You might be imagining that Levy and Reynolds had to fight tooth and nail to get permission for these cameos; maybe they had to make some crazy gesture so that the Disney overlords would allow them to make these references. However, it turns out, it was as simple as writing a letter. If that surprises you, you’re not alone — so were Levy and Reynolds.
In an exclusive interview with Collider, Levy explained how it all went down. He mentioned that he knew that Disney had bought distributor 21st Century Fox and he and Ryan were curious to see if they could exploit this partnership. “Ryan and I were like, ‘Well, how can we work this to our benefit?’ And we’re like, oh, what if we tried to put something from Marvel or Lucasfilm in the movie? So we wrote a letter to Bob Iger, Kevin Feige, and Kathleen Kennedy,” the senior leadership of Disney, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm, respectively (though Iger has since stepped down as CEO of Disney).
The letter asked to use Captain America’s shield, Hulk’s fist, or a lightsaber. “To our astonishment,” Levy said, “They came back and said yes. And we said ‘Which one?’ and they said all of them.”