The Defenders was fantastic! If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you doing? Go watch it! It’s only 8 hours long, and I really wish I could have all 13 that the rest of Marvel Netflix shows had. The mix of characters through the use of music and primarily color was great as they led up to them meeting in the multi-chromatic chinese restaurant, as well as the new color scheme of Alexandra being all white. Many of the issues I had with Iron Fist were addressed, including how whiny and stupid Danny Rand acts throughout the show. I had two moments in the show where I had to pause because I was laughing so much, where Danny is punching Luke super hard over and over, with no result, and the amazing line “If you touch me like that again I’ll punch you so hard you’ll see.”
But that isn’t what this article is about. I want to know why not only will MCU movies not talk about MCU TV, but why the latter is scared to mention the former.
In The Defenders, they mention “The Incident” a.k.a. the Chitauri Invasion, but fail to mention anything else. In the Chinese restaurant, when Danny is suggesting they team up, it would have been so easy for someone to say “We aren’t the Avengers,” but they didn’t, for no reason.
There could have also been some tension regarding how these are unregistered heroes now that the Sokovia Accords are in full effect, but not even the detective who hates our heroes for being vigilantes, he doesn’t say anything about it. Would have been a perfect one-liner to throw in.
Its been established in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 that Stan Lee is an informant for the Watchers, and yet, over the past two years, he is still just a literal poster-boy for the NYPD, even though Stan Lee has been many other characters in Lower Manhattan before. Wouldn’t someone recognize all the other Stan Lee’s as this super popular cop?
At the beginning of the show, we see Luke Cage leaving from Seagate Prison, which is the same prison that Justin Hammer, The Madarin, Wilson Fisk, and Frank Castle are all imprisoned, but you would only really know that if you saw the Marvel One-Shot All Hail The King.
Speaking of Luke Cage, when he is watching over Danny being tied up, he is reading the New York Bulletin, the paper that Karen Page works at, but why not the Daily Bugle, now that Spider-Man is officially in the MCU. Sure the Bulletin is a part of this show, but it could have reinforced the idea that these are in fact connected to the films, since obviously it is connected to Daredevil.
The last bit is more of a fun nod, but I recognized the rooftop where Madame Gao and Alexandra meet, and at first thought it was where Gao and Fisk met in Daredevil, but after some research, learned it is actually from the first Spider-Man film where he saves Mary Jane and drops her off on a rooftop.
It’s not just The Defenders that seems be bad at acknowledging the MCU films, but all of the Netflix shows.
In one of the final shots with Matt in the gym his father once trained in, a poster reads “CREEL V. MURDOCK.” “Creel” refers to Crusher Creel, aka the Absorbing Man, who appeared Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This also could have been epic, because its the same gym that Steve Rogers is working out in at the beginning of Avengers.
Daredevil Season 2
The Punisher shoots up many members of the biker gang “The Dogs of Hell”, which is also seen in Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. when Lorelei mind controls the bikers to be her personal army.
When Matt and Foggy are interns for Landman and Zack, they are put on a case defending the Roxxon Oil Corporation. In Agent Carter, Agent Carter has a mission at a Roxxon refinery, as well as other Roxxon locations being used later in the series. In Iron Man, we see the logo for Roxxon in the background of a fight with Obadiah Stane. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark has to fight some Roxxon Armigers, which are battle platforms, also during his Grand Prix race, another driver is sponsored by Roxxon Oil. Also, in the Marvel One-Shot A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Thor’s Hammer, Coulson stops by at a Roxxon gas station and stops a robbery.
In Jessica Jones we get a little more of a connection, but it really isn’t much. We see a little kid wearing captain america costume, and Jessica mentions “The big green guy and the flag waver.” A very disappointing moment for viewers, as I’m sure everyone in that universe knows the name Captain America.
As mentioned before, Luke Cage is imprisoned at Seagate Prison, but it’s never said outright that he was there with the other supervillains.
Luke passes by a kid multiple times who is selling DVD footage of the incident, but still doesn’t actually say any names. Someone mentions a “Magic Hammer” no doubt a reference to Mjolnir. Someone does, however, say that Luke Cage is like “Harlem’s Captain America” which is a nice actual name drop.
