Marvel Studios is known for plucking the perfect filmmakers to bring their always-expanding universe to life. While other studios' big budget blockbusters usually bring over established action directors to helm their films, Marvel Studios looks to lesser-noticed areas for their talent.
For Marvel's upcoming epic, Eternals , the studio brought on independent film writer and director Chloé Zhao, known for critically acclaimed films like The Rider, and Zhao was apparently able to sneak a small MCU reference into her latest low-budget feature film.
Chloé Zhao's most recent film, Nomadland, premiered today at the Venice Film Festival, where it looks like the director was able to reference her Marvel future with a small nod to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
According to Fandango editor Erik Davis, a scene from Nomadland includes a lingering shot of a movie theater marquee that includes a title for a very familiar Marvel film. Davis tweeted :
There’s also what appears to be a quick Marvel reference in #Nomadland. At one point McDormand’s character strolls by a theater w/ a bright, beautiful marquee & a lone film playing: The Avengers. The camera lingers on the marquee, then moves on. A nod to Zhao’s next journey?
WHAT THIS MEANS
While a reference like this could be seen as a simple nod from a fan, Nomadland began filming in late 2018 , after Zhao had already been hired for Eternals on September 2018 . The director was already attached to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and so the inclusion of this Avengers marquee has more meaning than a simple shout out.
The film Nomadland follows a character who drops everything after her small rural town suffers from an economic collapse. The protagonist commits to a nomad lifestyle, slowly finding ways to cope and move on through the experience of traveling alone. It's a film about stumbling through searching for your path
With Chloé Zhao lingering on a shot of an Avengers marquee, this could be a message from the director that she is also on her way through her own personal journey of fulfillment, and the MCU is her next step. Though, it could also be a reminder of just how much the director was impacted by films like The Avengers .
The Avengers was a global phenomenon, ushering in a new age in the history of cinema, while also impacting many of the people who saw it in a very personal way. Zhao's choice to call attention to this film in particular could convey that The Avengers was a turning point in her history with filmmaking, and as she continues work on Eternals , the director is undoubtedly attempting to inspire Marvel audiences in a whole new way.