Now, one of the smaller but more frequently occurring joys of being a die hard comic book movie fan is the fact that you can, if so inclined, spend a whole lot of time arguing over the relative merits of a given comic book universe. Where fans of the DC Extended Universe might, for instance, highlight the darkness and moral complexity of its world as a unique selling point, devotees of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might retort by pointing out its brightness and humor. Or, alternatively, as is often the case, they might point out that — unlike DC's distinctly disconnected movie and TV universes — the MCU is, in fact, a cohesive, interconnected entity, with entries spanning multiple visual mediums.
What, though, if it wasn't?
Joss Whedon Just Argued That Marvel's Film and TV Arms Aren't as Connected as We Tend to Think
Speaking to the Oxford Union recently, Whedon discussed his past suggestion that Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson is, in fact, still dead in the movies, despite that whole 'existence of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' dealio:
"I do think that there is an element for somebody who consumes all the Marvel product that it might take the punch out, but generally I feel like the SHIELD audience and The Avengers audiences are not actually the same group, necessarily...You have to go, ‘Well, okay, if you take it back in TV, does it take it back in film?’ I’m like, ‘Because I have time to explain that.’ It’s like, ‘In addition to introducing nineteen new characters, this guy’s alive again.’"
Which, on the surface of it, is something of a retraction of his previous comments — and perhaps a tacit acknowledgement that his previous comments had more to do with his own approach to making Avengers: Age of Ultron than the actual reality on the ground in the MCU.
On the flip side, however, Whedon followed that mild back-tracking up with this:
"With a TV show, you just have to... you just have to be careful. Which, unfortunately just means the TV show gets, you know, leftovers. One of the first things they said was ‘We got a great idea! We’ll use Loki’s scepter!’ And I’m like ‘Yeah … um, hold that thought.’"
Which, it would seem, more-or-less confirms the long-standing suspicion that Marvel's television efforts are — while still connected to the movies — very much the junior partner in the whole operation.
In other words?
It Seems as Though Marvel's TV Shows Are Inherently Secondary to the Movies
Which, on the one hand, really kind of sucks for both the makers and fans of Marvel's TV shows. After all, the implied message from Whedon — and the majority of the MCU's higher-ups — is that the shows they put so much time and emotional investment into are never going to matter as much as the — far more profitable — movies.
On the other hand, that doesn't actually stop them from being awesome in the slightest. Daredevil and Jessica Jones aren't great because they occasionally subtly reference the Avengers, and there's actually an argument to be made that the likes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter are at their best when they just do their own thing and completely ignore the parallel existence of the movies.
At some point, someone might well work out a way to fully integrate the two — Avengers: Infinity War, directed by a pair of TV veterans, anyone? — but in the meantime, it's actually not all that much of a problem for Marvel to treat its TV shows as being of secondary importance. After all, it doesn't seem to have stopped them from being great so far...
What do you think, though?