunit murder mystery with all the rules that apply to that.” One of the major ingredients or to this genre is that sort of on-screen presence.

There’s also that old TV factor of where if there is only one big name in a whodunit that big name is often a bad guy. I’ve seen episodes of Law & Order before. A big, well-known cast keeps people guessing.

It’s not easy to get that many a-list names together for a movie, a process that people related to Downton Abbey have spoken out about in recent months related to that film and the prospect of a sequel. Yet, Rian Johnson also revealed his movie shot very quickly, which means that all of the puzzle pieces (aka major players) who needed to be there for scenes were available and ready to move forward.

Basically, he didn’t have to compromise his vision due to scheduling in any way.

What this resulted in was a satisfying movie that was made on a middling budget and has already made over $82 million worldwide at the time of this writing. Would it have worked with a smaller cast or a lower budget? Probably. But the star power plus a good script is part of what makes Knives Out so fun and what has made it competitive at the box office in recent days.

Knives Out is currently in theaters and will still be competing some more at the box office as we head into this stretch of the holiday season, which will add the likes of Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to theaters. Give our full guide to what’s coming this holiday season a look.

George Miller Has A Really Thoughtful Take On Superhero Movies As Cinema

This year, fans and filmmakers alike have argued over what defines a cinematic experience — and as to whether or not superhero movies can be considered cinema. The latter question, in particular, has inspired a contentious debate, with prominent directors weighing in. Now George Miller has offered his opinion on the matter — and his thoughtful perspective is worth considering.

In an interview with Deadline, the Mad Max director defended blockbuster franchises, like Star Wars and comic book films. Seemingly in response to the ongoing conversation about these movies’ validity, he said:

This introspective approach to the debate feels refreshing, and seems to acknowledge that even within these genres, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether a movie is “good” or “bad.” He went on to argue that this debate is far more complicated than many people seem to think:

Earlier this year, Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies are more like amusement parks than movies, and shouldn’t be considered cinema. The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola later echoed his sentiments. Many voices from the MCU, including James Gunn and Kevin Feige, have since defended the genre. But George Miller is one of the first filmmakers outside of the genre to lend his voice in support of comic book movies. His nuanced opinion is a much-needed reminder that this conversation, like the films themselves, has the potential to be deeper than many may have originally thought. It’s likely he won’t have the last word – but we’re glad he weighed in.

Jennifer Lopez Hosted SNL and Changed Into That Versace Dress on Stage

Jennifer Lopez hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend and her opening monologue featured a show-stopping quick-change into that Versace dress that’s basically become her legacy (it’s the updated version she pulled out on a runway earlier this year to remind people of her iconic 2001 Grammys look.) The whole bit was framed around how J.Lo has been having her best year ever—she got engaged to Alex Rodriguez, she had a huge sold-out tour, she starred in Hustlers, and, believe it or not, she turned 50. She was so euphoric she broke out into a Christmas song (complete with a Rockettes kick line) that ended with her tearing off a chic tuxedo and revealing the famed deep-V gown.

J.Lo had a lot to celebrate. “I got what every girl from the Bronx dreams of: proposed to by a Yankee,” she joked during her first few minutes onstage while also listing the success of Hustlers and her recent tour. “And I slayed the Met Gala. And that’s not a brag. A doctor diagnosed it on the spot as a fourth-degree slay.”

But the big moment was when she showed off the dress—a nod to her SNL hosting gig in 2001, which also involved the Versace piece. That year, she’d cracked about how her mom had always told her to be prepared, so she’d worn the gown under a purple bathrobe. There had even been a split-second when Bill Hader tried to pull off the beloved fashion moment.

Jennifer Lopez, Bill Hader, and Jason Sudeikis on the set of Saturday Night Live.

NBC/Getty Images

Donatella Versace shouted J.Lo out on Instagram, posting videos from her 2001 SNL appearance and her taking over the mic this week. “Jennifer on SNL in the original jungle dress in 2001, she is still so beautiful today, who can tell the difference!?” she wrote in the caption of the older clip.

Afterward, J.Lo reflected on all the good stuff that’s happened to her in 2019 and commemorated her hosting gig with a photo. “This year has brought many blessings. @nbcsnl, thanks for being one of them. #TheBestIsYetToCome,” she wrote on Instagram.

