Marvel’s head of TV, Jeph Loeb, really needs you to understand that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the company’s TV division exist in the same world.
Loeb appeared a conference yesterday to talk about one of Marvel’s new shows, Runaways, which will debut on Hulu later this year. When asked if Runaways could connect to the current MCU, Loeb replied that, like the rest of Marvel’s live-action TV series, it would exist within the same universe.
“It all lives in the same world, how it’s connected and where it’s connected and what it’s going to be connected to remains to be seen,” Loeb said, as reported by The Wrap. “What we’re trying to do now is tell a great story.”
Loeb used social media as a comparison for how the MCU would be viewed in Marvel’s television landscape. While Iron Man and Captain America are these great figures everyone knows about, the Runaways simply don’t care about what the Avengers are up to during their day-to-day lives.
“The fact that they’ve found each other and they’re going through this mystery together at the moment is what we’re concerned about, not what Captain America is doing,” Loeb said.
All of which is a long, roundabout way of saying that while Marvel’s smaller universe may acknowledge the MCU, there’s no reason to believe the MCU is going to start recognizing characters like the Runaways or Jessica Jones. This isn’t the first time that Loeb has been asked about the connection the TV series could have to the MCU. In January, Entertainment Weekly asked Loeb about the possibility of more direct references being made.
“You’re trying to trap me into saying, ‘Hashtag, it’s all connected,'” Loeb told the magazine. “If the story warrants it, we will obviously do our best to have folks cross into each other’s story lines.”
In July 2016, Loeb said that one of the main reasons there hasn’t been any kind of crossover — beyond a few appearances on Agents of SHIELD, Marvel’s series on ABC — is because of logistics.
“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,” Loeb told Slashfilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and thats going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”
Loeb is perhaps a little more conservative with his remarks on the lack of a major crossover at this point, but Agents of SHIELD actress Chloe Bennet has a different opinion on why Marvel Studios has been reluctant to lend their superheroes out.
“The Marvel Cinematic Universe loves to pretend that everything is connected, but then they don’t acknowledge our show at all,” Bennet told Bleeding Cool. “I would love to do that [a crossover], but they don’t seem too keen on that idea.”
That’s not entirely true. In May, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige was asked by io9 whether a character from a TV series could end up in one of the MCU films or vice versa. Feige said while it’s difficult to predict the future, with so many movies and TV shows being made — and pulling from the same catalogue — it was bound to happen sooner or later.
“The truth is, I don’t really know, but there are a lot of TV shows being made, and hopefully we’ll continue to make a lot of movies,” Feige said. “At some point, there’s going to be a crossover. Crossover, repetition, or something.”
For now, fans will have to be content with the fact that this all takes place in the same universe. Don’t expect Iron Man to swoop in and help Luke Cage out anytime soon.
Marvel’s Runaways will be available to stream on Hulu as of Nov. 21