According to a fan theory based on Shang-Chi, Lil Nas X survived Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War, and the rapper seems thrilled with the news.
Lil Nas X responds to a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan theory that he survived Thanos’ Avengers: Infinity War snap that erased half of all life in the universe. The 22-year-old American rapper first entered the public eye with the country-rap hybrid “Old Town Road” in late 2018, which is now one of the best-selling singles in music history. His debut album, Montero, is scheduled to drop on Friday, September 17.
The MCU Phase 4 continues to explore the effects of Thanos’ snap. It took the Avengers five years to undo the halving of the universe’s population, and ever since Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed those who disappeared had not aged at all in that time, audiences have had a lot of fun teasing out the larger consequences. In particular, it has been interesting to follow who survived the snap and who got dusted, whether they are characters from the Marvel universe or just figures from popular culture. For example, Thanos actor Josh Brolin confirmed the Goonies all survived his character’s actions, which is comforting.
Now, thanks to a scene in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, one fan has a theory about Lil Nas X. After a day of working as valets, Shaun/Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) head to a karaoke bar, and the two are shown drunkenly belting out Lil Nas X’s first hit. Their night out takes place post-Endgame, but in this theory, the existence of “Old Town Road” is the smoking gun that proves the rapper survived Thanos’ snap. Lil Nas X has seen the theory.
The movie Shang-Chi’s place in the MCU timeline would indeed set it in either 2023 or 2024, and though Lil Nas X released “Old Town Road” in December 2018, the theory’s logic still tracks: for Shang-Chi and Katy to be singing a song that came out after Thanos’ snap, the musician behind it must have survived. There is another possibility, however, that might be an even better fit. If Lil Nas X was snapped away and returned unaltered five years later, he could have released “Old Town Road” after the events of Endgame. That would mean his first hit released in 2023 or ’24 instead, so it could still be topping the Billboard Hot 100 when Shaun and Katy queue it up.
Of course, it’s unlikely Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton and co. were thinking on this level when they picked the song, but knowing MCU fandom’s love of continuity, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Some of the most fun bits of worldbuilding in Marvel movies stem from filmmakers considering how the Avengers’ existence would impact everyday life, such as the Captain America PSA videos in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It will be interesting to see which celebrity fans will be able to place in the MCU timeline next.