Marvel loves a good pop culture reference – from Peter Quill’s fascination with Kevin Bacon to Carol Denver’s Nine Inch Nails t-shirt – but what happens when the superhero studio decides to hire the stars their own characters love? It’s like when Glee covered a Demi Lovato song and then proceeded to cast the singer to play a completely unrelated character a season later. Does her character know about the pop star who looks exactly like her? And does Guardians‘ Stakar Ogord know about the Rocky movies?
The connection was made in a recent Reddit post that resulted from the original poster rewatching 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where Steve comes up with a list of all the things he needs to catch up on from the years he’s been on ice. On the list are Rocky and Rocky 2, which are obviously Sylvester Stallone‘s most famous movies. That same year, the Guardians of The Galaxy trilogy had its first installment, eventually bringing Stallone on board for its second and third as Ravager captain Stakar Ogord.
User MogarTheUnkillable is going with the theory that Stakar is actually a retired Stallone, who decided to change career paths after filming 1976 film that made him a superstar. That is the reason why Rocky 2 is followed by a question mark on Steve’s list – maybe it never got made.
A few of the commentators, seemingly averse to fun, are of the opinion that OP is just overthinking the whole thing. Besides, Peter Parker is also a huge Star Wars fan – a franchise that stars the likes of Samuel L. Jackson aka Nick Fury, Natalie Portman aka Jane Foster, Oscar Isaac aka Moon Knight, and the Harrison Ford, soon to become Thaddeus Ross.
Regardless of theories, this phenomenon is quite common and is known as the celebrity paradox, where the actor who plays a role in a given film is also known as an actor within the same fictional universe. It’s common and can be annoying in the sense that it is distracting and can affect canon, but mostly it’s just a bit of fourth-wall-breaking fun. Either way, the multiverse being a thing in the MCU fixes all problems – from recasting, to rebooting, to the celebrity paradox.