You can watch the clip in full from her 2019 opening monologue, below:

What If Colin Trevorrow Had Directed Star Wars: Episode IX?

Colin Trevorrow on Jurassic World

If there is a story behind the story of the Star Wars franchise under Disney, it is one of creative turnover. Writers have been replaced, directors have been fired, and inevitably and undoubtedly, the creative direction of multiple films has been changed. This creative turnover has led to a myriad of ‘What if?’ scenarios centered on the Star Wars talent that ultimately didn’t work out.

One of those names that didn’t work out is director Colin Trevorrow. We are rapidly approaching J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX, but it wasn’t originally intended to be J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX, it was supposed to be Colin Trevorrow’s. Announced as the director of Star Wars: Episode IX in 2015, Trevorrow was later removed from the project and eventually replaced with Abrams. But what if he wasn’t?

When you come to the end of any journey it is a worthwhile exercise to look back and reflect on where you’ve been and ponder the paths not taken. One of those branching paths is Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars: Episode IX. In lieu of a time machine, lets look at what we know, what we don’t and try to imagine where that path would have led.

What if Colin Trevorrow had directed Star Wars: Episode IX?

Why He’s No Longer The Director

Before diving into what Colin Trevorrow’s vision for this trilogy and saga-capper might have been, it’s worth taking a look at how we got to this point, where J.J. Abrams and not Colin Trevorrow is doing press rounds as the director of Star Wars: Episode IX.

Colin Trevorrow made his feature debut in 2012 with the indie flick Safety Not Guaranteed before diving headfirst into the blockbuster realm with Jurassic World. When Colin Trevorrow boarded Episode IX in 2015, he was coming off the massive success of the dino franchise revival earlier that year. But that juice would not carry him to the finish line of the Sequel Trilogy’s closing chapter.

As with all of the talent removed from Star Wars in recent years, the exact reasons for Colin Trevorrow’s exit are opaque, but there are rumors and speculation to sort through. With Colin Trevorrow, there was talk the director’s brash personality impacting things. There were also reports that he simply wasn’t getting the job done in the way Lucasfilm wanted and that he had produced an unsatisfactory script.

When his movie The Book of Henry flopped and was positively lambasted, that seemed to be the equivalent of Palpatine executing Order 66. Whatever the reason, ultimately Colin Trevorrow was fired from Episode IX. But what if he wasn’t?

What Did His Episode IX Look Like?

We don’t know for sure what Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX would have looked like because like most of the directors who have departed Lucasfilm ahead of schedule, he isn’t laying out his vision. Not to mention the fact that we haven’t even seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yet to establish where J.J. Abrams’ vision differed. For his part, Colin Trevorrow has not talked much about it, saying that he doesn’t want the behind-the-scenes creative stuff to detract from the magic of these films.

But a few nuggets about Colin Trevorrow’s vision have slipped out, giving us some small insight into his vision that we can speculate on. First though, Colin Trevorrow has said that Princess Leia was going to be a major character in his Episode IX. But like J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker, even if he would have stayed on as director that would have been changed in some way. Whether he would have handled it the same way J.J. is, we don’t know.

We’ve also known for a while that Colin Trevorrow had Rian Johnson shoot a scene for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to help set up Star Wars: Episode IX, but until recently we didn’t know what that scene was. In an interview with Empire, Colin Trevorrow confirmed that he asked Rian Johnson to include a moment where Rey and Poe meet for the first time, saying that he wanted these two beloved characters to have some history heading into his film.

That makes sense considering that Rey and Poe did not meet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and if there was any sort of time jump for Episode IX that would pick up with Rey and Poe knowing each other, seeing their first meeting would help set that up. The way the scene plays out in The Last Jedi, you could definitely interpret it as setting up a potential romance between the two. Whether that was Colin Trevorrow’s intent or if that’s just the way Rian Johnson directed it, we don’t know.

But considering that this is the one thing Colin Trevorrow asked Rian Johnson to include, we can surmise that Rey and Poe would have had some major interactions in Episode IX, be it a romance, a team-up or something else.

Rey’s Story

Speaking of Rey, another thing we’ve heard about Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars: Episode IX is that actress Daisy Ridley had quite an emotional reaction to it. According to Book of Henry actor Bobby Moynihan, Colin Trevorrow told Daisy Ridley Rey’s fate in his version of Episode IX and upon hearing it she burst into tears.

