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‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the Golden Easter Egg

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Aki- hiko Avengers Endgame Easter Eggs

Let’s Talk About Hiroyuki Sanada

With Deadpool 3, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness coming soon, everything is taking shape for the introduction of mutants into the MCU, yet there is one Easter egg left un-cracked from Avengers: End Game that could show how mutants have been a part of the world this entire time… enter Hiroyuki Sanada. 

During the brief scene where we catch Clint Barton, Jeremy Renner, on a murderous rampage, we found he has retired Hawkeye and taken up the mantle of Ronin. Clearly distressed about what the Yakuza have been doing and the fact that they were spared from the snap, Ronin makes quick work of all the goons, except for one, Aki- hiko (Hiroyuki Sanada). The only real take away from their brief exchange of dialogue is that Clint is as much of a villain from his new murderous persona, setting him up for his character’s arc later in the movie. But the question people have ignored has been left without a real answer, who is Akihiko and why would Marvel put him in the highest-grossing movie ever made for such a small role? 

So, who is Akihiko? Put simply, Akihiko is a nobody scientist who works for the Yakuza used in one issue, Nick Fury #7 from 2017, written by James Robinson. The plot is simple, Nick Fury Jr. goes to the moon to chase down some of the Yakuza’s Shogun Reapers, which are led by Akihiko. They are planning to finish building a cannon that can control Earth’s plate tectonics from their lunar base. On the moon’s surface, the Yakuza are piloting their War Machine like suits, the Shogun Mechas. Fury chases down the Yakuza and takes control of Akihiko’s Mecha forcing him to fire a ray at a room that decompressed it and everyone in it, Akihiko included. A tried and true, one and done issue threat. 

The question of who was Akihiko is a simple answer. Not so much the latter of why Marvel would use this character out of their endless sandbox of villains. Taking a look at the first appearance of Ronin in New Avengers #11, written by Brian Micheal Bendis, the answer may be revealed. 

The basic plot of Ronin’s first story goes like this. The hero is in Japan on the trail of the Silver Samurai who the shadowy gang we’ve seen in Daredevil and the Defenders, both on Netflix, has just sprung free along with 40 other prisoners from the government’s water jail, the Raft. The jailbreak was orchestrated by Viper, and an agent seeking to take control of the splintered and leaderless Hydra. The Japanese Yashida clan is in a similar state as Hydra with their leader, the Silver Samurai away from his duties. Viper uses the opportunity to mend rifts and create a more international alliance in organized crime. 

Backtracking to the news that Ryan Reynolds will be returning as Deadpool for the MCU confirms that at least some of the Fox X-Men franchise will be part of it as well. This puts Hiroyuki Sanada in a very good position to branch worlds considering he not only played Akihiko in Endgame but also Shingen Yashida, the Silver Samurai, in The Wolverine

Ronin Marvel Avengers

A rewatch of The Wolverine with this information fresh in memory is very telling. It includes almost all the characters of Ronin’s first appearance including the Yakuza and Viper herself. After Days of Future Past, the events of the movie would have been rewritten and these characters would still be alive. In the movie, Shingen’s father had the family company on the verge of bankruptcy and without Logan coming to Japan it very well could have happened. Shingen was ashamed of his father and wanted to distance himself from this legacy. Adding this to the fact that he already had Yakuza gang ties in the movie, it’s not a far reach to think he could have changed his identity to Akihiko and went on to pursue the sciences his family’s company started with them. 

This holds especially true when you compare these two pictures. On one side is the Silver Samurai suit from The Wolverine. The other is taken from Nick Fury #7, Akihiko’s Shogun Mecha suit. 

Marvel is known for hiding details from fans to set up future movies and this tiny Endgame moment is a perfect storm. It bridges worlds and further expands on the multi-verse and alternate timelines bringing the Silver Samurai to the universe connecting the X-Men and their gallery of villains. It sets up Viper looking to head Hydra, which very coincidently is who was head of the organization in the comic books when Sam Wilson took up the mantle of Captain America. The prisoners, broken free from the Raft, could easily include members of the Sinister Six for the next Spiderman installment. The ramifications are massive and if true would be a brilliant and believable future for the MCU. 

  • Andrew Smith 

Andrew Smith is a lifelong pop culture and comic fanatic from Toronto, Canada. He is a walking encyclopedia for Marvel comics and the MCU, especially the X-Men.

