Marvel Seems Determined To Avoid Exploring Avengers: Infinity War’s Ending
Of all the crazy events that’ve happened in the MCU to date – ranging from aliens invading New York City, to the Norse Gods turning out to be real or a technologically advanced African country appearing out of nowhere – the ‘snap’ at the end of Avengers: Infinity War has to be the biggest, with Thanos making good on his promise to wipe out half of all sentient life.
Exploring the psychological consequences of this sounds like incredibly fertile dramatic territory, right? I mean, just how does the population at large cope with something as monumental as this – it’s the kind of event that would shake society to its core. There must be thousands of potentially amazing stories to be told in this new MCU, which makes it frustrating and disappointing that Marvel Studios seems determined to ignore them.
Firstly, let’s talk movies. The two MCU films due out before Avengers 4 presumably fixes the whole mess are Ant-Man And The Wasp, which is set just after Captain America: Civil War and Captain Marvel, which is set in the 1990s. In all fairness, though, the plots of these movies were decided a long time in advance, and presumably Marvel was wary of spoiling Infinity War‘s big twist.
But their TV shows ignoring it is a little more annoying. You’d think the more down to earth focus of the Netflix series would be a perfect vehicle to explore how cosmic superhero drama affects normal (well, normal-ish) people on the street. However, it’s apparently so difficult to sync up the production schedules that they can’t do it. Or at least, that’s according to Infinity War writer Christopher Markus:
A lot of it is a pace thing, in that we have to have this thing done so much ahead of time, that they might get all the way through that ‘Defenders’ show before we start shooting, or certainly before anything comes out. So we don’t know where they’re going to be. It’s very hard, even logistically, to keep even the movie characters synced up; it’s nearly impossible, given the speed that TV cranks out changes.
Then there’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which actually looked set to deal with the Infinity War fallout in the finale of its fifth season. We went as far in the timeline as Thanos’ Black Order attacking New York and then the show just ended before we got to the good stuff. If the studio’s flagship series isn’t the place to deal with smaller scale impacts to the MCU status quo, where else are you going to do it?
Rumbling away behind this is the notorious power struggle between MCU execs Kevin Feige and Ike Perlmutter. The two men are forever at odds, with Feige publicly stating his intentions to fight for a more diverse and experimental franchise (resulting in hits like Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy) and Ike Perlmutter being more conservative to the point of being in consideration for a place in Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Feige’s succession of Ike has put him on top for now, with Perlmutter consigned to the less prominent TV division, but the bad blood between the men has apparently put the kibosh on Marvel Films and Marvel TV ever crossing over in any meaningful manner.
All of this kind of makes the claim that the MCU would be a single connected universe ring a little hollow. Right now, the films and shows are essentially separate and getting further away from each other by the second – and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon. All this means that, in all likelihood, our one chance of seeing the fascinating consequences of the snap lie in next year’s Avengers 4. And that’s just disappointing.