‘Captain Marvel’ Includes Multiple ‘Pulp Fiction’ References

Marvel Studios’ 1995-set Captain Marvel highlights multiple references to Pulp Fiction, the 1994 Quentin Tarantino-directed crime drama that featured future Nick Fury star Samuel L. Jackson.

Two apparent references were pointed out by Jeff Rothman on Twitter, showing Skrull pack leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) sipping on a burger joint drink in a fashion reminiscent of a standout Pulp Fiction sequence. There Jackson’s Jules Winnfield interrogates an associate of gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) over a meal from Big Kahuna Burger.

Another overt reference comes when Fury and new guy S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) go for a ride with Fury in the driver’s seat, both clad in suits, mirroring Jules’ cruise with Vincent Vega (John Travolta).

Yet another homage comes when — spoilers — a Happy Days lunchbox is opened to reveal the blue glow of the extraterrestrial Tesseract, a play on the golden glow of the Pulp Fiction briefcase, the contents of which are never revealed.

The mid-‘90s setting “allows us to play in an area that we have never played in before,” producer and Marvel Cinematic Universe architect previously explained of the decision to set Captain Marvel more than a decade before the emergence of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the Avengers.

“Tapping into a ’90s action genre was fun for us, and being able to see an earlier part of the MCU — before Nick Fury knew anything about aliens or anything about super-powered people — and also tapping into the Kree-Skrull War, which in the comics was a huge part of the comic mythology, seemed like a fun thing to try and a fun way to give Carol Danvers her own standalone origin story.”

That timeframe also allowed producers to put some distance between Captain Marvel and the modern day MCU, establishing Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as an important player before she joins the wider universe in April’s Avengers: Endgame.

“I think the way the film opens is much different than an origin movie, and because she is a heroine that you haven't seen before, we’re able to tell this story structurally in a way that will feel unexpected and hopefully will keep audiences off balance,” said producer Nate Moore.

“Still balanced enough that they can enjoy the film, but even just making it a period film is sort of interesting in that it’s not just a function of the world as we know it in the MCU today.”

Captain Marvel is now playing.

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