|Image Courtesy www.screenrant.com|
Note: This isn't intended as troll-fodder and clickbait; it's intended as a response to troll-fodder and clickbait. That is kind of is troll-fodder and clickbait is a mostly-unintended side effect!
Is there a war going on between Marvel Television and Marvel Studios, as ScreenRant’s Anthony Ocasio suggests? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “no,” because among other things Marvel Television is a division of Marvel Studios! To say that there’s a war going on between Marvel TV and Marvel Studios would be like saying that there’s a war going on between the United States and Florida because they don’t agree on everything. The people at the one might not like the way that the parent company is handling their department, but that is far from a “war.” If Marvel Studios had a problem with their Marvel TV division, they would really only have themselves to blame.
But if that’s the case, why aren’t there any references to the TV shows in the movies? That’s a very good question, but there is no simple answer. I have a couple of thoughts to share, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, as well.
|Image Courtesy www.twitter.com/Marvel|
Movies are planned out years in advance, with scripts done well in advance of casting and shooting. By contrast, TV series are normally shot as they go (though they work a few weeks to a month ahead). As such, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. crossover with Avengers: Age of Ultron was shot close to a year after production wrapped on the movie itself. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show runners were able to see a script for the movie and set themselves up to feed into it and work off of it, but it couldn’t really go the other way due to the logistics. Avengers: Age of Ultron was, however, able to present the original helicarrier without a long explanation because Joss Whedon knew that AoS was going to provide the full explanation for how Fury managed to keep a helicarrier secret while he didn’t actually have anyone officially working for him.
There’s Just Too Much Going On
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has currently produced 44 episodes (2 seasons of 22 episodes each). Add to that 8 episodes of Agent Carter, 13 episodes of Daredevil, and SIXTY episodes of Marvel Netflix between A.K.A. Jessica Jones and The Defenders, and you’ve got 125 hours of content from Marvel TV (oversimplified since network TV shows are closer to 45 minutes than an hour, but you get the picture) that we know about. By contrast, Marvel Studios has produced 11 shows, with another 11 in the pipelines, for a total of 44 hours of content. For a current comparison, there are currently 44 hours of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. alone (plus another 21 hours of additional Marvel TV), and 22 hours of Marvel movies. That is a lot of stuff going on in the MCU. If the movies were to try working all of the TV material in, it would be a Herculean effort! They can work in a few things here and there, but beyond a couple characters reprising their roles from the small screen on the big screen (and vice versa), they just wouldn’t be able to do it.
There are a few things that I expect to carry over from TV to the movies. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Lorelei (AoS 1x15); my guess is that Loki (in the form of Odin) wanted her back on Asgard as part of his plan to solidify his rule of Asgard. As such, she could very well have a small part in Thor: Ragnarok which builds off of her Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appearance. Similarly, I expect the movie The Inhumans will not talk about Terrigenesis too much—and probably will not show it at all—because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has now established how it works and what it looks like. Instead, because its universe, scientific explanation, and culture have already been established, The Inhumans will focus on the new characters and moving the plot forward. But both of these movies are still at least 2 years away and were still very early in their development when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. planted those seeds.
It’s a Big Sandbox to Play In
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty darn big. I mean, huge. Nothing says that everything has to interact on a weekly basis. Some events are big enough that you have to expect them to have ramifications on the other media, particularly on a serialized TV show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but for the most part that is not necessary. There was no crossover between AoS and Daredevil because there didn’t need to be; both series’ events are small-scale enough that they didn’t have to come to the other’s attention. Thor: The Dark World impacted AoS to some extent, but the major events were over too soon to really expect S.H.I.E.L.D. to respond in a meaningful way (beyond the meh cleanup scene on AoS). The major events in the MCU since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started—the ones which we could expect the series to address—have been the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and rise of Ultron, both of which S.H.I.E.L.D. was directly involved with and both of which had major ramifications on the show. Beyond that, movie events haven’t really required or allowed a commensurate response by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
|Image Courtesy en.wikipedia.org|
Marvel is not the first company to attempt a large interconnected universe spanning multiple semi-independent features on both the small screen and the big screen. I think that honor would go to the Star Trek franchise (someone can correct me on that if I’m wrong). In the 1960s, Gene Roddenberry produced the original Star Trek TV series, which only ran for 3 seasons. However, that series spawned 6 feature films starting a decade later, the last of which were produced concurrently with the next TV series in the franchise (Star Trek: The Next Generation), which itself spawned 4 feature films, including a crossover with the Original Series. Meanwhile, 2 additional series were produced roughly concurrently in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager which take place around the same time, later in the continuity of Next Generation. Confused yet? It gets better: The final TV series in the franchise (pre-reboot) is Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place before the Original Series. All told, there are over 600 hours of Star Trek content, not including books, before the recent franchise reboot. And everything before 2009 is considered to be part of the same universe.
