Although it has taken a few decades for them to climb the echelons, Marvel is now established as the leading brand when it comes to superhero cinema and TV. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), they have crafted a billion dollar sidearm in the comic book genre, and have taken the globe by storm. Culturally significant and important, their characters and universes have never been as popular as they are today, with modern technology providing the tools to bring these fantasy worlds to life in a way never imagined.
However, while the MCU itself encompasses the entire cinematic side of their dominating venture, they also have a highly successful TV universe in the Netflix MCU. These small-screen characters exist in an almost-alternate universe, where only namechecks and sly nods exist to connect the two. Much has been made about connecting the two universes in some way, and as Screen Rant has revealed, many fans are waiting with bated breath to see it happen. While this may seem like a simple crossover to some, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has confirmed that it wouldn’t be an easy transition, and is very unlikely to happen. At the moment, anyway.
In an interview with Collider, Kevin Feige was asked his thoughts about the Netflix MCU — the TV arena that currently homes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the incoming The Defenders and Punisher series — and if the characters could ever make the transition to the big screen. The studio boss confirmed the following.
“I think it’s extremely impressive what Netflix has done and it will be the same answer I always give, which is, ‘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. 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 screentime, 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.”
While Feige has nothing to do with the workings of the Netflix shows, he was quick to showcase their success. His major quibble with a potential crossover between the two universes is a simple one: he believes it could be a disservice to the characters. It’s a fair point — a character needs time to shine on the screen, and on Netflix the aforementioned characters do that; they have ample screen time, a dark canvas, and an entire series to develop before our very eyes. This reels the viewers in, and brings them into their world.
The same can be said for their movie counterparts. The Avengers are a prime example. Each character has been given time to shine, to develop, and to become pivotal cultural icons to their fans. This may have taken several years and a dozen movies to construct, something that is not an easy task to complete, but all of this hard work could be undone by casting the characters in an ill-advised cameo that lasts only a few seconds. It’s fine to try this across the movies, because it sets up future plot lines and events — as all Avengers movies have done to date — but transitioning to the TV universe, where the characters have nothing to do with one another, seems a little weak.
Sure, seeing Spider-Man and Daredevil crossing the rooftops together would be a cool moment, and it happened in the comics, but if it doesn’t enhance the story and has the chance to demerit the characters, then it’s just not worth the hassle. A cameo that doesn’t have any meaning and acts only to satisfy the fans is unrewarding and distracting to the audience. This was never more clear than in Captain America: Civil War — Black Panther and Spider-Man were introduced in a way that didn’t affect the plot, but also gave us enough time with the characters. We wanted to see more of them, but also enjoyed the movie too. It didn’t ruin the experience in any way, but the same can’t be said about a potential TV/movie crossover. Let’s also remember that the Netflix shows are more adult in theme, something that cannot be said about the MCU. This itself could complicate and effectively ruin the credibility of either set of characters.
At the moment, it’s too much of a risk. Marvel has done the near-impossible: they have established two successful parallel universes in both cinema and TV that can include a whole host of their popular characters. Do people want a crossover? That’s down to personal opinion, but with success running high on both sides, it’s best just to leave them separate for now.
Who knows, in a few phases time, maybe bringing Punisher and Luke Cage onto Tony Stark’s radar might be a good idea. Maybe having Spider-Man and Daredevil team up could provide the fans with a great buddy movie. As it currently stands, and as Feige has stated, the MCU would be too complicated and crammed. Avengers: Infinity War and its expansive story arc are already filled with popular characters and adding more would overload the movies. As a result, it may be some considerable time until the fans get their wish.
[Featured Image by Netflix]