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Hawkeye has finished its six-episode run at Disney+, giving Marvel fans a quiver full of big surprises while introducing some welcome new blood into the MCU. And while there was plenty in the season finale to get viewers wondering how it all sets the stage for the future, tons of people are wondering about the significance of the episode’s totally unexpected mid-credits scene.
*Spoiler warning: There are Season 1 spoilers for Marvel’s Hawkeye ahead.*
If you’ve seen "So This is Christmas?” — the sixth and final episode of the season — then you know what we’re talking about. Throughout the series, Marvel had already woven in references to the fictitious, in-universe Broadway showing of Rogers: The Musical, an Avengers-themed theatre draw that sort of loomed like a facetious reminder of traumatic events looming over the present-day New York streets where Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) still walked.
In Hawkeye, the musical plays up Steve Rogers’ historic place in the superhero pantheon in the same stage-y spirit that we first glimpsed Rogers himself (Chris Evans) bumbling through in Captain America: The First Avenger. Only this time, the year is 2024, and the hindsight hero worship is being handled by real Broadway pros…not an idealistic WWII-era super-soldier who just wants to get back to defending American-style truth and justice.
Heck, the musical even got a fun crossover call-out recently, by way of a digitally-doctored Broadway show marquee sign, in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Surely it all has to mean something if Marvel’s going to those kinds of lengths to weave Rogers: The Musical into its Phase 4 lore…right?
Well, don’t read too much into any of it just yet, says Hawkeye executive producer Rhys Thomas.
Thomas directed the finale in which the musical number finally appears, in all its Captain America-honoring glory, as a full-scale mid-credits Broadway number. Speaking with Collider recently, Thomas said fans should probably take it as a fun, musical Christmas present from Marvel and nothing more…at least for now.
“Yeah, they made the decision to put the musical at the end there, which honestly, I was slightly conflicted about because like a fan, I'm like, 'The people, they want to see something, they want to know what's coming next. Is this going to disappoint?'" said Thomas. “In all fairness again, to the team, it's like, no, no, no, it's Christmas, it's light. We've got so much blood in this episode, it's just fun. It's a fun release at the end, and it's a nice way to send people off.”
Fair enough — though it’s still pretty intriguing that Marvel seems to be focused on reminding fans of how the present-day events in Hawkeye and other Phase 4 projects are connected to the deeper past. In another bit of interesting insight about a character who’s been MIA from the MCU since Daredevil went dark at Netflix, Thomas said Marvel’s definitely serious about protecting the significance of its big reveals — until, that is, the time is right.
“It was really hard” to keep Vincent D’Onofrio’s Hawkeye appearance as big baddie Kingpin a secret, he admitted to Collider. “It was almost a policy of never mentioning him by name. He became the Voldemort of us. He would arrive in a Voldemort-like cloak, he'd walk between his trailer and set covered in this thing and everything was closed. It was one of those things too where they were so on top of keeping it secret. Again, it is done for the fans, because it's going to be so much more impactful if no one sees this coming.”
Though he said he’s definitely ready to return to the Hawkeye set if asked, Thomas didn’t offer any news on Marvel’s plans for a potential sophomore season. But if Rogers: The Musical emerges in the future to somehow play an unexpected part in advancing the MCU’s Phase 4 storyline, we’re gonna look back at these post-credit remarks and seriously admire Thomas' ability to hold onto a good, juicy secret.