Whether those were sad tears or happy tears, we don’t know for sure, but it sounds like the director, who was writing the film with co-writer Derek Connolly, had a very emotional end in mind for Rey’s arc. I think it’s safe to say that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will also have an emotional story in for Rey, but it seems unlikely that it’s the same or emotional for the same reasons as Colin Trevorrow’s story.

Earlier this week, there was a rumor that purportedly shed light on Colin Trevorrow’s vision for Episode IX and Rey. In it, Rey’s parents would have been nobodies, as established in The Last Jedi, but Rey and Kylo Ren had a past. Rey’s mother would have been a housemaid and cook in the Solo household and nanny to Ben Solo, so Rey and Ben would have grown up together.

According to the rumor, the film ended with a confrontation between Rey and Kylo in the Solo family home, concluding with, of course, Ben Solo’s redemption. Other details involved Leia dying, but not before getting a lightsaber; red stormtroopers and the First Order erasing memories and brainwashing people. These rumors were so wild that Colin Trevorrow actually spoke up, refuting that any of this was in the script that he and Derek Connolly wrote.

Making Star Wars has since apologized and clarified that these details pertain to the Jack Thorne script for Episode IX that would have been directed by Trevorrow (Jack Thorne was brought in to help with the script before Trevorrow’s exit). So, if true, this is a version of what Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX could have looked like, but not the version and certainly not his preferred one it would seem.

The Emperor Probably Wouldn’t Be Back

Also in his interview with Empire, Colin Trevorrow, who is returning to the Jurassic World franchise to direct 2021’s Jurassic World 3, revealed that bringing back the Emperor was all J.J. Abrams’ idea and it’s something that he never even considered. Colin Trevorrow has admitted that the script for the end of the Skywalker Saga was a tough nut to crack and while it’s possible he would have eventually stumbled upon Sheev, his vision for Episode IX did not include Emperor Palpatine.

This has multiple implications and raises a few questions about Colin Trevorrow’s story for the movie. For one thing, J.J. Abrams has said that looking at the Skywalker Saga as a nine-part story, it would be weird if Palpatine didn’t show up. Whether he had this in mind when he was making The Force Awakens, we don’t know. It certainly seems possible, especially given his favorite Prequel Trilogy scene.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has said that Palpatine’s return was always the plan, it was just a matter of figuring out how to do it. Colin Trevorrow’s comments about the Emperor’s comeback being J.J.’s idea seem to contradict that. If Lucasfilm indeed had an overarching plan for the Emperor to be the final boss, you would think Colin Trevorrow would have been clued in on that when he came aboard to write and direct.

So if Darth Sidious wasn’t in Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars: Episode IX, who would have been the big bad? After the events of The Last Jedi, there would seem to be really only two options. One, Kylo Ren would have ascended and the conflict would have been between his First Order and the Resistance led by Rey. Or two, Supreme Leader Snoke would have returned somehow to give someone for Rey and Kylo to unite against. It’s possible there is a third option, but who is anybody’s guess.

He Still Contributed To The Rise Of Skywalker

Beyond who would have filled the Palpatine-sized hole in Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars: Episode IX, there’s a lot we don’t know. We don’t know what the story would have been or what new characters would have been introduced and how he would have wrapped up the Skywalker Saga. That said, from our current vantage, we don’t really have answers to most of those questions for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker either.

What we do know is that despite being fired as director, Colin Trevorrow is still receiving a “story by” credit for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, along with Derek Connolly and the two brought in to replace them, J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio. Trevorrow is going to donate his residuals from the film, but it would seem that his vision was not erased entirely.

At least some vestige, even a small one, of the story that Colin Trevorrow was working on when he was set to direct Episode IX made it into The Rise of Skywalker. I imagine that the exact story points he contributed, like the answers to most of our ‘What if?’ questions, will remain a mystery.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters on December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of what’s headed your way next year.

More From CinemaBlend


Juice WRLD Dead At 21: Report

Rapper Juice WRLD, one of hip-hop’s rising stars, has died, according to multiple media reports. He was 21. TMZ broke the news that the rapper suffered a seizure in Chicago’s Midway Airport after a flight from Los Angeles early Sunday morning (December 8). He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He recently celebrated his birthday on December 2.

