The Barbie trailers are chock-full of Easter Eggs, from The Wizard of Oz references to a tribute to Barbie’s inventor
Image Source: YouTube user Warner Bros.
Barbie is shaping up to be the hottest movie of the summer. The full trailer was released on May 25 and has already given the internet a slew of instantly iconic moments to admire, from Barbie (Margot Robbie)’s “Matrix”-esque choice between heels and Birkenstocks, to Ken’s (Ryan Gosling) is an exuberant mug shot. All of this adds hype to the already eagerly awaited film.
But the new trailer also contains some less obvious Easter eggs that show just how much love the film’s creative team – which includes acclaimed filmmaking duo Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach – pays attention to detail.
Barbie Easter Egg: Ruth and Barbara Handler
Towards the end of the film preview, Barbie meets an old woman who tells her, “People come to an end. Ideas live forever.” As TikToker Kirbie Johnson explained in a May 25 post, the old woman is Barbara Handler, who actually inspired the first Barbie when she was a young girl. According to The New York Times, Barbara’s mother Ruth Handler invented the original Barbie doll in 1959 and named her creation after her daughter. Barbara is now 82 years old, but her appearance in the Barbie trailer is a moving tribute to the doll’s origins.
Barbie Easter Egg: The Wizard of Oz
The second teaser of “Barbie,” which was released on April 10, also includes some other pop culture references and symbols. Many fans quickly noticed that the clip was full of references to The Wizard of Oz: movie posters of the 1939 film’s characters often appeared in the background, and in one frame the film even played in the background. At one point, Robbie is also seen in a plaid dress reminiscent of Dorothy’s classic blue dress.
Viewers have also deduced that the plot of “Barbie” may have some references to The Wizard of Oz. We already know that the story is about Barbie (and Ken) leaving Barbieland and heading to the real world. When the protagonist of “Barbie” finally meets the creator of Barbie Land – or perhaps the company’s CEO – it’s easy to see that her disillusionment with this character might mirror the same disappointment Dorothy felt when she learned who the magician was really was.
Barbie Easter Egg: 2001: A Space Odyssey
The first teaser of “Barbie”, which was released on December 16, 2022, also refers directly to another classic film. This teaser parodies the beginning of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, except that the Barbie trailer doesn’t show monkeys in front of a black monolith like the opening frames of 2001 the Fall is how Barbie steps onto a monolith in a barren landscape while young girls look on.
Notoriously existential and allegorical, 2001: A Space Odyssey essentially tells a deeply impressionistic story about the origins of mankind and the extraterrestrial forces that seem to have brought humans to consciousness in the film. While Kubrick always resisted definitive analysis of his science fiction epic, he told Rolling Stone in 1972: “At the deepest psychological level, the film’s plot symbolizes the search for God and ultimately posits something little less than a scientific definition of God is.” .”
While that doesn’t immediately align with what we know about “Barbie,” which has so far been hailed for the fashion trend he inspired, Gerwig recently brought up religious themes in a conversation with Vogue in May. “Ken was invented after Barbie to polish Barbie’s place in our eyes and in the world,” Gerwig said. “This kind of creation myth is the opposite of the creation myth in Genesis.”
Could “Barbie” be an attempt to mirror or rewrite Kubrick’s reflections on the origins of humanity, possibly from a feminist perspective? Or maybe a combination of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Matrix, which suggests that we all follow pre-programmed ideas about how we’re supposed to live until we become aware of them and move beyond them. Or maybe it just parodies all those movies where Barbie ends up back where she started, only happier being one of many Barbies. Anything is possible here!
Of course, we won’t really know what the critically acclaimed “Barbie” script has in store for us until the film premieres on July 21st. Until then, though, fans are definitely free to overanalyze trailers, dress up in Barbiecore fashion and measure up poster selfies, and bump into any artists on the “Barbie” soundtrack to their heart’s content.