Even Thanos couldn't stop "Old Town Road."
Marvel fans are extremely thorough when it comes to picking apart the tiniest details in each of the MCU’s releases — even down to the briefest music cues. So when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings finally hit theaters on Sept. 3, it didn’t take long for fans to flood the internet with theories, easter egg explainers, and tons of fandom in-jokes. Strangely enough, one of the buzziest details to blow up recently has to do with one of today’s most popular artists. Being the incredibly online celeb he is Lil Nas X quickly took notice of the Shang-Chi theory about him and shared his A+ reaction to it.
As one of the first Marvel movies set after the reversal of Thanos’ population-halving snap in Avengers: Endgame, Shang-Chi is hugely important in setting up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man: Far From Home dealt with the immediate ramifications of half the world’s population suddenly reappearing after five years away, but Phase Four’s official first movie was Black Widow, which was set before the Thanos battle, since it was a prequel. Shang-Chi provides insight into how society has moved on since the Blip, and fans picked up on a particularly fun moment that confirmed a certain celebrity had to have survived Thanos’ snap.
Early in the movie, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his bestie Katy (Awkwafina) party the night away at a karaoke bar, and one of their song choices was Lil Nas X’s breakthrough hit “Old Town Road.” As a fan pointed out on Reddit, the performance is proof that Lil Nas X didn’t disappear after Thanos’ snap. Canonically, the snap occurred in 2018, with half of the world’s population no longer existing until it was reversed it 2023. Since “Old Town Road” wasn’t officially released until 2019 (even though it was technically independently released at the very end of 2018), Lil Nas X had to have survived the snap in order to record his hit track.
Lil Nas X himself happened to stumble upon the Reddit explainer and shared his brief but accurate reaction: “holy sh*t.”
Obviously, Lil Nas X’s Blip survival doesn’t really have any big ramifications on the MCU as a whole (unlike a few other big reveals at the end of the movie), but it’s still a fun little detail. Even the most powerful force in the universe couldn’t stop “Old Town Road” from becoming a hit, which kinda makes sense given how catchy that song still is. I mean, apparently people are still jamming out to it in 2023.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters now. It will be made available to stream on Disney+ on Oct. 18.