Juice WRLD, born Jarad Anthony Higgins, was on the cusp of becoming a household name. He recorded his first song, “Forever,” in 2015. Over the next couple of years, he began to hone his style, eventually catching attention from G. Herbo and Lil Bibby. Juice WRLD first broke through the mold in 2018 with “All Girls Are The Same,” followed by his breakthrough hit “Lucid Dreams,” a therapeutic song about heartbreak that samples Sting’s “Shape Of My Heart.” The song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100. He dropped his now-platinum debut studio album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, later that year. The success of the LP led to him collaborating with Future on a project, WRLD On Drugs, that also dropped in 2018.

Earlier this year, Juice WRLD returned with his much-hyped sophomore album Death Race For Love, which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart upon its release in March. The rapper also collaborated with some of the biggest names in pop, including Halsey (“Without Me”), Ellie Goulding (“Hate Me”), and BTS (“All Night”), cementing his status as one of the most sought-after young names in the industry. He was on a meteoric rise.

Fans, friends, and collaborators around the world took to social media to pay their respects to the fallen rapper.

Captain Marvel And Avengers: Endgame Top 2019’s Movie Mistakes List

No movie is perfect. Some are a little more imperfect than others. And in one corner of the internet, eagle-eyed fans take the time to painstakingly catalogue the thousands of mistakes, small and large, that make it into the final cut of films. As the year draws to a close, two MCU movies came out on top as having the most errors: Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.

In total, users logged 59 errors in Captain Marvel and 51 in Avengers: Endgame. They ranged from ‘how did they miss this’ obvious to somewhat debatable. Because Captain Marvel takes place in the 1980s and 1990s, a majority of the mistakes centered around factual errors, from the software the characters used to the pop culture they encountered. For example, one user noted that some of the movies visible on the shelf in the Blockbuster that Carol crashes into in 1995 – like Junior and First Knight – were released after the scene takes place. And the internet cafe that Vers visits has computers running Netscape Navigator 4, which didn’t make it to market until 1997.

In Avengers: Endgame, the mistakes primarily seem to be centered around simple continuity issues. Users noted that when Thor talks to Valkyrie at the end of the film, his beard has been trimmed short; then, in the next scene, when he’s arguing with Quill, his beard is longer. The crepe in the breakfast scene goes from being whole, to cut in two, and then back to being whole again. And during the final battle, Ant-Man can be seen in two places at once — in the van, and in his giant form, fighting alongside the other Avengers. is curated by fans who upvote and downvote each entry — and some users took issue with the mistakes that others catalogued. For example, there’s a flashback scene in Captain Marvel in one fan noted that Vers uses a version of Windows 95 that came out several months after the events of Captain Marvel take place. Another user contended that specific version of Windows 95 was available in Beta at the time. And Avengers: Endgame fans debated as to whether or not Thanos’ failure to notice that the stones were missing from the gauntlet was a film error or a plausible oversight given the circumstances he was in.

Given what we know about the production schedules for both films, it’s not surprising that some details fell through the cracks. Avengers: Endgame underwent more than one round of reshoots — and the logistics of organizing so many characters and moving parts had to have been daunting. And if we’re willing to suspend our disbelief about supervillain snapping half the world’s population out of existence, surely we can just pretend we didn’t see that crepe, right?

There are still a few movies left to 2019, including a huge one in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and it’s possible that 2019 mistakes list will have some new entries by the time we welcome 2020. Keep up with everything heading to the big screen next year with our 2020 movie release date schedule.

Wait, How Tall Is Frozen II’s Olaf? Fans Baffled By Questionable Height Listing

Google might be the quickest and most efficient place to look up information, but that doesn’t mean the search engine spits out the correct answer one hundred percent of the time. It’s too reliant on other sources to have absolute accuracy, a fact that was made absolutely clear this weekend when Frozen fans searching for Olaf’s height were told he was 5”4’. Now, I have no idea how tall Olaf actually is, but there’s just no way he’s even close to five feet.

