Marvel Television is Marvel Studios’ less successful sibling, like Randy Quaid or those other Hemsworths whose names no one’s completely sure of. (Reginald? Chauncey?) There’s always been a sense that Marvel’s movie branch is kinda embarrassed of the TV one — Daredevil can reference the time a giant green guy in stretchy pants flipped over some cars in Harlem, but the Avengers never mention the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. saving the world from cheap-looking blue aliens. And now, Marvel Television is officially getting killed off and replaced by a bunch of Marvel Studios shows where the entire selling point is “Hey, look, characters you’ve actually heard of! These ones do matter!”
How did such a slam dunk of an idea (make TV shows set in the same universe as some of the most successful movies ever made) go off the rails? Basically: thanks to some petty drama among the rich bastards in charge of your favorite superheroes.
You’ve probably heard of Kevin Feige, the apex nerd who oversaw Marvel’s revolutionary approach to making superhero films, which can be summed up as “How about we actually read the stuff we’re adapting?” Well, until 2015, Feige reported to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive Trump-loving billionaire who helped rescue Marvel from bankruptcy in the ’90s. Reportedly, Feige and Perlmutter disagreed on little things like, uh, whether women and black people deserve to headline superhero movies. And that’s a pretty weighty “reportedly,” since it comes from the guy running Disney, Bob Iger:Random House New YorkThis is a polite way of saying “that dickhead almost cost us a lot of money.”
Mark Ruffalo says that Feige considered quitting the Marvel gravy train due to Perlmutter’s insistence that no one would see a movie starring a female superhero, presumably due to fear of catching super-cooties. But, by 2015, Feige had filled enough Scrooge McDuck money bins for Disney to get his voice heard, and so they granted his wish: no more dealing with Perlmutter. From that point on, Feige and Marvel Studios reportedly directly to Mickey Mouse while Perlmutter remained in charge of the TV shows (and comics, which Disney probably forgot existed).That’s when the Feige Gang and the Perlmutter’s rivalry began seeping into the shows themselves. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first two seasons had cameos from MCU actors like Cobie Smulders, Jaimie Alexander, and even Samuel L. Jackson, plus direct connections to movies like Captain America: Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World. And then … nothing. They couldn’t even score a cameo from the guy who plays Galaga in The Avengers at this point. Or, worse, Jeremy Renner.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn’t acknowledge the fact that half of all life in the universe was snapped away at the end of Avengers: Infinity War because the writers themselves had no idea it would happen. At first, scripts were thoroughly vetted by Marvel Studios, but by the final seasons, it sure sounds like no one gave a shit:TheWrap.comSeason 7 is just someone reading Hulk/Loki erotic fan fiction and no one noticed.