More than 20 years after O.J. Simpson was declared “not guilty,” his murder case is once again a hot topic of conversation. This is largely thanks to FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which dramatizes the events surrounding the trial. And more is to come. In June, ESPN will premiere its seven-and-a-half-hour documentary on the fallen football star, O.J.: Made in America. This weekend, an allusion to Simpson pops up in an unlikely place: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: Civil War, which opens May 6, features a reference to Mark Fuhrman. Fuhrman, if you’ll remember, is the detective who found the glove at Simpson’s house. The defense used his history of racist remarks to imply that he planted evidence. But what does Mark Fuhrman have to do with superheroes? Let us explain without getting too spoilery. At one point during Civil War, Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is imprisoned. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) wants him to share information. Sam is resistant and tells Tony that in order to get him to spill, Tony's "going to have to go Mark Fuhrman" on him. It's an especially interesting invocation, given that Sam is Black and Tony is white, playing into the racial aspect of Fuhrman's role in the trial. The callout is already generating some buzz on Twitter. (Though the movie has yet to open in America, it is playing internationally and has been screened here.)
It’s hard to imagine that if this piece of dialogue had shown up in a Marvel movie last year, it would have had the same impact as it does now. We're living in the era of O.J. 2.0.