No Marvel Crossovers: Why Marvel TV Superheroes Will Never Make It To The Big Screen

For fans of comic books and comic book movies alike, a perennial question is why the Marvel TV superheroes never seem to make it to the big screen. Just why won’t Marvel allow amazing characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage to make the jump from their Netflix television series to big-budget summer blockbusters – even if it’s just as a cameo? The answer to this question is fairly complex and partly involves Disney/Marvel studio’s interoffice politics.

Marvel's Jessica Jones.
Marvel's Jessica Jones. [Image Via Netflix]

Before going into the details, it’s important to note that – technically speaking – all of Marvel’s television shows, including all of its Netflix series and Agents of SHIELD, are in the same universe with the superheroes in The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. We’ve seen evidence of this in the series, with the occasional mention of the Hulk by Luke Cage or Daredevil’s references to the Battle of New York.

And Agents of SHIELD on ABC actually has a major character from the movies in the person of Agent Phil Coulson. As pointed out by The Verge, they even sometimes have guest star superheroish characters – minor-league ones – from the movies, such as Nick Fury or Maria Hill. But none of the characters from the series have ever made it to the films or – in the case of Coulson – back to the films.

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson.
Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. [Image Via ABC].

The principal reason for this one way barrier is Kevin Feige. As devout fans of Marvel films can tell you, Kevin Feige is essentially the Lord High Executioner of Marvel films. What he says goes. Feige has cemented this position over the years with success after success. Many people attribute the vast sums that Marvel has taken in over recent years to the vision and organizational skill that Feige provides.

However, Feige didn’t always have such absolute control. At one time, he reported to CEO Ike Perlmutter, who in turn reported to the bosses at Disney. However, the working relationship between these two men was far from smooth. According to rumors, they disagreed about a great many things. For one thing, Perlmutter is well-known for loving tight purse strings. But Fiege didn’t appreciate such limitations.

Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige attends the San Diego Comic-Con.
Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige attends the San Diego Comic-Con. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

As pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter, Feige eventually convinced the higher-ups at Disney to allow him to break away from Perlmutter’s control. The result was that – like the end of a very bad marriage – Feige and Perlmutter divided the children. Feige was given control of the films, while Perlmutter maintained control of the various television series.

At this point, it became much more difficult to cross the streams between Marvel movies and Marvel television series. Even though they are still supposedly in the same universe, both divisions at Marvel/Disney began to diverge from one another in small but important ways.

Actors Henry Simmons, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg attend the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" panel during Comic-Con.
Actors Henry Simmons, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg attend the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" panel during Comic-Con. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

For example, Agents of SHIELD – which used to drop references to Marvel films on an almost weekly basis – suddenly set up its own storyline involving characters known as Inhumans that had virtually nothing to do with the Marvel film universe. In fact, the Inhumans film that Marvel was planning was canceled almost immediately.

Using another example from Agents of SHIELD, when the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie was released, there were some references in the show to the things happening in the film. But nothing that happened in the series had any impact on the film at all. Even though Phil Colson was now Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., it was the former director — Nick Fury — who, in deus ex machina fashion, showed up with a Helicarrier to save the day. No mention was made in the film of the no-longer-dead Phil.

SHIELD Helicarrier.
SHIELD Helicarrier. [Image Via Marvel].

So, because of personal disagreements, structural changes at Disney/Marvel, and the slow drifting apart of the movie and television universes, it’s highly unlikely that any of the Marvel TV superheroes will ever make an appearance – even a cameo – in the Marvel films. Even in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War – in which almost every Marvel character ever created seems to be making an appearance – we shouldn’t expect any of our favorite TV characters to show up.

[Image Via Netflix]