Of course, once word got out, Frozen fans had a great time speculating how tall that would make the other characters from the popular franchise in proportion to him. Given he doesn’t even come up to the waist of some, well, they might be giants. Check this out…

So, where could Google have possibly gotten 5”4’. Well, the mistake has since been corrected, but it seems like the information was pulled from a sentence in the Frozen Wiki that has since been deleted. Here’s the direct quote, as per Pop Sugar

Yeah, there’s just no way that’s correct. As a remarkably average 5”9’ man, I’m not used to bragging about my height, but there’s just no way I don’t look physically imposing next to Olaf. Both Anna and Elsa seem like women of average height in the 5”4’ range, and they tower over Olaf. I think he almost certainly has to be around 3 feet tall. He might even be shorter than that.

Still, even if, deep down we all know this measurement is wrong, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a bit of fun at Frozen’s expense. Here’s another Tweet I loved…

And this last one might actually be my favorite of the whole group. I’ll explain why on the other side…

I’m a man who does not lie about my height. I’m slightly above 5”9’ tall. Maybe on a good day I could be 5”10’ if I’m rounding up, but I never round up because I don’t want to be just another dude lying about my height. So, I very specifically try to give an accurate measurement when people ask. So, when dudes that are like three inches shorter than me say 5”9’, I’m always like who the hell are you trying to fool here, bro?

Anyway, we veered off course there. The point is Olaf is like three feet tall, regardless of what Google might tell you. That being said, he’s a delightful character regardless of his height, and I’m not here to judge anyone for his or her height, whether they’re an NBA player or a snowman who thinks some people are worth melting for. Fingers crossed if there is a Frozen III, we get a joke about Olaf’s height.

7 TV Shows and Movies to Watch the Week of December 8, 2019

We’re officially into December, which means the weather outside is cold, cold, cold. So instead of going outside, cancel all your plans and warm up to these seven TV shows and movies. From Netflix specials to Hallmark holiday movies, you’re about to be so cozy.

Below, all the TV shows and movies to watch this week:

Sunday, December 8

Molly Austin: Zero to New Jersey: A new comedy album from Molly Austin. According to a release, this new record is a “perfect juxtaposition of someone who firmly stands her grounds in her convictions yet isn’t afraid to share her vulnerabilities.” Listen here.

Monday, December 9

Family Reunion: A Family Reunion Christmas: Here is Netflix’s official description for this new series. Streaming on Netflix

“When the McKellan family moves from Seattle to Georgia to be closer to extended family, the transition is like being a catfish out of water. From three-hour church services and huge humidity hair to M’Dear’s home cooking and family bonding, the everyday ups and downs of Family Reunion are real, memorable, toe tapping, heart stopping, laugh out loud authentic moments. The series stars Emmy-Award winner Loretta Devine and Tia Mowry.”

Tuesday, December 10

Michelle Wolf: Joke Show: A new comedy special from Michelle Wolf, focusing on outrage culture, feminism, and massages, among other topics. Streaming on Netflix

Wednesday, December 11

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements: Read HBO’s official description, below. 9 P.M. ET on HBO

“Directed by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-award winner Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO’s Beware the Slenderman, The Final Inc, Hear and Now), Moonlight Sonata is a deeply personal memoir about a deaf boy growing up, his deaf grandfather growing old, and Ludwig van Beethoven the year he was blindsided by deafness and wrote his iconic sonata. An intergenerational, inter-era tale of deafness, Moonlight Sonata explores what we discover when we push beyond loss.”

Thursday, December 12

Jack Whitehall: Christmas With My Father: Per Netflix this special shows “Jack Whitehall invites his notoriously stuffy father onstage in London’s West End for a Christmas comedy extravaganza.” Streaming on Netflix

Friday, December 13

6 Underground: A new action film starring Ryan Reynolds and Mélanie Laurent about a group of vigilante billionaires. Streaming on Netflix

Saturday, December 14

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy: Read Hallmark’s official description for this movie, below. 8 P.M. ET on Hallmark

“As the town searches for a rumored Christmas Time Capsule, a skeptical writer arrives in Evergreen to get the story on the town’s “too-good-to-be-true” Christmas-fever.”

MCU: The 10 Most Iconic Marvel Comic References In Phase 3

Proof the "Avengers Assemble" line was always reserved for Captain America

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains a myriad of spoilers from Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you haven’t been to the movies in a good three years, proceed with caution.

Eleven years after Kevin Feige kicked off a colossal comic book franchise with Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe concluded its third phase with the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home in the summer of 2019. One of the essential things that made experiencing the MCU’s Phase Three so satisfying was the strikingly accurate references to the original source material.

