Everybody goes to the movies, some for entertainment, some for acquiring knowledge and others for escaping reality. Furthermore, people watch specific movies for many different reasons. For example, they may be interested in a certain genre, a specific subject matter or the individual actors/actresses. I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is a media entertainment franchise that includes some of the Marvel comic book superheroes. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe not only because of its genre, subject matter and actors, but also because of the intertwining plot line in its movies and its TV shows.
There are many examples of plots and characters that intertwine between the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and its TV shows. An example of this is the character, Peggy Carter, an agent of the Strategic Scientific Reserve during WWI, who helped with Steven Rogers’s transformation into a super human soldier known as Captain America. The movie, Captain America: First Avenger introduces the audience to Agent Carter, who later has her own TV series which includes flashbacks to scenes from the movie. Another member of the same Strategic Scientific Reserve is Howard Stark, also introduced in Captain America: First Avenger. He is a scientist, an inventor and an ally of Captain America. He is also one of the main characters in the Agent Carter TV series. Howard Stark has another connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because he is the father of Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, and also the founder of Stark industries, which his son later inherits. The actors who play Peggy Carter and Howard Stark in the movie are the same people who play these characters in the TV shows. Using the identical actors in different movies and TV shows helps with the continuity of showing that all these movies and shows are in the same universe.
Another idea that is intertwined throughout Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the Avengers Initiative. The Avengers Initiative is a plan to gather a group of extraordinary people and see if, together, they can become something greater and fight the battles that no one else can fight. Even as early as the first Iron Man movie, Nick Fury, the director of the anti-terrorist organization S.H.I.E.L.D., explains to Tony Stark that Iron Man is not the only superhero that is fighting evil and protecting Earth’s citizens. In fact, he is part of a larger group of superheroes with the same goal of protecting Earth. Nick Fury returns in several of the other individual superhero movies, including Thor, Captain America: First Avenger and Captain America: Winter Soldier, and is played by the same actor each time. In the first Avengers movie, Fury decides to build his Avengers team after Loki, Thor’s adopted brother, steals the Tesseract, an ancient alien, power source. At first, the Avengers, which include Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk, do not work well together; they disagree, argue and fight. In the end, however, they realize they must unite to be successful. Finally, they are able to work together and defeat Loki and his Chitauri army from conquering Earth. Each individual member of the Avengers team can stand alone and defend Earth against villains, but when they work together, they are an even greater force. In fact, even though I really enjoyed each individual movie of the Iron Man, Thor and Captain America series, I was even more entertained with the Avengers movie, in which they all came together to fight an alien army.
Another unifying theme throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe are the six infinity stones. Four of them have already been introduced in various movies already released. The first stone that is introduced is the space stone. This stone is inside the Tesseract which is first seen in the movie, Thor. In this movie, Thor’s father, Odin, brings the Tesseract to Earth for safe keeping. Then, in Captain America: The First Avenger, H.Y.D.R.A, a terrorist group, finds the Tesseract, steals it and uses it to make highly advanced and powerful weapons. With these weapons, H.Y.D.R.A is planning world domination, but fortunately Captain America and his team stop their evil plan and retrieve the Tesseract. When Captain America crash lands his plane in the arctic, the Tesseract falls to the bottom of the ocean. A short time later, Howard Stark recovers the Tesseract from the ocean, while searching for Captain America. It stays in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s possession until Loki comes to Earth and steals it in The Avengers. At the end of this movie, the Tesseract finally goes back to Asgard, home of Odin and Thor. The next infinity stone introduced is the Mind Stone in the movie, The Avengers. This stone is housed in the tip of Loki’s scepter and has the power to control other people’s minds. In The Avengers, Loki uses the Tesseract to open a portal to the other side of space which allows his Chitauri army to invade Earth. The scepter is the only thing that can close the portal made by the Tesseract, because it is also an infinity stone with equal power to the Tesseract. The scepter first goes from Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D. and then from S.H.I.E.L.D. to H.Y.D.R.A. H.Y.D.R.A experiments on volunteers using the scepter with discouraging results. In fact, only two of the volunteers survive, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, also known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch respectively. After appearing in two different movies, the scepter is finally reclaimed in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, it does not stay in the hands of the Avengers for long. Ultron, the peace-keeping robot turned rogue, steals the scepter. He then breaks the protective casing of the infinity stone and places the Mind Stone on the Vision, who is an android made to protect humanity. I really enjoy how the events in one movie are dependent on the events in a previous movie or a TV show.
Another interconnecting feature of Marvel Cinematic Universe is between the Marvel movies and the TV series, known as Agents of Shield. After Nick Fury “dies”, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is Agent Phil Coulson, who has appeared in many Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, including Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and the Avengers. He is played by the same actor in all the movies and also in the TV show, Agents of Shield. In this series, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency undertakes unusual missions to safeguard U.S. national security. However the mission changes at the end of the first season when the movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released. In this movie, H.Y.D.R.A. infiltrates the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency and this event carries over into the TV show and affects the plot line. For the next year, Coulson and his team are not only trying to destroy H.Y.D.R.A. agents and stop their evil plans, but also trying to rebuild the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. Another example of these interconnected events is Operation Theta, a secret project led by Agent Coulson in Agents of Shield, which even his team was unaware of. In the show which airs after the Age of Ultron movie is released, the audience learns that Operation Theta was assigned to Coulson to oversee the building of a flying airplane carrier boat that is used to save millions of people in the Age of Ultron movie. Furthermore, Marvel uses its TV shows to introduce ideas which will occur in upcoming movies. It is always interesting and exciting to learn about these concepts as they develop in the TV series. For example, in the current Agents of Shield, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency has become divided and dysfunctional and this theme will be the foundation for the upcoming movie, Captain America: Civil War. Another idea introduced in the TV series is Inhumans, or altered beings with superhuman abilities, which will be the basis for another future Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the first company to integrate and connect all their different movies and TV shows together. This connection between the various characters, plot lines and the props makes it more enjoyable and intriguing because all the movies and TV shows add to the current understanding one has of this universe. It is enjoyable because the TV show sets up a certain movie and then the aftermath of the movie affects a specific TV show. This interconnected universe also allows for movie marathons that are not about the same character but still make sense. Lastly, this link also makes people want to know what happens next or to see the next movie and/or TV show. This is a clever way for the company to increase the audience’s interest in certain movies, The TV shows and movies serve as a platform to view this fictional parallel universe filled with superheroes and extraordinary feats.