When it was first announced that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was expanding to encompass several TV shows, fans greeted the news with glee. After all, based on what we’d seen in the movies, we expected a decently connected world. Perhaps Tony Stark could pop in to give the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. some advice we thought, or maybe Hawkeye and Daredevil could team up on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. Well, that’s not quite how it turned out…
For a long time it seemed that the TV shows and the movies were only technically in the same universe. Sure, you’d get the odd mention of the Battle of New York in The Avengers or off-handed comments about ‘the big green guy,’ but a full-on crossover event appeared to be a no-go. But with Thanos wiping out half of the MCU at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War they’d surely have to deal with it at some point, right?
Well, in a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb talked about the challenges in synchronizing what’s happening on the small screen with the big screen. First, he addressed complaints that Thanos’ Snap had been ignored:
“Specifically to that [The Snap], what we’ve said is that only we don’t want to spoil what’s in Avengers 4. Our story comes out before then so in that particular case, when there’s something that cataclysmic, we’ve said that our story takes place before The Snap.”
He then went on to use Hulu’s The Runaways as an example of why the shows can’t crossover, saying that he likes “a show that can stay on its own.”
“It can reference the rest of the world, but it’s true to teenagers — they’re not interested in what Tony Stark is doing this week or what Matt Murdock is doing this week but they might be interested in a couple of kids who live down in New Orleans and what’s going on there.”
Very diplomatic. But those paying close attention to the behind the scenes drama at Marvel will know about the rancor between Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Marvel Entertainment President Ike Perlmutter. The two have repeatedly clashed on political grounds, with Feige eager to introduce a more obscure and diverse cast of heroes to the films (a philosophy that’s resulted in mega-hits like Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther), while Perlmutter argued for more traditional white, male heroes.
With Feige’s pet projects raking in billions at the box office, he won the battle and Perlmutter was sidelined by Disney and put in charge of the less prestigious TV projects (with Loeb overseeing the creative aspects). But the damage was done, with the animosity between the men is so poisonous that Feige has vowed that Marvel Television would never crossover in any meaningful way with Marvel Studios movies as long as Perlmutter was around. And what a shame that is.