Will Marvel's Netflix Heroes Appear In The Movies? "It Depends On Timing," Says Kevin Feige

Netflix's grimy little corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has really flourished in the past couple of years, with all the leading heroes now preparing to team up in 2017's The Defenders. Meanwhile, the big-screen side of the MCU is still chugging along nicely, with all their leading heroes set to come together in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. But could the Defenders ever make the leap to the movies? According to Marvel chief Kevin Feige, it's a matter of "timing."

Collider asked Feige about the possibility of a Marvel movies Netflix crossover. Here's his answer:

I think it's extremely impressive what Netflix has done and it will be the same answer I always give, which is, "It all depends on timing." It all depends on how to do it because I don't think what anybody wants to do is have such important characters show up for one second. Black Panther and Spider-Man to me are the high bar in Civil War of how you can bring in new characters into something. Vision and Ultron, Wanda and Pietro in Ultron. And it takes a lot of screentime, and it takes a lot of work. Infinity War has a lot of people in it already. So it just depends on how we could figure it out.

Technically, all the Marvel Netflix shows and all the movies are part of the same continuity and owned by the same company. So in a legal or narrative sense, it's perfectly possible for Jessica Jones to pop in and help Doctor Strange battle Thanos or what have you. But whether Marvel can bring all those characters together and whether they should are two different questions, and it sounds like Feige's not so sure about that second part.

Feige has cited a similar reason for not introducing Captain Marvel in Avengers: Age of Ultron or the Wasp in Captain America: Civil War. It's a good all-purpose excuse, but that doesn't mean it's not valid. The MCU didn't get where it was by just shoving characters in willy-nilly. Not everyone who shows up to watch a Marvel movie in theaters will be familiar with Marvel's Netflix characters, so taking screentime away from Captain America or Thor to focus on Luke Cage or Iron Fist could prove more distracting than invigorating.

The question of whether the Defenders (or other Marvel Netflix characters) could cross over with the Avengers (or other Marvel movie characters) has come up time and time again. But those involved with the films have seemed cautious about committing either way. Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo have said they "consider everyone," which could be a hint or could just be a way of letting fans down gently. Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have claimed they're "open" to the idea only to point out "it's not really our call."

Coming from the other end, Jeph Loeb doesn't sound too optimistic about the idea of a crossover either. The Marvel TV head explained earlier this year that while "anything is possible," there are logistical challenges to making a crossover happen. "I can tell you that part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing," he said. "Television moves at an incredible speed." Plus, he added, the small-screen talent is often too busy filming the shows to go make a movie.

In short, although I wouldn't be surprised to see a Marvel movies Netflix crossover eventually, it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. You probably shouldn't hold your breath for a Defenders cameo in Avengers: Infinity War. Which is probably fine. Lord knows they've got more than enough characters lined up for that one already. Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4, 2018.