With Phase Four closely on the horizon following the recent arrival of Black Widow’s first trailer, let us look back on the last three years of the MCU by celebrating the moments that made Marvel Comics fans giddy to see their favorite panels brought to life on the big screen. There are countless easter eggs to choose from among the 11 films in Phase Three, but hopefully you can settle for the 10 iconic references I have narrowed it down to below.

Ant-Man and Hawkeye seem to work well together

Ant-Man Riding Hawkeye’s Arrow (Captain America: Civil War)

They had never officially met until they were thrown together as teammates on one side of a battle between superheroes. Yet, Hawkeye and Ant-Man know how to combine their efforts to create one of the more impressive attack strategies executed in the MCU’s history.

During the airport battle sequence in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, we see Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) preparing to fire his arrow at an unknown target, then seems to be speaking to offscreen Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). The camera pulls back to reveal the miniaturized Avenger-hopeful hanging on for dear life by the tip of Hawkeye’s arrow.

This memorable moment from one of the most celebrated action sequences in recent memory is actually a recreation of the cover art of Marvel’s Avengers #223, by illustrators Ed Hannigan and Klaus Janson. The comic book issue, published in 1982, takes place at a carnival, instead of an airport.

Spider-Man is overwhelmed by the amount of Mysterios

Spider-Man Surrounded by Multiple Mysterios (Spider-Man: Far From Home)

The MCU’s international follow-up to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the concluding film of Phase Three, sees Tom Holland’s Peter Parker as a more confident, accomplished crimefighter (even if he can’t speak the same for his social life). Yet, an essential characteristic of Peter is his vulnerability, and that moment is most clear after his enemy shows his true colors.

When Peter races to turn him in to reveal the true identity of Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), he soon realizes he walked into an illusional trap, complimented with an overwhelming myriad of horrifying visuals, including an army of Mysterios, blocking any chance he has of escaping the nightmare of his defeat. This special effects extravaganza preceding Spider-Man: Far From Home’s intense third act is a clear reference to the cover of 1979’s The Amazing Spider-Man #198.

Doctor Strange has quite a spirit

Doctor Strange’s Watches His Surgery From The Astral Plane (Doctor Strange)

Leave it to director Scott Derrickson to put an irreverent Marvel comics hero like Doctor Strange in a film with comparative levels of urgency as the horror films he is known for. For as much of a fun, dizzying interdimensional fantasy that Phase Three’s most “magical” film is, it is not without its dark moments.

This is most apparent in 2016’s Doctor Strange when a wounded Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) enlists the help of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) to save his life as the fabric of the universe is threatened. During the impromptu surgery, Strange’s astral body temporarily leaves his physical form, allowing him to witness the operation for himself from above.

This is another MCU moment ripped almost directly from the pages of Marvel comics. A similar scene takes place in a Doctor Stranger storyline title “The Oath,” in which Strange assists a night nurse tending to his physical body from the astral plane.

That Thanos Scarecrow would surely keep crows away

Thanos Takes Up Farming (Avengers: Endgame)

Following his success in “creating balance” to the universe at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos (Josh Brolin) first appears in Avengers: Endgame doing just what he promised he would following his victory: resting. His retirement location of choice: a distant planet, on which he find solitude and a hobby in farming his own crops.

Despite the liberties that the MCU took in adapting the storyline to film, this is an almost perfect visual representation of the conclusion of Marvel comics’ Infinity Gauntlet storyline, right down to the show of Thanos’ Titan armor scarecrow. The biggest difference is that his farming days come after the Avengers have reversed his “snap” and his retirement is by the authority of Adam Warlock, an essential character to the monumental comic event who has yet to be properly introduced to the MCU, outside of a subtle hint in a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene during Phase Three.

Anyone should have known Captain America was faking his allegiance to Hydra

Captain America Says “Hail Hydra” (Avengers: Endgame)

Speaking of, Avengers: Endgame is chock-full of iconic Marvel comics moments that fans have eagerly awaited to see translated to celluloid since the dawn of the MCU. The then-controversial reveal of Captain America’s secret life as a Hydra agent in 2016’s Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 is not necessarily one them, but thankfully the film’s way of referencing it was a welcome rewrite.

