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Marvel fans have spent years asking for more concrete connections between the film and television worlds of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and yet we haven't seen any forward momentum. Many executives and stars have been asked about it, but most of the time all that reporters receive are wishy-washy quotes about difficulties in scheduling and planning. Recently speaking at Wizard World Cleveland, Captain America: Civil War star Anthony Mackie took a different tactic when answering a question about the relationship between MCU movies and the Marvel Netflix shows. He said,
Different universes, different worlds, different companies, different designs. Kevin Feige is very specific about how he wants the Marvel Universe to be seen in the film world. It wouldn't work. It wouldn't work at all.
This blunt message came from Anthony Mackie while attending the Ohio-based comic book convention (via ScreenGeek.net), and while Mackie is overstating things a bit, he is definitely drawing a clear line in the sand between what happens in Marvel films and what happens in the shows on Netflix and ABC. While the events of the Marvel Studios television shows do take place within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are no plans to ever see the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Elektra or The Punisher on the big screen. Why? It all ties into internal changes and shakeups behind the scenes at Marvel within the last few years.
The television side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe sprung up in the Fall of 2013 with ABC airing the first season of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., and back then it certainly looked like movie and TV crossovers would be inevitable - given that Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson, a character born in the comics, was the foundation. The creation of Agent Carter - which began airing in early 2015 and was created by the writers behind the Captain America trilogy, continued this thinking. It was in August 2015, however, that the relationship between the two departments completely changed.
To this point in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was already perceived as the mastermind behind the franchise's creation - but he was still reporting to Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter on all matters. In summer 2015, due to conflict during the making of Captain America: Civil War, this hierarchy was altered, as Disney CEO Bob Iger agreed that Feige would start reporting to Disney Studios chief Alan Horn instead of Perlmutter.
What does this have to do with the relationship between Marvel Studios' film and television divisions? While Kevin Feige and Alan Horn now call basically all of the shots where the big blockbusters are concerned, the small screen material is still within Ike Perlmutter's domain. Because of this, creative decisions are being made by two separate camps, which is what Anthony Mackie means when he says "Different universes, different worlds, different companies, different designs."
Particularly because characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have found themselves as integral parts of Marvel Comics over the years, there are a tremendous number of fans who want to see them have their opportunities to hang out with The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Sadly, until internal issues are solved within Marvel as a company, we may not get to see that happen.