Netflix released Marvel’s “The Defenders” this past weekend, an 8 part miniseries that bought together Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist to save New York City. This series is the culmination of Marvels phase 1 of their tv shows in the MCU. This begs a question is it time for Marvel to have more stand alone tv series and movies? Or have sub universes that don't have to be binded to the overall main universe?
Next year will be 10 years(Hard to Believe) since the MCU started with Iron Man, when Nick Fury appeared after the credits to set up the Avengers, people went nuts. Since then Marvel has had us in the palm of their hands with their connected movies, Easter eggs, and the feeling if you miss one film in their series you’ll be lost. While a well thought out innovative plan, it is starting to show cracks.
One of the biggest complaints against Iron Man 2 and the Avengers 2 was that they spent more time setting up future films and storylines and not focusing on the current film at hand. Abc’s Agents Of Shield has both benefited and been hampered by being the first tv show included in the MCU. It took a while to find its footing trying to fit into the MCUs overall plan. It benefitted from the MCU when the fall of Shield was tied into Captain America: Winter Soldier. Since then Agents of Shield has been random at times with if the shows stories are consistent with the films. A major crack was this summers Spider Mans: Homecoming where the beginning of the film ties into Avengers and the timeline doesn't match up. Even the individual series of the Defenders characters are in the MCU but not really.
Being on Netflix The Defenders and the respective shows before it are more adult than the mainstream marvel movies and shows. Each show in one way or another mentions the events of the first Avengers to let everyone know it's one world their all in. In my opinion it’s cool for everything to be connected, but the Netflix shows can't really stray to far from the main Marvel agenda and cater to a different audience. There's always the fanboy question of when are the Avengers and Defenders going to team up?
Marvel could have their main MCU they could keep a tight leash on so that it doesn't grow out of hand and become stale. Then have smaller universes that are off on their own like the Netflix shows. There have been rumors that Blade is being developed for tv, Blade is so bad ass and deadly being a half vampire, half human, do we really need him to interact with the Avengers? Would his character and story benefit from being a self contained story? Deadpool whose film rights are not owned by Marvel benefitted from having it's own vibe and playground to tell its story in.
Hulu will be debuting “Runaways” this fall which is connected to the MCU someway, and holding reservation until the show debuts I don't see how that show can be apart of the MCU other than a nod hear and there. Same with free forms upcoming “Cloak and Dagger”. Now Over on ABC “Inhumans” will be debuting and is set in the MCU. If the show is successful and has subsequent seasons it can nicely tie in to the next outer space focus of the MCU films. I have to give Marvel credit for the free publicity of their next phase.
The MCU is a gift and a curse, I really enjoy the films and enjoy piecing the different puzzles together, but I also feel with the depth of characters they have to bring to life. All of them won't be a good fit and having more stand alone or secondary universes will offer more creative opportunities. At the same time not stifling other creators by forcing their stories to fit into this predetermined narrative. Maybe a lame argument but not all of their cartoon shows and characters are connected, so why should their all films and tv series be?