'Hawkeye': ‘Rogers the Musical’ makes Marvel’s best meme even better

By Dais Johnston

There’s nothing like Christmas in New York — just ask Clint Barton.

Take a look around, and you’ll feel a chill in the air, see a giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, and fight criminals all over the streets. For a brief moment in all that chaos, as laid out by the Hawkeye trailer, Clint bonds with his children, which means taking them to the family friendly Broadway hit of the holiday season: Rogers the Musical.

This may seem like a goofy one-off Easter Egg, but one shot in the Hawkeye trailer is actually the culmination of a long line of Marvel Cinematic Universe “performances”... and could make the jump from the Sacred Timeline into our universe.

Steve Rogers has a story unlike any other. He started out life as the ultimate underdog, became the country’s greatest superhero when it needed him most, suddenly vanished, reappeared decades later, saved the world a few times more, and disappeared again.

It’s an epic saga with twists, turns — and plenty of opportunities for show-stopping numbers. It was only a matter of time before someone made his life into a musical.

Outside of the MCU, this moment was equally inevitable. The best films and series Marvel has made include tongue-in-cheek moments of high cheese, poking fun at all the action. Probably the best example of this was the Asgardian Theater scene in Thor: Ragnarok, which underlined the fact that the events surrounding the Avengers are worth retelling as extravagantly as possible.

But because an in-universe movie dramatizing the heroes’ achievements would be too meta, the next best option is live theatre. Much like What If...?, that Ragnarok scene offers another perspective on a classic MCU moment. But one scene in a Thor movie doesn’t directly warrant a full-on MCU musical. The final piece of the puzzle lies with WandaVision.

Earlier this year, Marvel’s first Disney+ series conquered another mode of storytelling: serialized television. Borrowing from sitcom tropes, it told a slowly evolving and heartbreaking story of grief and denial. But it also adopted the sillier aspects of its chosen era of small-screen entertainment, like cheesy opening themes and musical numbers.

The most memorable of these was “Agatha All Along,” the earwormy Addams Family soundalike, which revealed the character we knew as Agnes was secretly a witch named Agatha Harkness. The song, written by Frozen songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, was a smash success and even won an Emmy for its original music and lyrics.

A Broadway musical within the Marvel universe is the closest the MCU can come to admitting these characters are perfect for movies without getting too meta. Plus, there’s a chance that Hawkeye’s Steve Rogers musical could deliver another iconic song-and-dance number that proves Marvel isn’t afraid to make fun of itself.

Who knows: if there’s enough demand surrounding this fictional production, we could just see it treading the boards on actual Broadway. Steve Rogers may (possibly) be living on the moon, but in New York, he could tell his heroic story eight times a week.

Hawkeye premieres on Disney+ on November 24.


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