ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be about a spy agency working to keep the peace in a world filled with superheroes and supervillains, but over the course of its run, the show has also tied in to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe in multiple ways. One of the big questions that fans have often asked is whether or not the series will be able to pull in some big names from the movie world to appear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. This morning, Iron Man and The Avengers’ Robert Downey Jr. addressed this very question.

Downey Jr. was asked about his potential to appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during a Reddit AMA this morning, and noted that while he’d like to appear on the show, popping up on a Marvel TV series would not be quite as easy as it seems.
“Nothing is impossible. But there might be a fair amount of red tape involved in something like that. I love Clark Gregg, and am pleased the show is doing so well.”

Clearly Downey Jr. is a big fan of donning the iron suit. If it were up to him, it seems he’d pop over on the set to film a small cameo or guest episode, but he’s also bound to the contract he signed with Marvel Entertainment, which stipulates he is allowed to appear in a certain number of projects. The actor re-upped his contract with Marvel in 2013 to include appearances in Avengers: Age of Ultron as well as a future Avengers film, but not bit parts in Marvel TV shows. A guest appearance on TV would need to be specifically agreed to in a contract, plus with a limited number of appearances and $50 million dollars on the line, I would bet Marvel doesn’t want Downey Jr. to waste his time with Clark Gregg’s TV series.

This also explains why we haven’t seen a ton of big crossovers on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. For one, the series was built upon expanding the Marvel Universe beyond the huge superheroes, the Hulks and the Captain America’s and the Thor’s, that are dominating the big screen. Secondly, it’s just too costly to bring most of the huge names onto the TV show, which is a huge part of that red tape Downey Jr. mentions. So far, Thor’s Lady Sif is probably the biggest superperson S.H.I.E.L.D. has managed to sign on for a guest stint. While I can see more appearances of that ilk in the future, I’m guessing a Robert Downey Jr. stint is closer to impossible than to possible at this point in time.

On the bright side, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will have plenty of opportunity to crossover with ABC’s upcoming Agent Carter drama, and both shows will feature plenty of familiar faces as they continue to move forward. Just maybe not faces behind million dollar contracts.

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