‘Hawkeye’ makes a cute nod to ‘Shang-Chi’ that you probably missed

Image: Keane Eacobellis / Marvel

Today’s third episode of Hawkeye featured a cute nod to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that you might’ve missed. As Phase 4 is still in its early days, there hasn’t been too much connective tissue linking the MCU movies and TV shows of 2021 together, but with Hawkeye, it’s a different story.

Warning: Spoilers follow.

Florence Pugh is due to return as Yelena Belova following Black Widow, and episode 3 just called back to something established in the aforementioned Simu Liu film.

This Wednesday’s installment, titled “Echoes,” opens with flashbacks that reveal the childhood of Maya Lopez aka Echo. In one sweet scene, the young Maya asks her father, William, if dragons are real. He tells her, “Maybe they are, but dragons live in a different world.” Maya asks him, “What if they learned to come into our world?” William then turns the conversation into a lesson for Maya to deal with her deafness: she needs to learn to jump between two worlds, too.

Maya’s dad might not know it, but he’s actually speaking a lot of truth. In Shang-Chi, we were introduced to Ta Lo, a mystical interdimensional land that’s home to various creatures from Chinese mythology, including the dragon known as The Great Protector. So he’s spot-on when he says dragons are from different worlds. It’s unclear if William’s aware of the existence of Ta Lo, however, as this flashback is set long before the events of Shang-Chi.

Likewise, Maya’s comment about dragons learning to escape into our world feels like a nod to the Dweller-In-Darkness, the evil soul-eating demon/dragon that tricks Wenwu into releasing it from the Dark Gate in Shang-Chi. If Shang-Chi hadn’t defeated it, it would’ve broken out into our world and consumed all.

It’s also worth pointing out that The Defenders revealed that a dragon’s skeleton — this time from another mystical city, K’un-Lun — is buried underneath New York, so it’s possible William was referencing that instead. Especially given his connections to Daredevil‘s Wilson Fisk. But it definitely comes across as more of a Shang-Chi nod. Marvel’s not going to knowingly reference something from the Iron Fist mythos, right?

Hawkeye continues next Wednesday on Disney Plus.