Marvel Studios, A House Divided By Itself?

4:46 AM Joseph Aberl 0 Comments

Before I start with this article, I will point out two things. First of all, I already wrote an article regarding this topic, but wasn’t fully satisfied with what I had written at the time and secondly, I naturally don’t know all details that are going on behind the closed doors of Marvel Studios, but can only pull out information when it is published. So, all of the things you will read here are that of an outsiders perspective on how some elements are approached by Marvel Studios, the masterminds behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in conjunction with Marvel Television Division, which brought us Agents of SHIELD and the Marvel-Netflix TV shows. After writing my latest article, where it seems as if Charlie Cox was seen on the Captain America: Civil War set, all I can do at this point is speculate that what I am about to tackle could potentially change in the near future, but as of now there are no signs of it except rumors.

Spoiler Warning for this article, as I will point out some plot points from recent releases such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and the second season of Agents of SHIELD. If you have not yet seen them, then please proceed at your own risk.

One-Sided Crossovers
So far, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be considered a behemoth of a franchise that has expanded beyond the silver screen into our TVs or Video-on-Demand services. Yet with SHIELD living on after its fall in Captain America: Civil War and Daredevil protecting his stomping grounds in Hell’s Kitchen there seems to be a distinct barrier between the films and TV shows. At first there are a variety of Easter Eggs that link them together, Agents of SHIELD being constantly influenced by what is happening in the film and Daredevil’s entire storyline is the results of the attack on New York during the first Avengers film.
As much as this is the connective tissue keeping them together, there are still some growing pains or at least communication issues between Marvel Studios and its TV division, but it all seems quite one-sided. No mentions or hints have been given in the films regarding the TV shows, may it be that SHIELD still exists or even that Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) survived his encounter with Loki (Tom Hiddleston). There was a perfect opportunity for the characters to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron inside Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) Helicarrier during the film, but no sign of them even though it was revealed in the show that Coulson was looking after it the entire time, something that is only slightly teased with Fury stating he had some help.
At least we did have crossovers of Fury and Hill in the first season and a small one in the second as well, which can be used as a sign that they are truly connected, but sadly there have been no TV characters that were able to crossover into a film so far, but as stated before with recent reports this could easily change with Civl War or other upcoming projects.

A Branding Issue?
There is an odd displacement if one looks at this from a marketing side, as the Marvel Cinematic Unvierse does not possess any official logo. The only thing that allows the general audience to know that these films are connected is either what happens during the film, the characters themselves or that there is a “Studios” under the Marvel logo. Something that sadly is lacking when it comes to the TV side of things, as while it shares the same fanfare as the films, it sadly lacks the “studios” part making a slight dissonance for viewers, or at least for me. As a marketing student this is probably something that is a nitpick on my side, as I still wished that the MCU had its own logo that would be used throughout the franchise allowing for a connective thread that keeps them all continued, especially considering Sony’s next Spider-Man film is a part of this franchise as well. This is also something that they sadly haven’t done with the Blu-ray or DVD release, as each film has a different design and sometimes even the actual box, which makes them feel more like their own product than part of a bigger picture.

A Complexity Issue
Speaking of Spider-Man, Phase 3 is proving that the complexity of this film franchise is rising, as we are still expecting the addition of Jessica Jones this year as well. With a rising level of complexity it would be unwise to reject the TV side of things, which some believe Kevin Feige still does, supposedly seeing it as a “necessary evil”. Yet with two TV shows on ABC, four on Netflix and the Defenders crossover in addition this is a trend that won’t be changed anytime soon. If one would be too resist it to a certain degree these shows will be left to fend for themselves, but will go down in the long-run simply because it feels too one-sided. Agents of SHIELD is suffering the most losses so far, as its ratings are dropping as there are no strategies to win over any moviegoers to check out the series. A small commercial before Avengers: Age of Ultron for the show could have boosted its finale numbers. The show’s own tagline is “It’s All Connected”, but has unofficially been thrown over to the films. Maybe it is time to make it a bit more official?

In the end, this is a topic I could talk about forever, but that isn’t why I am here. Simply put, I still feel like that the dysfunctional relationship between film and TV on Marvel’s side can still be felt to a certain degree and maybe, just maybe, this is something that should be tackled in the near future or else the franchise might face some rather new turbulences.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment below!