The Internet got pretty intrigued when a fan spotted what seemed to be a Punisher easter egg hidden within the background of Iron Man 3 — and now someone’s finally figured out what’s up.
Sadly, the truth is way less awesome than the rumors. That background painting in the Mandarin’s room is apparently not the Punisher logo. Nope. The photo is actually a painting created by Czech artist Ales “Bask” Hostomsky, which admittedly does look suspiciously like the logo from everyone’s favorite vengeful hero.
It turns out Iron Man 3 director Shane Black hired Hostomsky to work in the film’s art department, and tasked him with creating some Mandarin propaganda designs. The skull-like painting was one of them, and was used in the background at the mansion. Considering Marvel's penchant for teasing films years in advance, it made sense enough that they might be dropping a Punisher hint. But it's sadly not so.
But, on a positive note — Marvel did recently regain the film rights to the Punisher, after two previous attempts failed to make a dent at the box office. It’ll probably be a while until they get around to using it (since they’ll be busy with the Avengers gang for at least the next few years), but there’s still some hope.
So, you know — don’t give up hope. But, don't get too excited, either.
For the record, here's a look at the complete painting:
(Via Screen Crush)