The only connection that is story based, is Diamondback’s gear, which is made by HammerTech, from Justin Hammer, the villain from Iron Man 2.
The only actual connection is a mention of “The Incredible green guy.” Even though Rand Enterprises probably has many corporate competitors, including Stark Industries, Pym Technologies, and HammerTech.
Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.
Once we get to the ABC shows, however, we see some actual characters crossing over including Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Agent Sitwell, and Agent Blake as major Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. Later we see Lady Sif from Thor make an appearance, as well as Peggy Carter, Dum Dum Dugan and Jim Morita from the Howling Commandos.
Agent Carter also has multiple characters from the films, including Agent Carter herself, Howard Stark, Dum Dum Dugan, and Arnim Zola from Captain America, but we also see Anton Vanko, the father of Whiplash from Iron Man 2.
So if the shows are occasionally making an effort to connect to the movies, why can’t the movies be bothered to do the same? In Civil War when Tony Stark is talking to Peter Parker about being a street level hero, there could have been mention of all the ruckus going on in Hells Kitchen. In Doctor Strange‘s lessons, he could have heard of a different form of magic coming from a place called K’un-Lun. In Winter Soldier, when we see/hear a list of potential targets from the HYDRA superweapon, he mentions Stephen Strange, and thats it. He could have said “Some blind lawyer from Hells Kitchen,” but he didn’t. I’m sure the Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. was implied, but it still just seemed missing.
I really hope that since Infinity War is a culmination of everything the MCU has been building up towards since Iron Man in 2008, we can see a glimpse of something. Maybe while the major heroes are in space with the Guardians fighting Thanos, we can cut to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Defenders cleaning up the mess that will no doubt be left on the ground during all of that, a la The Thunderbolts during the Infinity crossover comic book event. It would only have to be a quick 10 seconds, 5 for the Agents, and 5 for the Defenders, and it would be a beautiful moment. (Edit: They did not, and show no evidence of doing so in Endgame)
Cast and Crew
But how does that cast and crew feel about the idea? It seems that if they are primarily on the tv shows, they would love to collide, but if they are primarily on the movie side, they don’t seem too excited for the idea.
“I’d love that too. Those Easter eggs are thrilling to me. As they are to all of you guys, the fans. Sadly, Elden [Foggy] and myself have not been invited to the conversations that take place where they make those decisions. So, until we are invited to those conversations, we have no idea what’s going to happen.” — Charlie Cox
“I am kind of, like, ready for Steve Rogers to make an appearance on our show. I’d be ok with that. And like, where’s Romanoff? Where’s the Avengers? Or maybe Robert Downy Jr. That would be kinda nice. … I don’t know. People who make movies for Marvel, why don’t you acknowledge what happens on our show? Why don’t you guys go ask them that? Cause they don’t seem to care! … I would love [crossing over]. The Marvel Cinematic Universe loves to pretend that everything is connected, but then they don’t acknowledge our show at all. So, I would love to do that, but they don’t seem to keen on that idea.” — Chloe Bennet
“What we do is really unique…We’re adult kind of oriented. We’re not PG-13. We’re not really for the mass audiences, crowd pleasing, family oriented. We have sex scenes. We have, you know, adult situations, and while I think it’d be nice to be in the films, I don’t know if we want to dilute what we’re doing that makes us very unique. That being said, you know Marvel, if they can make it work I’m sure it’d be nice, but it’s really scheduling. They schedule movies years in advance, we’re shooting TV series year round. It’s very tough to just kind of make things just work the way you want to because it’s just so much going on.” —Mike Colter
“Maybe someday. No plans right now. Maybe someday, but we have a lot of characters in the MCU, and one of the things that is so special about those characters on the Netflix shows is their dynamic together. They are all combining to become The Defenders later this year and are doing their own thing. … The future’s a long time. So, the truth is, I don’t really know, but 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.” — Kevin Feige
“Different universes, different worlds, different companies, different designs. Kevin Feige is very specific about how he wants the Marvel Universe to be seen in the film world. It wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t work at all.” —Anthony Mackie