The original concept behind Marvel Studios’ TV projects was that they would be an important part of the shared universe, both affected by and affecting their cinematic counterparts. The plan looked pretty steady for while, too, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. running plotlines exploring the consequences of what was happening in the movies and even featuring guest appearances by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Then came the Netflix shows, and aside from Daredevil season 1 being concerned with the rebuilding of New York after The Avengers and a couple of off-hand lines here and there, they essentially became a separate mini-universe of their own, to the point of the Avengers tower never even appearing in wide-shots of the city. Now, season 2 of Luke Cage has continued that proud tradition of pretending the movies aren’t happening by completely ignoring the apocalyptic ending of Avengers: Infinity War.
The official reason for this is that synchronizing the events of the TV shows and the movies is simply too difficult. But the truth is that behind the scenes, there’s been a battle raging as fierce as anything that’s happened on screen. In the blue corner is Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios and father of the MCU. And in the red is Ike Perlmutter, Chairman and CEO of Marvel Entertainment.
The two reportedly 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. Feige was reportedly particularly disgusted that when discussing the replacement of Terrence Howard by Don Cheadle as James Rhodes in Iron Man 2, Perlmutter claimed that black people “all look the same.” This was followed by three African-American Marvel executives departing the company and seeking financial settlements.
The situation soon developed into serious animosity, compounded by Feige’s liberal political leanings and Perlmutter’s increasing involvement in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign (he’s now one of Trump’s closest advisors and rumored for a cabinet position). With Feige’s pet projects raking in billions at the box office, he clearly won the battle and Perlmutter was sidelined by Disney and put in charge of the less prestigious TV projects (which are largely overseen by Jeph Loeb, anyways). But the damage was done, with the rancor between the men so poisonous that Feige vowed that Marvel Television would never crossover in any meaningful way with Marvel Studios movies as long as Perlmutter was around.
And that’s why, as predicted, Luke Cage (and the latest season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) completely skipped over dealing with the world-changing ending of Infinity War.