infinity war defenders

The upcoming two-part Avengers: Infinity War will represent the grand climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. All of the various story threads and all of the disparate characters established across multiple films will all come together to battle Thanos, the “Mad Titan” who has been watching from the sidelines since the events of The Avengers. Expect to see old standbys like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk team up with upcoming characters like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to show up. These movies will encompass just about everyone.

Well, everyone who has appeared on the big screen. Fans hoping to see characters from the television corner of the MCU shouldn’t get their hopes up and Infinity War co-director Anthony Russo is already trying to cushion the blow. Read his Infinity War Defenders comments after the jump.

Despite being deep into post-production on Captain America: Civil War (which he is helming with his constant collaborator and brother Joe Russo), Anthony Russo put in appearance at this year’s CCXP, the hugely popular Comic-Con held in São Paulo, Brazil. When asked about the possibility of Marvel characters from ABC and Netflix putting in an appearance in Infinity War, Russo tried to let everyone down easy:

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!

In other words, don’t expect Agent Coulson’s crew from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to pop up to lend a helping hand in Avengers: Infinity War. And don’t expect the Defenders, the team that will consist of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First, to show up either. Although all of these characters technically exist within the same universe (both Daredevil and Jessica Jones mention the events of The Avengers), the chances of these TV characters battling Thanos and his minions on the big screen are slim to none. Russo may hedge his bets a little by bringing up Marvel’s unusual Spider-Man-centric relationship with Sony, but don’t hold your breath.

Those who have been following the behind-the-scenes stories of Marvel Studios already know that the reason there won’t be a crossover goes beyond basic creative choices. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios and the mastermind of the MCU, has spent the past eight years and 12 movies butting heads with Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter. Their relationship grew so toxic that Feige almost bailed on Marvel during the production of Captain America: Civil War. Eventually, Feige proved triumphant, winning near-total control of Marvel Studios’ film division and freeing himself from Perlmutter’s oversight. However, Perlmutter is still heavily involved in the television end of Marvel Studios and this bad blood, combined with other clashing egos and plans, may be the key reason why the Luke Cage will most likely never arm wrestle Thor and Captain America will probably never chat with Daredevil.

Then again, we wouldn’t be too surprised to maybe, possibly, see these characters pop up in tiny cameos in Infinity War. After all, it would be fun to see these guys defending New York City in the midst of an action montage while the Avengers battle Thanos in space.

Still, we have some time before we’ll know anything for sure. The first Avengers: Infinity War movie opens on May 4, 2018 and the second part will arrive on May 3, 2019.

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