The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War, is one of the most ambitious crossover events of all time — something that has spawned countless memes. While the film is set to connect almost the entirety of the MCU's films, there will be no inclusion of the MCU's television shows.
Slashfilm has posted a snippet from a recent interview with the Russo brothers (the directors of Infinity War), and they make it plain that no television heroes will be crossing over to the big screen. No Agents, no Runaways, no Defenders, no nothing.
"We have considered everything. But the trick is thst we already have at least sixty characters with whom we must tell a story," the Russos said, adding, "...it's hard enough to communicate with Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, Scott Derrickson, Peyton Reed and James Gunn at the same time, not to add all the showrunners and TV crews to this. The latter is also led by totally different people. So it's practically impossible. Out job is to focus on the Marvel film world and offer a satisfying climax."
If you were holding out hope that Chloe Bennet's Quake might join the fight against Thanos, it would seem that it is time to manage your expectations.
One interesting aspect of the quote from the Russos is that they are working with the various directors that are tied to some of their heroes. Thor, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Scott Lang, and the Guardians all had the leaders of their solo ventures on set, presumably to keep their respective tones consistent. It was likely a practical nightmare, and even the thought of adding the television personnel into the mix gives us a headache.
Still, the MCU has long waved the flag of "#ItsAllConnected." Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the biggest tie-in to the MCU by a mile, but it's connection has always been a one-way street, with the shows referencing the films. The closest we ever got to things going the other way was Nick Fury's line about "old friends" in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Though the gone-too-soon Agent Carter also tied heavily into the films, the Netflix-based shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders) seem less connected than ever, except to themselves. Would we like The Defenders (minus Danny) to pop up alongside Quake and Fitzsimmons in an Avengers film? Of course, but it's not gonna happen...at least not yet.
The Russos are only talking about this film, and likely the next one, Avengers 4. Though our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and street-level vigilantes (all four of whom work in a NYC where Avengers Tower is always absent from the skyline, except in promotional posters) will not be appearing next to the Avengers, the door is still open for movies in Phase 4 of the MCU. Spider-Man will have more films, and what would be more fun that seeing Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin pop up in one of those movies? He's a longtime Spidey nemesis, after all. Unlikely? Probably. Impossible? We'll see.
It doesn't even have to be about physical appearances— just a reference or a namedrop here or there would be more than enough. That wouldn't require any further personnel on set, and it would go a long way. The Avengers still think that Phil Coulson is dead, after all. He's not doing all that well at the moment, but he's...not dead. Though the films will not reference the shows, there's still a likelihood that the shows will reference the films, and that responsibility (if there is one) will likely fall to our S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. No one else on television seems to care about anything past the Battle of New York — a Mad Titan trying to undo half of reality would have repercussions, but maybe Jessica Jones is blacked out while it happens.
If the MCU truly is "all connected" then it's time for the movies to share in that connection. Or not. Avengers: Infinity War will probably do just fine either way — though he isn't deeply involved in the film, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has already started to praise the epic, tweeting, "Avengers: Infinity War is INCREDIBLE. Wow!!!! And that's all I'll say for the time being."
If audiences are even half as enthusiastic as Gunn, then they likely won't care that the film doesn't have a Lockjaw reference. We'll know for sure when it opens on April 26.