Castle in the Sky Robot Makes Cameo in Avengers: Age of Ultron
posted on by Eric Stimson
Film-goers who watched the latest Marvel superhero spectacle, Avengers: Age of Ultron, may have noticed a line in the credits expressing gratitude to Studio Ghibli for its permission to use the robot from Castle in the Sky. It wasn't immediately clear how this robot was used, but in advance of the film's Japanese release, director Joss Whedon has clarified that it was used on the edge of the screen in this scene in Tony Stark's house. (Look on the right side at 0:57 to see its arm.)
Whedon is a big fan of Studio Ghibli and the films of Hayao Miyazaki, and wished to incorporate an homage to the studio in this film. Permission to use the robot was secured after Whedon used John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and a friend of Miyazaki, as a go-between. Lasseter himself inserted a more obvious homage to Miyazaki in Toy Story 3 — a Totoro doll, who appears as one of Bonnie's toys. The climax of Avengers: Age of Ultron also bears some close similarities to Castle in the Sky.
Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki have many admirers in the film and animation community, and references to their works can sometimes be spotted. Among the more overt nods were an extended dream sequence in The Simpsons and a reference to My Neighbor Totoro's tree-growing scene with a Thanksgiving twist in Bob's Burgers.
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