However, in those 600+ hours of content, there are a surprisingly small number of crossovers and tie-ins. Original Series actors reprise their roles in the films and in future series on occasion. Kirk appears in Star Trek Generations somehow. Voyager left from Deep Space 9 to begin its voyage, and features a guest appearance by at least one DS9 actor in the pilot, with a couple more in the final seasons. Both Voyager and DS9 deal with the Maquis rebellion to some extent. Janeway appears in Star Trek: Nemesis as an admiral giving Picard his mission following her promotion after Voyager’s return to the Federation. The Borg serve as a major antagonist for half the TV series—the Borg who travel back in time in Star Trek: First Contact even appear in Star Trek: Enterprise. But those are the major crossovers and tie-ins I know of between all the different Star Trek installments. Not a lot considering the amount of content we’re talking about.
Why is this? One of the biggest reasons is probably that it takes place throughout the galaxy, meaning that the various ships and stations don’t need to cross paths a lot. Another reason is that there is a 300+-year time span between the earliest events of Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Nemesis, so many of the movies and 2 of the series are not concurrent with the rest. So there really aren’t a lot of opportunities for crossover with some of the content.
However, Next Generation, Voyager, and DS9 all take place around the same time (Next Generation concludes right before Voyager begins, and the Next Generation movies take place during that time, with DS9 beginning during the final seasons of Next Generation and running most of the same time as Voyager). However, there is virtually no crossover of actors and plots between the shows. Voyager deals with the Maquis in the “Pilot,” but that plot is put to rest within a couple episodes and only mentioned in passing in the final couple seasons. Aside from an appearance by DS9 in the Voyager pilot, the 2 series don’t reference each other at all until the end of their respective runs from what I understand. Given that these three shows happened in such close proximity to each other, why is this the case? Why did they decide to send Voyager to the other side of the galaxy in the first 10 minutes of the series instead of allowing it to interact with the DS9 cast more? Why are Worf and O’Brien the only regular characters on Next Generation to make the jump to Deep Space Nine? Why is Q the only character to appear in all 3 series more than a couple times?
If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s just easier to keep all the series separate because then you don’t run into the kind of continuity errors that plague other interconnected franchises like the X-Men franchise (which is only 7 movies in with no TV shows and couldn’t even figure its own chronology out after using a giant “reset” button in Days of Future Past!). It’s easy to take an omnipotent character like Q and have him jump between shows like he’s playing hopscotch; it’s a lot harder to put a Next Generation character into Voyager without running into complications—like what’s this character doing here, and where’s the Enterprise? In order to keep the series all separate, they reduced the opportunities for crossover to virtually nil by shooting Voyager across the galaxy and keeping DS9 pretty well planted in one location while the Next Generation crew of the Enterprise ran around doing Enterprise-y things in the Alpha Quadrant. As it is, they already have continuity issues with things as simple as "what's the scale for 'Warp'?" That changes between the series.
If a massive franchise like Star Trek avoided crossovers to such an extent between most of their series, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Marvel does the same with its movies referencing the TV series.
There are plenty of good business reasons to keep the crossovers and references going from the movies to the TV shows, and they don’t involve a “war” between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV. However, as the shows continue to flourish and establish themselves in the MCU, I expect there to be more of a reciprocal relationship between them. Could this lead to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team showing up during Civil War? Possibly, but I doubt it. I would expect it to happen more over the course of the Infinity War movies, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. very obviously filling in the gaps between the two movies. Following that, I expect a lot of the themes (and perhaps some characters) from AoS’s introduction of the Inhumans to carry over into The Inhumans movie.
Why do you think there aren’t more TV references in the Marvel movies? Do you think there should be more? What would your idea movie/TV crossover event (in a movie) look like?
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