Minor spoilers for this week's episode of Ms. Marvel (but also this article is for kicks and giggles and shouldn't be taken seriously). Considering its place as a true juggernaut of pop culture, and how it frequently tries to root itself in the "real world," the Marvel Cinematic Universe pretty regularly references pop culture. As the MCU has continued to balloon in size however, the things that can be referenced easily and without creating a confusing Easter egg has gotten much smaller. Now the MCU has gotten to a point where it's referencing things that were made directly as a result of Marvel, and giving us a headache in the process.
In the latest episode of Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan finds herself in a battle with Kareem/Red Dagger, one where she exploits her powers to get around his ninja-like maneuvers. Mid-fight Kamala makes a comment on one his moves, saying: "Where'd you learn to jump like that? Ninja Turtles?" Good joke, funny even, but one that creates a minor nightmare for the MCU. As some fans no doubt know, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came about as a result of Marvel Comics. Franchise creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird began experimenting with the idea for the series as an homage, and later parody, of Frank Miller's seminal run on Daredevil.
For the original comics the origin of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is written so that the toxic ooze that created Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, was also the same ooze (and same incident even) that blinded Matt Murdock and gave him his radar-vision powers. Other Daredevil connections also exist in the lore of TMNT: The Turtles fight "The Foot," while Daredevil fights "The Hand;" their master is "Splinter," Daredevil's master is "Stick." The connectivity is obvious and hard to ignore, making this a wild thing to ponder in the grand scheme of the MCU.
As fans recall, Spider-Man: No Way Home officially brought back Charlie Cox as the Man Without Fear and plans for a revived Daredevil TV series in the MCU seem to be in the air. So, Daredevil exists in the MCU, but the Ninja Turtles also exist in the pop-culture sphere of the inhabitants of the MCU? How can the Ninja Turtles exist if Daredevil is a real guy? Assume Daredevil still influenced TMNT in some form, how long have they been around as a pop culture entity? It's as confusing a whirlpool of thought as "What happened to X during The Blip?"
This isn't the first time that Marvel Studios has referenced major elements of pop culture that make you go cross-eyed either. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was quick to reference "Star Wars" as something that he should catch up on. You know, Star Wars, that movie property that also features MCU stars Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Bettany, and Jon Favreau. There's also the moment in Avengers: Endgame where Iron Man refers to Thor as "Lebowski," calling back to the Jeff Bridges-starring The Big Lebowski. Jeff Bridges as you may recall also starred in Iron Man.
In the end there's nothing actually wrong with this, they're fun Easter eggs and references, and if you've made it this far into the article you know that it's not actually a problem. We need a name for these confusing Easter eggs though, ones that create an ouroboros of continuity, because as the MCU continues and keeps referencing other pieces of pop culture they're going to keep happening.0comments