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K-Pop Meets Battle Royale With The Upcoming ‘Fortnite’ x BTS Collaboration

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Fortnite has had quite a few collaborations during its time as the reigning king of the battle royale video game genre. The game has collaborated with other gaming properties- such as the Borderlands series- but they have also crossed over into other media platforms from films to comic books. Fortnite has had highly publicised team ups with the likes of various Marvel and DC properties as well as Star Wars and Stranger Things. One of the other media platforms Fortnite has a habit of collaborating with is music and artists. There previous teams ups have involved the likes of Major Lazer, Travis Scott and Marshmello but Fortnite are now venturing into the worldwide global phenomenon that is K-Pop with their latest collaborators: BTS.

The BTS x Fortnite collab will include some new emotes so that you can show off your BTS dance skills whilst shooting people in the face.

 BTS- the biggest K-Pop band in the world and quite possibly the biggest boy band in the world full stop- has announced they will be joining Fortnite to debut a variation of their latest music video. Their hit song Dynamite- their very first song entirely in English- has been topping charts and breaking records worldwide, climbing to the top of the US’s Billboard Hot 100 and the choreography version of the Dynamite music video will be premiering exclusively within Fortnite’s Party Royale mode. The choreography MV will have fewer cuts, showing off the dance skills of the Bangtan boys. The event will take place on Friday September 25th at 8PM EDT (that means a late night for my fellow Brits as it translates to 1AM our time) and again on Saturday 26th at the same time.

You will also be able to download two new emotes that have been choreographed by BTS themselves. These will be available in Fortnite’s Item Shop from September 23rd at 8pm EDT. I myself am a recent convert to BTS’s music thanks to Dynamite (some would say fangirl but I’m sticking with convert) as it is such a carefree, catchy and cheerful song. The world needs that kind of music right now, so I would recommend checking it out below if you’re a fan of light-hearted pop. Have a look at Fortnite’s official website here to see how you can join in with BTS’s Dynamite Party Royale.

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Reality Gets Weird in the ‘WandaVision’ Trailer

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One of the anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe spin off shows for the Disney Plus streaming service finally has a full length trailer. WandaVision– a not so subtle play on words- will focus on the characters Scarlet Witch- Wanda Maximoff- played by Elizabeth Olsen and Vision, played by Paul Bettany. The series takes place following the events of the 2019 MCU film Avengers: Endgame. The show moved up to 2020 following an initial 2021 release date, switching places with the other Disney Plus Marvel show Falcon and The Winter Solider. There’s quite a lot to unpack in what looks to be Marvel most bizarrely intriguing project yet.

The Premise

Not much is known about the plot of the show and the trailer offers more questions than answers. The official synopsis for WandaVision reads as follows:

Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Wanda Maximoff and Vision begin to suspect things are not as they seem as the two live their ideal suburban life.

This is about as vague as it can possibly get. The trailer shows the two of them engaged in a 50’s style sitcom, living a content married life. When neighbours ask them about their background, the couple struggle to answer. This suggests that the premise will centre on the two characters trying to differentiate fiction from reality. We also see Wanda and Vision in various fashion styles, suggesting different time periods. Let’s throw in some time travel speculation just to confuse things even more so.

Vision’s Resurrection

One key element of WandaVision is- obviously- Vision who as you’ll know if you saw Avengers: Infinity War is very much dead. He died not once, but twice. He was killed the first time by his lady love Wanda in an attempt to keep the Mind Stone- embedded in his head- out of Thanos’s grasp. He was then killed a second time by Thanos, who used the Time Stone to reverse time and get to the Mind Gem before Wanda could. Thanos rips it clean out of Vision’s skull. So yeah- like I said- very much dead. So how is he here in this odd 50’s sitcom scenario with Wanda? I’m guessing WandaVision will answer that question as it is brought up by a character in the trailer. The female character- played by Kathryn Hahn who confirmed that her name is Agnes-expresses fear that she is dead when Vision awakes her from a nap she is taking in her car whilst dressed like a witch. As you do. These are all entirely normal situations. When Vision asks her why she would think that she is dead, she responds with “Because you are”. Vision’s expression suggests that he is unaware of this, or at least hugely confused. The show is likely to explore Vision’s fate post Endgame but Wanda’s powers are likely to be responsible for at least some of the weird occurrences and possibly for Vision’s resurrection.