The easter egg comes during the film’s pivotal Time Heist when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), clad in his circa 2012 uniform, enters an elevator with several Hydra agents posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who have confiscated Loki’s scepter. What at first seems like a call back to an iconic fight in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, quickly takes a shocking turn when Cap earns his silent enemies’ trust by uttering the earth shattering words, “Hail Hydra.”

Hey, they're not the Avengers!

Spider-Man Takes On Thieves In Avengers Masks (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

One of the funniest moments from Phase Three’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and a definitive example of Peter Parker’s signature sense of humor is when he foils a bank heist. When Spidey (Tom Holland) notices a group of four thieves donning masks resembling Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor, he makes his presence known by initially acting starstruck to meet the real Avengers.

Not only does the scene involve fun callbacks to Spider-Man’s role in Captain America: Civil War (such as Peter Parker pointing out that it is nice to finally meet Thor and Hulk), but is also heavily influenced by Marvel comics. A similar moment occurs in Ultimate Spider-Man #42, in which Peter Parker walks in on a heist carried out by superhero imposters.

Hulk looks smashing in battle garb

Hulk’s Gladiator Armor (Thor: Ragnarok)

One of the most famous storylines in Marvel comics to put Hulk in the spotlight is Planet Hulk, which sees Bruce Banner’s alter ego banished by the Avengers to a distant planet. While there, the planet’s emperor, the Red King, forces the green guy to be his warrior slave, donning classic gladiator armor.

Thor: Ragnarok takes a lot of inspiration from this plot as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself stuck on a strange planet, on which the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) forces the God of Thunder into a battle against his “friend from work,” a Hulked out Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). The image of the MCU’s armored-up Hulk emerging into the arena is an almost perfect recreation of his comic book counterpart’s gladiator look.

Two of Marvel's strongest titans almost literally within arm's length of each other's fates

Captain America’s Shield Blocking Iron Man’s Blast (Captain America: Civil War)

The storyline of Phase Three’s premiere film, Captain America: Civil War, is a staggeringly loose adaptation of the 2000s Marvel comics storyline about a disagreement between Cap and Iron Man that gets gravely out of hand. However, one of the film’s most definitive moments is ripped directly right from Civil War’s panels.

The staggering sight of Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) shield deflecting Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) attack in the final act of the film plays out pretty much exactly as the comic. Of course, instead of an abandoned government lab with a wounded Bucky (Sebastian Stan) off to the side, the comic depicts this face-off atop a pile of unconscious superheroes following what must have been a pretty nasty urban battle.

Wakanda's battles might be safer somewhere other than waterfalls

Killmonger Tosses T’Challa From A Waterfall (Black Panther)

T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) duel against his long lost cousin Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) marked a pivotal moment in 2018’s Oscar-nominated Black Panther. Killmonger succeeds his malicious intentions by throwing Wakanda’s newly crowned king off the side of a cliff, supposedly killing him and, thus, seizing the throne.

It was clear that, in typical MCU fashion, this would not be the last we would see of T’Challa in his own film, but the moment did pay a well-earned tribute to an original Marvel comic. Jungle Action #6 sees Black Panther suffer defeat in the same exact way, by the same exact person, and with the same exact consequence as in the film.

Captain America is worthy!

Captain America Wields Thor’s Hammer (Avengers: Endgame)

The MCU teased the idea of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) lifting Mjolnir in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a much-discussed moment paid off gloriously in the final act of Avengers: Endgame. Captain America finally proves he is worthy by wielding the Asgardian weapon against Thanos (Josh Brolin), much to Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) giddy satisfaction.

Captain America is not the only Marvel hero to successful handle Thor’s Hammer in the comics’ history, but that makes the reveal of his worthiness on film no less astonishing. While his first time wielding Mjolnir was depicted in Thor #390 in 1966, the moment in Avengers: Endgame more closely resembles a panel from the seventh issue of the Fear Itself storyline in 2011.

The MCU has proven itself worthy, too, of fans’ admiration of how it pays tribute to the Marvel comics that inspired the endurable franchise. As one can tell from the numerous easter eggs and direct recreations above, the films of Phase Three are no exception.

We can only imagine what is in store for Phase Four and are eagerly awaiting its arrival with the release of Black Widow in May, 2020. Until then, be sure to check back on CinemaBlend or more updates on the future of the MCU.

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