Marvel has gone to great lengths to maintain its MCU and keep the events and films of its characters largely connected, even if there has been a few hiccups. That effort has been extended to its television properties, although it's fair to say that the effort put into that has been less of actual connections and more of executives explaining away inconsistencies and continuing to let each show do as it will.
It's a precedent that's been in place for a while, but one that will supposedly not happen with Disney+'s Marvel originals. That's what Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige told CinemaBlend anyway, as he stated the intention is to have these shows feature significant connections. The good news is there's reason to believe him, and If nothing else, it's far from crazy to believe that Marvel is serious about being better with connecting the MCU when it comes to Disney+ shows.
The biggest thing that supports this is Kevin Feige's discussion about how the new Marvel Disney+ shows were created. In the past, Marvel television and film were always on different production schedules, which made it somewhat difficult to sync up major movie events with things happening on television shows. For these new series, Feige revealed that Marvel Studios was working on plans directly alongside Phase 4, which means shows could be in on what was planned and prepare accordingly.
Which is a huge advantage over past shows which, due to the nature of the beast, constructed individual stories and tried to keep the MCU connections on a surface level. While not ideal, it wasn't necessarily the wrong decision given events like Thanos' snap would've dwarfed some of the drama that felt so important in each series. Still, it would've been cool to see Matt Murdock wake up from being half dead only to learn half the world was gone.
Suffice it to say that each Disney+ show was crafted with the details of how Phase 4 would play out in mind, so it's safe to believe Kevin Feige isn't just blowing smoke when he says there will be meaningful connections. Marvel probably would've loved to do that for all its projects if given the opportunity, but the timing was never perfect to do so. With these shows it is, so why not give fans something they've asked to see for so long?
It also makes sense for the events of these shows to mesh up with MCU canon, given that they're going to be based on MCU characters. Of course, Loki is the only character that Disney has for sure confirmed to be getting a series, but there's been several credible sources that have teased others are coming. It would be weird for Marvel to put so much work into crafting these characters on-screen only to let them slip out of the timeline now.
Especially when there's a solid chance that the rumored characters said to be getting series, such as Winter Soldier and Falcon, may appear in MCU films following their television runs. The purpose of these shows, in Kevin Feige's words, is to put a spotlight on the heroes that don't get as much screen-time in these big adventures. This means more engagement, and obviously character development that could make their next big-screen performance more meaningful.
In fact, things that happen to these MCU characters in these Disney+ shows will tie into their next appearance in the films. That's kind of a double edged sword considering it makes Disney+ shows "required reading" of sorts for those wanting to get the full picture, but that's the reality of what happens when a show is directly tied to a film universe.
It's all a product of Marvel Studios' direct involvement in the process, and not Marvel's separate television division. There seems to be a clear difference between the Disney+ shows and other Marvel entries in that regard, in that these adventures seem truly supplemental to the films whereas the others are merely living in the universe. Kevin Feige makes it sound as though things will truly be different this time around, and given his reasoning, it seems silly to think they won't.
If there's bad news in this, it's that shows that haven't gotten this special attention from Marvel Studios will probably stay the course and keep their associations at arm's length. Additionally, it's a valid question whether these Disney+ shows will stay the course of a strong MCU connection, or if that connection will lessen should shows continue on for years and run into the same problems the MCU has with Marvel TV-produced shows.
Right now it's not sure how Marvel's MCU shows will run on Disney+. It's possible these shows could be long-running series, or they could be a miniseries format that either tells a story that couldn't have been told within a feature film, or sets the stage for a future Marvel movie. A miniseries would seem easier to maintain a strong connection, and would keep Marvel from committing to a set Phase 4 story line that could change if plans changed.
Whether folks believe the MCU Disney+ projects will be connected to the films or not, we're all going to have to accept it could be a while before we actually know. Plans for Phase 4 aren't set to arrive until after Spider-Man: Far From Home, although the showrunner and some reported details for the upcoming Loki series have been revealed. Judging from recent details on what the story is about, there's a strong possibility the show will have strong MCU connections. Disney+ itself hasn't received an official premiere date.
Bottom line, there's no guarantee that the Disney+ Marvel projects will have any stronger MCU connection than other Marvel shows, but Kevin Feige has provided enough evidence that this time will be different. Moreover, there seems to be motive to do so, as it would be another thing Disney can do to position its streaming platform as a true rival to Netflix. While those who doubt can continue to be skeptical, isn't it better to hope for the best?
CinemaBlend will keep an eye out for Disney+ updates, and the status of all of Marvel's upcoming shows. For more on what's happening with television in the near future, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.