Two deep into Marvel’s Netflix Defenders series, the separation between Marvel’s TV and movie characters has become clearer than ever. Many have hoped that the Phase 3 culmination of Avengers: Infinity War might finally bridge the gulf, including everyone from Agents of .S.H.I.E.L.D. to Daredevil and Jessica Jones in the fight against Thanos, but co-director Anthony Russo doesn’t seem terribly optimistic.

Take this all with a grain of salt for the moment, as Captain America: Civil War will open up a new corner of the Marvel universe previously thought unattainable, while plenty of time remains for Marvel to work out negotiations between its TV and movie branches. Still, when asked at CCXP about the potential for any of the four Defenders to play a part in Infinity War, Russo’s reply amounted to a less-than-hopeful “It’s complicated.”

When we start to serialize the telling of stories it’s difficult. You have to have a lot of control and focus on the course of history. The films are controlled by a group led by Kevin Feige, so they function as a unit. Other products, even if they are from Marvel, are controlled by others. Then there is the possibility of a crossover, but it’s more complicated. It is a smaller scale version of the problem that exists when remembering that Fox holds the rights to some of Marvel’s most popular characters, as does Sony and others. As storytellers, we only have control over what happens in Marvel movies, but everything is possible, Spider-Man (whose rights were held by Sony) became possible!

That’s certainly not a “no,” and Russo doesn’t necessarily have final say over how Marvel chooses to unfurl its two-part Phase 3 climax, though one wonders if the comic banner will allow the gulf to widen over the next few years. Jessica Jones in particular sought to tell a more personal story, rather than one rooted in big-screen spectacle, but can we expect to see some allusion to the heroes of Hell’s Kitchen? When will the movie and TV branches have their first true crossovers?


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