Posted by James Thomas @TheIntersect
Writer, Graphic Designer, Husband, Father, Geek and Aspiring Scripter of Moving Pictures
James Thomas

At this point, it's pretty safe to say that the entertainment juggernaut of the #Disney-owned #Marvel Cinematic Universe (or #MCU) is an unstoppable powerhouse, with blockbuster hit after blockbuster hit unfolding on theater screens multiple times a year with no end in sight. Likewise, the television division, which includes Marvel's #AgentsOfSHIELD on ABC and the massively popular shows on #Netflix, including #Daredevil and #LukeCage, are an equal force to be reckoned with.

However, despite existing in the same universe, the two divisions haven't exactly been cooperating with each other ever since the film division — lead by MCU mastermind Kevin Feige, and Marvel Television, under the flags of Isaac Perlmutter and Jeph Loeb — split from each other. The shows still take place in the same universe — and often reference each other in less than direct ways — but there haven't been any guest stars or cameos ever since the split.

Now, this isn't exactly an Earth-shattering moment by any means. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still holding its own without the films, as made evident by this season's inclusion of #GhostRider and, likewise, the films have always managed to go on without AoS, as they don't even acknowledge the show's existence. Similarly, the Netflix shows are great, self-contained stories that fit nicely within the gaps between movies and haven't really needed any direct involvement in the films. The allusions to "The Incident" and references to iron suits and magic hammers are all they need to hold that weave together.

Daredevil especially came into its own with a captivating second season that introduced us to classic comic characters Elektra, The Hand and the new MCU version of The Punisher (Jon Bernthal), who is now set to receive his own show in 2017.

As Fans, Is That Really Enough?

It can't be denied that one of the MCU's biggest assets has been the crossover and the guest star appearances (or, at least cameos) of other characters. Ever since The Avengers came out, fans haven't really seemed interested in the solo adventure. Arguably, two of the best movies that Marvel has released since #TheAvengers#CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier and #CivilWar — were basically Avengers 1.5 and Avengers 2.5, respectively.

Even the new characters being introduced to the MCU in their own solo films cannot do so without a major Avengers character making a guest appearance to ensure that the fan interest is there for these new, non-Robert Downey Jr. characters.

Scott Lang Meeting Sam Wilson in ANT-MAN
Scott Lang Meeting Sam Wilson in ANT-MAN

Fans want more direct crossovers with the film and television sides of the MCU. I'm sorry, suit-wearing film executives, but they do. I know it. You know it. The world knows it. Is it necessary? Not particularly. But when building an entire world as massive as Marvel has, those guest appearances, cameos and crossovers help hold the fabric together the same as they do in the comic books on which they're based.

That said, I'm well aware that there's a lot of red tape involved. The two divisions split and that's not likely to be amended any time soon. However, if they could come to some sort of agreement to reintroduce guest appearances akin to Samuel L. Jackson's two turns on AoS, that would be fantastic. Not only would it help hold the two divisions together in one overall story, but it would allow for Daredevil, Luke Cage and The Punisher to mix it up in #AvengersInfinityWar, which is something that fans have been clamoring for ever since the film's announcement. It would also open up a whole new library of story possibilities for the Netflix shows to build off of going forward after the first outing of #TheDefenders hits in 2017.

So, Which MCU Characters Would Make The Most Sense Crossing Over With Netflix?

There has been a lot of talk about Jeremy Renner doing a #Hawkeye series on Netflix, which doesn't seem like it would ultimately be too likely. However, there are four characters that could easily show up in smaller capacities on the existing shows and it would make perfect sense.

1. Doctor Strange

This is the obvious first choice for a variety of reasons. Not only did #DoctorStrange just blow up the box office with the debut of his first feature, setting him up as a possible contender to hold the films together after Iron Man, Thor and Captain America soon retire, but he also holds in his favor a lot of direct ties to characters in the Netflix corner of the MCU.

The good doctor's powers are rooted in the mystical and there is no doubt going to be some references to him in next year's #IronFist Netflix series. It would be great to see him show up in an episode or two of that show's inevitable second season. More than that, though, Doctor Strange is actually a founding member of the original Defenders in the comic books, as well as one of it's longest-running and most consistent members. While the red tape obviously won't be cleared up in time for The Defenders to air next year, perhaps he could be a major player in the bigger and better The Defenders 2 somewhere around 2019 or 2020.

2. Black Widow

Everyone loves Scarlett Johansson. I mean, how could you not? She has been a tremendous asset to The Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America films as everyone's favorite Russian assassin. Fans the whole world over would love to see her in a solo film of her own — or at least a team-up film with Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye — but so far there are no confirmed plans. However, honestly (and I'm prepared for angry comments over this one), I don't feel like that is necessary. She has been built up as an amazing supporting character, similar to her comic book counterpart, and works best in that capacity.

So why not let her guest star on a few episodes of a Netflix show to broaden her character's horizons?

Let's not forget that for a period of time in the comics, the Daredevil comic was actually titled Daredevil and the Black Widow and featured storylines wherein the two were partners and lovers.

A two or three episode commitment from Scarlett Johansson on a future season of Daredevil would be an amazing story element that would help ground the show to its comic book roots and be a definite draw for fans. It wouldn't need to be anything elaborate or expensive, just a fun little bit of filler to bridge the two halves of the season as stakes start to get a bit higher going forward.

3. The Hulk

The Hulk has had a rough go at it in the MCU, to say the least. Following the relatively poor performance of The Incredible Hulk and the fact that there's still a lot of legal mumbo jumbo with Universal holding the distribution rights to his solo films, he's been relegated to a side character in the Avengers films. He's also set to be featured in #ThorRagnarok, which will be the closest we're apparently going to get to a Planet Hulk story on film. But does that need to be all we see of the not-so-jolly green giant?

Like Doctor Strange, the Hulk is also a founding member of The Defenders and has been consistently featured in their adventures over the years. So why not bring him into the fold when The Defenders 2 inevitably hits the streaming service? And honestly, if cost is an issue over Mark Ruffalo, you don't necessarily need him. Clever editing could "feature" Bruce Banner and then the rest of the Hulk's appearances would be CGI. He wouldn't need to be a prominent character, either. The Hulk could smash up the climax of the season finale and it would be huge for audience enjoyment.

4. Namor The Sub-Mariner

OK, so #Namor isn't exactly an MCU character...yet. Like the Hulk, his film rights were held by Universal and no progress was being made on getting a film in development. It's been rumored that the rights had lapsed and reverted back to Marvel, but it's also been hinted that Universal may still hold distribution rights the same way they do for Hulk. That would put Marvel in a tough spot with releasing the film.

However, if the rights are back with Marvel, then a film will likely be what they do with him for a couple of reasons. The budget for a predominantly water-based superhero action film would be nuts. Also, with #WarnerBros and their #DCEU set to debut an #Aquaman film soon, it would make sense for Marvel to want to compete with them using their own (and significantly older) aquatic character.

But, like the characters above, Namor has close ties to The Defenders and also holds a spot as one of the founding members. If Namor were to grace the silver screen as one of the as yet untitled Marvel films slated for 2019/2020 then he could follow that up with a spot in The Defenders 2 or even The Defenders 3. Or, if the legal tape were to be cleared up, maybe he could debut in The Defenders series and branch out into the films — similar to Tom Holland's #SpiderMan showing up in Civil War before taking back his own franchise.

So what do you think? Would you like to see MCU characters crossover with the Marvel Netflix shows? Or, do you think they work better on their own with subtle references?

Sound off in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@ThisIsJamesT) for all things rant and ravey.

Poll

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