The recent expansion in superhero appearances on screen has brought some lesser-known characters into wider currency. Of course, for those who are already fans of the characters, this provides an opportunity for the flexing of their subcultural capital muscles, pointing out to others the references to established plotlines, showing their knowledge of less well-known characters, and deducing potential aspects of the film or television narrative based on their identification of elements from other iterations of the character and their associated narratives. This could mean identifying Scarlett Johansson's character Natasha Romanoff from Iron Man as the member of the Avengers known as Black Widow, or putting together the clues of a purple costume and a bow to deduce that Jeremy Renner's cameo in Thor was the introduction of fellow Avenger Hawkeye.
The makers of these productions are well aware of the way that fans use these hints and references as ways to engage with forthcoming films or TV series, or even current ones, and can be rather obscure. The Martian Manhunter was introduced in Smallville by the indistinct appearance of a figure with glowing red eyes who flew off in a green and red streak, leaving behind an Oreo biscuit, a favourite of the comic book character. The fact that there are often multiple iterations of characters in comic book continuity, and through various media interpretations, means that the makers have a broader range of possibilities to draw upon and to tempt the fans with, while also running the risk that a particular interpretation made for the purposes of what is supposed to be a general market film may not appeal to different parts of the fan community. Trailers, however, often serve to provide a Schrodinger's Cat introduction to the particular version of the characters and narratives that the films will ultimately collapse into, making links to multiple versions of these characters and stories in order to tease and tempt fans of different iterations and to encourage debate, and therefore the much-desired 'buzz', amongst the fan community.