When Tony Stark tried to create Ultron in the second Avengers movie, his plan was to create a a series of robots that could police the entire world. But apparently he also had a secret agenda — to pay homage to a classic Studio Ghibli anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
Yes, the iconic robot from Laputa: Castle in the Sky somehow managed to make its way into Tony Stark’s apartment, as you can see by the above screenshot. Here it is in video form (it appears at 0:57):
And here’s the original anime for comparison.
If you think it’s a bit of a stretch, Anime News Network reports the following:
Whedon is a big fan of Studio Ghibli and the films of Hayao Miyazaki, and wished to incorporate an homage to the studio in this film. Permission to use the robot was secured after Whedon used John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and a friend of Miyazaki, as a go-between.
While the Castle in the Sky robots aren’t as universally beloved as Totoro, they’re actually almost as iconic in Japan, as well to artists all over the world. And one genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, apparently.
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