At NY Comic-Com last month, Clark Gregg–who stars as Agent Phil Coulson on Agents of SHIELD–had this to say on the subject of cross-overs between the MCU properties of Netflix and ABC TV; “At some point, I think it will start to cross more. Now that we’re at 10 O’clock, we’re heading in a darker direction, which means it will fit a little bit better with the other properties. So there’s going to be lots of crossovers this year with Netflix!”
The MCU extends from the theater screen to network television to Netflix but there aren’t many x-overs…yet! The Marvel films rarely mention or directly connect to their small screen counterparts. Chloe Bennet herself, who plays Quake/Daisy/Skye in Agents of SHIELD has complained about this. During a fan Q & A at Wizard World, she said, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe loves to pretend that everything is connected, but then they don’t acknowledge our show at all. So, I would love to do that, but they don’t seem too keen on that idea.” Also, Vincent D’onofrio—who plays Wilson Fisk on Daredevil—has expressed his desire to appear in a future Spider-Man film.
The probable reason that we don’t see a big-to-small screen crossover is due to the length of time it takes to make a big budget film. It takes 2-3 years–from the initial writing of a movie script until the completion of filming–for a major super-hero movie to get made. This is one reason why you don’t see characters from Marvel’s TV shows and Netflix shows appearing in the MCU movies. The other reason is that Marvel Studio’s big boss Kevin Feige (who controls all the Marvel theatrical movies) and Jeph Loeb (who controls all the small screen properties) reportedly don’t work together very cohesively and don’t like to share their characters with each other.
While we did see Jamie Alexander show up on TV as Asgardian shield-maiden Sif and Samuel Jackson popped in briefly as former SHIELD director Nick Fury, don’t expect to see any of the lead characters like Thor or Captain America or Doctor Strange on your TV screen. Fiege has shown reluctance to this idea because it would devalue and diminish the film characters if they appeared on TV. While not ruling crossovers out totally, Fiege said, “It all depends on timing. It all depends on how to do it because I don’t think what anybody wants to do is have such important characters show up for one second.” He adds, “Black Panther and Spider-Man to me are the high bar in Civil War of how you can bring in new characters into something. Vision and Ultron, Wanda and Pietro in Ultron. And it takes a lot of screen time and it takes a lot of work. Infinity War has a lot of people in it already. So it just depends on how we could figure it out.” Therefore, there are no planned x-overs between big screen and small screen properties, at the moment.
So what about crossovers between their ABC show Agents of SHIELD and their Netflix shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the upcoming Iron Fist, the Defenders and the Punisher? Fans would certainly be excited to see someone like the Punisher pop up on Agents of SHIELD. The idea has already been teased by one of the actors involved.
Gregg’s statement about “lots of crossovers” hasn’t been verified by Marvel, Disney, ABC or Netflix. However, when Jeph Loeb was asked the question at Comic-Con, he cryptically answered “That’s a fair question. Here’s a fair answer: stay tuned.” Maybe Mr. Gregg knows something we don’t or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on his part. Loeb’s answer teases the possibility. Gregg has said he would love for Luke Cage and Iron Fist to team up with the SHIELD agents in Season Four.
The Netflix shows are building a large continuity for themselves, including supporting characters like Misty Knight, Electra, Claire Temple, Stick and villains like the Kingpin, the Purple Man, the Absorbing Man and Cottonmouth. Certainly SHIELD would be interested in some of these people, considering that the current season has them tracking down super powered beings who might be a threat to the world. Considering the Sokovia Accords and the Inhuman registration, it would make sense for SHIELD to check up on characters like Jessica or Luke. (Wouldn’t Luke’s very public brawl with Diamondback raise a few eyebrows at SHIELD HQ?) And wouldn’t SHIELD want to see someone like Kilgrave the Purple Man locked up safely? Maybe SHIELD could give Misty her bionic arm. (Although she still has two real arms in Luke Cage.)
With the Ghost Rider now a part of Agents of SHIELD, wouldn’t he fit in well with the darker tone of the Netflix Universe? Deathlok would also be a good fit to pop up on one of the Netflix shows. Conversely, a story where SHIELD had to deal with the Hand would be interesting. This would be especially helpful for Agents of SHIELD which has dropped down in the ratings this year. When the series began, the excitement of possible crossovers to the larger MCU helped give it a lot of buzz. The show has lost that buzz since it’s been cut-off from the MCU, so linking it to the Netflix shows would likely cause the ratings to rise. If we fans can’t see SHIELD meet the Avengers, at least we can be excited to see them meeting the Defenders.
Hopefully, Gregg’s statement is true and some crossovers are in the works because it would open up many possibilities for storylines. It would also help solidify the future for Agents of SHIELD and give fans something new to be excited about.