(Warning - potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War, Season 2 of Daredevil, and the MCU in general, lie below. As Taylor Swift puts it: "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya...")
Now, with all the focus that's been placed on next year's Captain America: Civil War, there's a key detail that's largely been ignored. Y'see, while Avengers: Age of Ultron may have been named after a notable comic book crossover, it wasn't actually based on it in the slightest - meaning the soon-to-arrive Captain America: Civil War will in fact be the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to (relatively) closely adapt a major comic book crossover event.
Now, in one sense, that distinction may make absolutely no difference to the MCU at all - especially considering Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel Studios gang's willingness to change whatever is necessary to translate the comic books into movies.
On the other hand, however, it's entirely possible that Captain America: Civil War - already set to feature virtually every hero yet introduced to the MCU - may well mark a similar turning point in the development of Marvel movie-dom that Avengers Disassembled did for Marvel comics back in 2004.
That crossover, y'see, wasn't like the ones we'd seen before - whereas past events had been largely limited to just a few comic book lines (with the X-Men and the Avengers popular choices), Avengers Disassembled both shook the entire Marvel universe to its very foundations, and began a series of massive, world-altering crossover events over the next decade, each directly connected to one another.
Which is where Captain America: Civil War comes in...
Civil War Could Change the MCU as We Know it
Now, in part, that's inevitably, as the movie is clearly set to mark a defining moment in the relationship between Iron Man and Captain America, as well as for multiple other heroes.
It's also possible, however, that Civil War will prove a watershed moment in the connectivity of the MCU - something that already largely defines it. Up until now, we've occasionally seen a brief cameo (or even a supporting role) from the likes of Black Widow or Captain America in Marvel movies not bearing their name, reminding us that they are, in fact, part of the same world, but in large part, the connectivity of the movies is limited to casual references to past events. Other than in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, very little in the way of actual plot is directly continued from one Marvel movie to another.
What, though, if that what is all about to change?
What if Civil War Bleeds Over into Daredevil?
After all, with Netflix's Daredevil's second season being currently set for release sometime in 2016, there's every chance that it could end up arriving pretty close to the release date of Captain America: Civil War. However, unlike its first season, which despite coming out just before Avengers: Age of Ultron this year, had virtually nothing to do with it, what we know so far about the second season of Daredevil suggests we could we be about to see something very much connected to the events of Civil War.
Daredevil Is Having a Similar Pile-On of Characters to Civil War
With The Punisher and Elektra already confirmed to be joining the series, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage potentially available to appear, and the villainous Bullseye all-but-certain to turn up too, Daredevil is already looking pretty solidly filled up with an assortment of heroes and villains - all of whom had a key role to play in the comic book Civil War.
That, though, isn't the reason to suspect a shift into the world of larger MCU crossovers, however. Instead, that reason is two-fold:
1. The Internal Logic of Civil War Would Have to Extend to Daredevil
Specifically, if Iron Man ends up seeking to force superheroes to register their identities and subsequently work for the government, then that same requirement will be made of the likes of Daredevil. In fact, since low-level vigilantes like DD are presumably a major part of what in-movie proponents of superhero registration are taking issue with, he may even be a partial cause of the problem in the first place.
If that's the case, then, it would surely follow that we would see the events of Civil War directly reflected in Daredevil - in more than just a passing reference.
The other key reason?
2. It Would Offer The Punisher a Purpose Within the Plot
Specifically, Civil War crossing over into Daredevil could potentially make The Punisher - a man who traditionally seems himself as operating outside the law, but defending its fundamental principles - into what would essentially be an amateur Registration supporter. After all, if Daredevil were to be directly violating a government act by refusing to register, then The Punisher's perverse logic may well cause him to pursue the hero.
Add in appearances from Jessica Jones and Luke Cage - and the iconic Elektra - and you would essentially have a superheroic Civil War in miniature. Throw in a (ratings-driving) movie actor cameo or two, and you've got yourself one hell of crossover event...
What Would That Mean for the MCU, Though?
Well, in the short term, not too much. It'd be neat, but it wouldn't necessarily change the basic relationship MCU movies have with their audience - essentially 'we're better if you've seen all of us, but you don't have to watch us all...'.
In the long-run, though, it could gradually lead to level of connectivity that would seem impossible today - with Network TV shows, mini-series and movies all connecting as a cohesive whole, telling larger stories over a period of months, rather than hours...much like in the comic books. After all, it's exactly that sort of business-model that's taken Marvel to the very top of its game in the comic book world, so it stands to reason that the (ever-more-interconnected) MCU would attempt something similar.
A two-year-long Infinity War event, with ABC and Netflix shows slotting into a central movie narrative, anyone?