In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Quentin Tarantino took a trip down memory lane, reflecting on the many movies that have referenced the memorable moments from his iconic filmography. At the 8:15 mark, Tarantino delves into a shoutout to his 1994 film Pulp Fiction in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
In case you missed it, Captain America and Falcon visit the grave site of Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, who was previously believed to be dead. After Fury reveals that he is actually alive, we get a brief glimpse at his gravestone which reads "Col. Nicholas J. Fury" and features the bible passage Ezekiel 25:17 which states "The path of the righteous man..."
It's the same passage delivered by Jackson's Jules Winnfield during his pre-killing ritual in Pulp Fiction. The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed to /Film that they initially struggled to figure out what should be on his tombstone. Joe believes it was their visual effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw that came up with the idea.
"I think it was," Russo said. "But again, you know, we’re always because we’re geeks and we love that kind of stuff, when we make movies, we’re always trying to put it in the movies, our movies for other people, our TV shows. So it’s better to put something in there that is a wink and a smile and excites people than just something bland, you know?"
"I knew it was coming because I ended up watching Sam Jackson on the Jimmy Fallon show, and Jimmy Fallon mentioned it," Tarantino recalls when asked about Fury's tombstone. "Well, the fact that I grew up with Marvel comic books, and you know, the Marvel universe, before it was a cinematic universe. When it was just basically Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Roy Thomas's web-spinning...enough said."
Tarantino’s recognition of Roy Thomas is especially key since he tends to be overlooked in favor of Stan and Kirby when people discuss the key figures from the Marvel Comics era that helped spawn the MCU. The character Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, was co-created by Gene Colan and Thomas, who replaced Lee as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.
While we’re on the topic of Thomas and Captain Marvel, it’s a great segue into another Tarantino reference in the 2019 film Captain Marvel where we find out Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn, has snuck into Maria Rambeau’s house as he is sipping soda out of a straw in a cup similar to the one that Winnfield is drinking from in Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino has also dropped slight references to Marvel Comics, such as a scene in which Mr. Orange compares the appearance of Joe Cabot to The Thing from Fantastic Four. The 56-year-old filmmaker admits that it's "pretty good" to see the interweaving of their separate universes despite how different their properties can be.
"Probably the first commentary I ever read was the Stan Lee 'Soapbox,' so the fact that all of a sudden, my universe was now being quoted inside of, as closed a gate as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it felt pretty good."