"It's all connected." Those three words are sure to excite any #Marvel fan; they open up an unlimited panorama, in which countless superheroes coexist — whether in Marvel movies, TV shows, Netflix series, or tie-in comics. But overt crossovers and tie-ins are actually pretty rare — usually, all we get are gentle nods.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new status quo changes all that. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has seen S.H.I.E.L.D. return to the public eye, with a mission to 'bag and tag' superhumans, ensuring that they don't pose a risk to the world at large. That means, for example, tales of a bulletproof man in Harlem would draw S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attention.
Luke Cage, the latest #MarvelNetflix show, has already proved to be a tremendous success; but Marvel fans have been puzzled at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s absence. #LukeCage saw the vigilante launch a very public campaign against organized crime, one that would surely have drawn S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attention. What's more, the series ended with a public super-powered brawl between Luke and Diamondback — again, an event that should have guaranteed S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement. But there wasn't even a hint; and what's more, in another surprising touch, there was no mention of the Sokovia Accords. Every superhuman is supposed to be governed by the Accords, meaning that the police would be expecting Luke to register under them.
These questions have bubbled to the surface at New York Comic Con, with Jeph Loeb asked whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D. would tie in with Marvel's Netflix shows. His response?
"That's a fair question. Here's a fair answer: stay tuned."
Loeb knows that an answer like that is guaranteed to get fans excited at the possibilities, and he'd be a fool to raise those hopes, only to dash them to pieces. He knows that, for the rest of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, fans will be watching with an eager hope that they're about to see a tie-in of some kind. As far as I'm concerned, an answer like that is a mischievous way of saying 'yes'.
So how could the tie-in happen?
I doubt that we'll see S.H.I.E.L.D. head to Hell's Kitchen anytime soon. The reality is that a mission to pursue #Daredevil would be a major event, one that would distract from the core plot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What's more, with Daredevil Season 3 not scheduled until 2018, there's no way Loeb is planning ahead for a S.H.I.E.L.D. presence there just yet.
That doesn't mean that there isn't a possibility, though. Matt Murdock is a practising lawyer, and there's a vague chance that he may be called upon to represent someone in a court case. We could just get the slightest nod to an ongoing trial, or he could wind up defending someone S.H.I.E.L.D. want prosecuted. That said, this cameo seems doubtful.
Dialogue in Luke Cage told us that #JessicaJones's actions have become legend. Black Mariah refers to a woman in Hell's Kitchen who snapped a man's neck because he was mind-controlling her — a clear nod to the end of Jessica Jones Season 1. S.H.I.E.L.D. simply has to be interested in Jessica, and it's possible that she's already been registered under the Sokovia Accords (likely unwillingly). There's a chance her career as a private investigator could draw her into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s circles.
Again, though, this seems unlikely. This would involve embedding the plot of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Hell's Kitchen, and it would be something of a plot diversion. What's more, the fact we're not going to see Jessica Jones Season 2 until 2018 means Loeb is unlikely to be planning a S.H.I.E.L.D. presence there either.
Now we're moving to the real possibilities. Luke Cage Season 1 ended with Luke imprisoned (although there were tantalizing hints he won't be in jail for long). Still, that means one very public superhero is a prisoner, where it would be easy for S.H.I.E.L.D. to get to him. What's more, I can easily see a potential S.H.I.E.L.D. plot in unearthing the conspiracy behind Seagate Prison.
Sadly, I again have to say that I don't consider this to be terribly likely. With Diamondback clearly about to undergo Seagate-esque experiments, Luke Cage Season 2 is probably the show to watch for answers to Seagate's mysteries.
#Punisher hasn't yet gotten a confirmed release date, but, with filming currently underway, it's likely to air in mid-2017. With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now at a later timeslot, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Punisher make a cameo of some kind — perhaps as a brutal vigilante, briefly working alongside Ghost Rider.
While this is possible, there's one problem: thematically, the Punisher doesn't really fit with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4. The series may have too many disparate themes for its own good anyway; internal strife in S.H.I.E.L.D., Fitz's experiments, and the introduction of mystical plots. Adding a vigilantism theme could leave Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a little overstuffed.
We now know that Iron Fist will air in March, at a time when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will still be airing. Unlike Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, #IronFist will undoubtedly have the kind of mystical and spiritual aspects to it that we're seeing in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. So thematically there's a good fit - both shows are currently steeped in magic.
This is the most likely tie-in. It may be a subtle one (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 included a nod to Hell's Kitchen and Daredevil). I can't help hoping it's not; instead, I really want there to be a direct link, whether a cameo from S.H.I.E.L.D. in Iron Fist, or a cameo from Iron Fist in S.H.I.E.L.D. Loeb's comment has left me optimistic that this may well be the case.
- Your Guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's TV Series!
- Hellfire and Brimstone - Everything You Need To Know About Marvel's Ghost Rider!
- Could Doctor Strange Finally Unite Marvel's Movies and TV Shows?
"It's all connected." Fans are eager for those three words to mean something, for the #MCU to truly feel connected. The build-up to Doctor Strange has made that more of a reality than ever before, but tying Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel Netflix together would be a huge step forward. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens next!