Did You Catch This Studio Ghibli Easter Egg in Avengers: Age of Ultron?

Tony Stark has built a ton of robots over the years, but apparently at some point between the House Party Protocol and Ultron, he found the time to infringe on some copyrights. 

A few eagle-eyed fans noticed that there’s a strange “thank you” credit for Studio Ghibli (the Japanese animation studio responsible for films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) in the credits of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ghibli definitely didn’t do any work on the film itself, so why is that there?

In advance of Age of Ultron’s Japanese release, director Joss Whedon revealed why. It’s this:

Castle-in-the-Sky-Robot-Avengers-Age-of-Ultron

If you’re a fan of Castle in the Sky, Studio Ghibli’s first feature film, that might look familiar to you. If not, it’s the arm of the robot from that movie:

castle in the sky robot

If you think that’s a stretch, it’s actually been confirmed. Anime News Network is reporting that Whedon is a huge Ghibli fan, went to John Lasseter, head of Disney Animation and a friend of Hayao Miyazaki, for help obtaining permission to use the robot.

You can see it in motion at around 0:57:

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