At first, when Infinity War writer Stephen McFeely says something like: “Frasier was influential in our decision to put Stark and Strange together,” it seems odd. Even wrong. How could one of the last great Must-See TV hits of NBC’s yesteryear have possibly influenced the biggest stars in the biggest blockbuster of all-time?
But when McFeely and his writing partner Christopher Markus explain the hidden influences in their history-making megahit to Yahoo in more detail, it begins to make sense. They discussed how Niles Crane was a condensed version of Frasier, and “it gives Frasier the opportunity to go, ‘Wow, I must be really annoying.'”
That’s basically the relationship of Doctor Strange and Tony Stark in Avengers: Infinity War. Two hyper-smart egocentrics both tasked with saving the world and the universe. They also both have goatees, which is surely a contentious point. It gives Stark a mirror which reflects back and allows him to explore his own arrogance and facial hair choices.
“To take Tony and Dr. Strange, who are quite similar — they both have goatees, they’re both arrogant — the impulse might be, ‘Well, let’s keep them separate because they occupy the same space, and everyone will get their own Arrogant Goatee Man…But to put them together, one, is funny, and their powers are totally different. But also it helps Tony go, ‘Wow, arrogant people are really annoying … I’m arrogant, huh.’ This is how we become better people in life.”
Exploring Stark’s growth as he gathers burdens and responsibilities on his shoulders is part of what’s made the Marvel Cinematic Universe work so well. Now he’s (spoilers) left with the taste of ashes in his mouth, not tossed salad or scrambled eggs.