Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel’s two-part finale of the MCU is going to be massive…mind-boggling-ly massive. Future newcomers like Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther will come together with old standbys like Captain America, The Hulk, and Iron Man to face off in the final showdown between the Mad Titan, Thanos, that will span both space and Earth. Toss in the rest of the Avengers as well as maybe some Ant-Man and Spidey for good measure. Oh, and the Guardians of the Galaxy will likely show up for the fight too. Holy shit.
But what about the Defenders, Marvel’s group of grittier superheroes that inhabit Hell’s Kitchen and have been beating the piss out of bad guys on Netflix? We’ve met Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage already. Cage will get his solo outing on Netflix next year and fourth Defenders member Iron Fist will get his in the next few years. Despite the fact that they inhabit Marvel’s “shared” universe, they still remain properties of Marvel Television, and the rift between the TV and the movie side of Marvel means the “shared” universe isn’t so “share-y” after all. Speaking at Brazilian Comic-Con CCXP, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War co-director Anthony Russo shared (via Collider) some not-so-hopeful remarks about the Defenders making an appearance.
“It’s complicated. When we start to serialize the telling of stories is difficult. You have to have a lot of control and focus on the course of history. The films are controlled by a group led by Kevin Feige, so they function as a unit. Other products, even if they are from Marvel, are controlled by others. Then there is the possibility of a crossover, but is more complicated. It is a smaller version of the problem that exists when thinking that Fox has the rights to certain characters, Sony and others. As storytellers, we only have control over what happens in Marvel movies, but everything is possible, Spider-Man was possible!”
So basically it’s a possibility, but incredibly complicated because of ding-ding-ding…politics. Marvel Studios and Marvel TV aren’t as “share-y” as many fans hoped. It’s another reason why some are frustrated with the idea of the “shared universe”. While it looked great on paper originally, it has yet to work out quite like some hoped it would. Some characters belong to Marvel Studios and others belong to Marvel TV and each of those divisions has their own ideas for their own properties. Netflix and Marvel TV may not want to let Daredevil and the rest of the Defenders into the MCU. A leap like that might take away from the gritty, street-level, aura that’s helped garner their respective shows so much success. They’ve carved out their own cool, dark, noir-ish universe in Hell’s Kitchen. How jarring would it be to see Iron Man or Groot fighting alongside Daredevil or Jessica Jones? That could be a tough sell.
So could it be a good thing that the two divisions don’t play together so well? Maybe. The integrity of characters and stories are important, and mashing them all up for the sake of spectacle could backfire and leave fans even more upset. The little Marvel references and easter eggs in Jessica Jones and Daredevil might just have to do as far as resembling a “shared” universe, for now. Avengers: Infinity War is still a long way off and anything can happen between now and then.