Wanda’s Powers

There is no doubting that Wanda is one of the most powerful Avengers due to her telekinetic manipulation abilities. However, the show looks like it will be delving into just how powerful she really is. Could it be that Wanda is altering the fabric of time and space itself to create a happier alternate reality for herself? Her character has done this before, in the House of M comic book series.  Wanda has arguably had one of the more tragic stories of the MCU heroes. She lost her parents at a young age. Her home was destroyed and her brother Pietro/ Quicksilver was killed in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She accidentally caused multiple civilian causalities, leading to her blaming herself and being put under home arrest in Captain America: Civil War. She then had to kill the love of her life- Vision- in Avengers: Infinity War as she was the only one powerful enough to do so. Not only that, but she had to watch him die a second time when Thanos turned back time. She also got dusted in Infinity War, only to come back in Endgame and almost defeat Thanos singlehandedly. Safe to say, she’s had a bit of a bad time. Losing all the people that she loves more than anything is sure to have an effect on a person. So what could happen if that person has incredibly strong powers? Powers that could possibly create all new realities? Why wouldn’t you want to invent a happier, sitcom style life if you had experienced all that she has?

Monica Rambeau

Another interesting part of the trailer is the appearance of Monica Rambeau. Rambeau is a character from the Marvel comics who was portrayed as a child in 2019’s Captain Marvel MCU film, being the daughter of Carol Danvers’s best friend Maria Rambeau and having a close aunt/niece relationship with Carol. In the comics, she takes over the mantle of Captain Marvel after obtaining energy based powers and has also been known as a hero under the aliases of Photon, Spectrum and Pulsar. In WandaVision, Teyonah Parris takes over the role as a grown up Monica. Her role in the show isn’t clear but we see her fall from a portal in front of government agents. Has she already got her powers at this point or is this how she obtains them?

References

There are references aplenty in the trailer. From a reference to the aforementioned House of M comic series – where Scarlet Witch goes a bit mad and loses control of her powers, bending reality to her will- to Wanda and Vision appearing in their classic comic book outfits, the show is obviously taking inspiration from Marvel comics throughout the decades. There are also some general pop culture references as well, such as their 50’s paradise looking an awful lot like the I Love Lucy show from 1951 and the use of The Platters version of the 1944 song Twilight Time. The general premise is pretty 50’s too, with Wanda and Vision having to hide their true selves- that of a superhuman and an android- to protect their perfect life. Older sitcoms like I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched adapted this kind of plot device so that optimum hilarity would ensue as characters would go to extreme lengths to hide their extraordinary true identities.

WandaVision is looking really interesting from what we have seen so far. It certainly seems to be diverging from Marvel’s normal film and television structures. If the show stays strong in its distinctive style, it may be one of the most unique things to come from Marvel in a long while.

WandaVision is coming to Disney Plus exclusively in December 2020. Have a look at the trailer below.

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Sad News DS Fans: The Nintendo 3DS Has Been Discontinued

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After almost ten years in service, Nintendo’s portable 3DS console has officially been discontinued according to Nintendo’s official website. This applies to all the various models of the console: the 3DS, the 2DS, the New 3DS, the New 2DS, the 3DS XL, the New 3DS XL and the New 2DS XL.

The 3DS was an innovative handheld gaming console upon its release in 2011, combining 3-D technology and gaming without the need for special 3-D glasses. The 3D effect was obtained via an optical illusion with the systems screen- a stereoscopic effect that could be turned on with a slider. I remember the awe I felt the very first time I used the 3DS. It felt like a whole new era of gaming encased in a small and sleek package.

Although not hugely popular when it was first released, sales of the console grew a few years after. Since the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, sales of the 3DS have been steadily declining so it is not a huge surprise that Nintendo have made this decision. However, it is still a sad moment for DS fans as it means the end of solely portable consoles for Nintendo. I have a lot of fond memories from my 3DS and my plain old DS. I still remember getting the original DS for my birthday in 2006 and spending the rest of the day playing Nintendogs. Good times.

So raise a glass, bid farewell and press F to pay your respects to the 3DS and the DS console in general. You will be missed, dear friend.  

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