The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown to become a powerhouse media franchise. What started off as an overly-ambitious idea from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has literally changed the landscape of cinema, inspiring numerous other high-level studios to invest in a similar shared universe for their fictional properties.
In 2013 and 2015, the MCU set the seeds for its next growth of expansion with the debut of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil: television. Since the days of Smallville, TV has proven to be an appropriate medium for comic book-based properties as its serialized format provides better avenues for consistent storytelling than the crammed nature of movies. By tapping into this wealth of viewership, while simultaneously tying it back to their movie universe, the MCU grew significantly. With the Netflix side of things especially, audiences were treated to a darker side of the Marvel Universe. Series like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage explored themes that the films had been avoiding, including urban crime and sexual violence, building up their own following in the process.
Unfortunately for Feige and all the other heads at Disney and Marvel, this increased fan base, while providing integral support for the TV side of the MCU, also created a simultaneous desire for one thing: a crossover with the movies. In the comics, characters such as Daredevil and Iron Fist constantly interact with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, and considering these shows are all set in the same fictional universe, it would make sense for them to join up with the Avengers, especially with the advent of the upcoming The Defenders, which will establish all these characters as one big team.
Feige, to his credit, has been brutally honest with people wanting a genuine answer to this question. In September 2015, he noted that scheduling for the two different sides of the MCU was very meticulous and that getting the plot developments of each individual series to line up was difficult, to say the least. In October 2016, Feige reaffirmed his stance, stating that he didn't want to bring these characters into the fold without a good plan, as something like a small cameo would come off as disappointing compared to the integration of cinematic characters like Spider-Man and Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War.
With both of these official statements, it is fair to say that Feige is right. As we have seen with Benedict Cumberbatch in Avengers: Infinity War, scheduling on its own is incredibly difficult, but having to properly incorporate these shows, and their histories, into the film side without ruining the progress of the overarching narrative is more difficult than it sounds. As much as fans would like a small cameo, it would be more fun to see a full-fledged sequence with The Defenders and Avengers.
Luckily for people, though, Feige has once again given hope that something could happen. Speaking to i09, he had this to say about the possibility of a crossover.
"....there are a lot of TV shows being made, and hopefully we'll continue to make a lot of movies. At some point, there's going to be a crossover. Crossover, repetition, or something."In other words, it is bound to happen sometime in the future. However, it is that last sentence that is worth focusing on, as Feige's use of the word "repetition" indicates a catch to the inevitable crossover: it may not happen in this version of the MCU. The fact of the matter is actors age, and thus the need to get someone to succeed them for upcoming sequels will come up. Could Feige be implying that a reboot is going to occur or that the actors themselves will get replaced? This would not be too far-fetched, as it has not only already happened with past stars like Terrence Howard and Ed Norton, but Charlie Cox, who portrays Matt Murdock, admitted that Marvel could recast his role in the movies.
Regardless, we hope nothing of the sort happens as we are perfectly fine with the amazing cast Marvel has assembled.
[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]