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Chloe Zhao Dishes On That Superman Reference In Eternals

Of all the things to come out of Marvel's "Eternals" so far, one of the most talked about has got to be the Superman reference. So how was director Chloé Zhao able to make such a groundbreaking mention happen? 

Marvel first revealed the Man of Steel hat-tip in one of its trailers for "Eternals" before Zhao eventually started talking about it during press events. "I take responsibility for that," Zhao told Variety of the Superman reference. The line comes during a scene with "Eternals" characters Ikaris (Richard Madden) and Sersi (Gemma Chan) as they talk to fellow Eternal Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his son Jack (Esai Daniel Cross) about a TV clip showing Ikaris using his powers. "Dad, that's Superman!" says Jack. "With the cape, and you were shooting laser beams out of your eyes!" the boy adds. Ikaris fires back, "I don't wear a cape.'"

Zhao explained to Variety that getting Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to sign off on the Superman reference was actually a lot easier than many people would think, despite the DC Comics connection.

Kevin Feige thought Superman mention was cool

When it came time for "Eternals" director Chloé Zhao to pitch her Superman reference to the big boss of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, she knew there was just one thing she had to do. "You write it on the page, show it to Kevin, if he doesn't say anything, that's a go," Zhao told Variety, laughing. "I don't think there was a conversation," she added. "Not really, except, he goes, 'Oh, that's cool.'"

According to Zhao, the Eternals have been exposed to a plethora of pop culture knowledge since arriving on Earth at the dawn of mankind — including movies, sports and even comic books. So it only makes sense to mention one of the biggest comic characters of all time, even if he's part of Marvel's biggest rival company.

"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," Zhao told Variety. "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." Zhao added, "Gilgamesh and Phastos, they all got into certain aspects of human life, whether it's cooking, pop culture, movie loving. So they pick out the things about humans that they love the most — aspect of us that are quite extraordinary." 

Marvel's "Eternals" will hit theaters on November 5.