Though Marvel's ambitious new foray into primetime TV is definitely expansive, it's still got some restrictions.
While out promoting Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. throughout the last week, showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanharoen talked about a lot of things, including the villains the S.H.I.E.L.D. team might face, how much tie-in potential the show has in relation to The Avengers, and how the series will fit into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. While they remained tight-lipped about most things, including potential enemies as the series goes forward, the showrunners did confirm that some things are definitely off limits for the show, including one particular word that's been a big moneymaker for another film studio.
"We can't ever say 'mutant,' Tancharoen said, when asked about the rules the show must abide bid. The word "mutant" is obviously a reference to the X-Men franchise, which has been dominated by 20th Century Fox for years, so it's no surprise to hear that particular word is off limits to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Jed Whedon then elaborated, noting that the word "mutant" is part of a larger system Marvel has devised to make sure the show stays within its particular parameters, including where the series fits in the Marvel movie timeline.
"There's a database that's tailored to our show with the properties we can use as well as the properties that are owned by other studios and things that are flagged for major franchises," Whedon said. "There are certain areas we can't go because we don't want to step on the toes of the movies. We've had free reign. There are certain rules in terms of the Marvel brand. Marvel is very focused on being grounded -- and it is our world with the one twist that they're superheroes. There's no Metropolis, there's no Gotham. It's New York City and Chicago, and in the cinematic universe the process of powers is pretty young. They say it's only been a couple years since Iron Man in terms of our timeline in the universe. So the idea in our world that powers exist is new to the population and SHIELD's job description. It used to be keeping those things secret and that has now changed, so we're dealing with some of that."
So, it seems the series has very clearly definied boundaries as it begins to expand Marvel's cinematic success into the realm of television, and that's definitely understandable when you consider how big the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue to get as even more movies roll out. What do you think? Will Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. be able to continue to exist in this tightly controlled world, or will all these rules be too much to handle?