Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the MCU

The weekend of San Diego Comic Con brought with it an overwhelming amount of trailers, teasers, and announcements; but perhaps none had me more excited than the confirmation that Brie Larson will be taking on the role of Captain Marvel. While the speculation has been running for quite some time that Larson would be donning the red, gold, and blue of the titular character, the thunderous applause that her appearance in Hall H caused made me that much more excited for 2019.

But, while the Captain Marvel announcement had me clapping my hands in excitement, the subsequent headlines announcing the news quickly had my hands shifting to scratch my head in confusion instead.

I’m not saying at all that people shouldn’t be jumping up and down at the fact that Brie Larson has been tapped as the lead in a Marvel movie. I was so excited that I got genuinely verklempt whilst watching her wave on the Hall H stage surrounded by most of the Phase 3 lineup.

What I am saying, is that the instantaneous labeling of her in media outlets is one of the major issues with the MCU and Marvel Studios. Because, in regurgitating what Marvel had already announced, many news sites and magazines declared that Larson had been cast as Marvel’s first female superhero.


After all of the ridiculously sexist questions thrown at Scarlett Johansson regarding the difficulties of fitting into her cat suit, now you’re not even going to acknowledge Black Widow as one of the more pivotal and interesting Avengers?


“Okay, okay. Fine. Marvel’s first female superhero with powers.

I repeat, huh?

Captain Marvel isn’t even the studio’s second female superhero with powers!

That title can be given to Scarlet Witch, first making her debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron and continuing to kick the butt of her male counterparts in a little film I like to call Captain America: Civil War.

As for Marvel’s first power-possessing female superhero…

While the MCU may ignore her and the tent-pole that brought her into our lives, Daisy Johnson began quaking things on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. long before either Scarlet Witch or Captain Marvel respectively hit and will hit our movie screens.

Which is where one of Marvel’s glaring issues comes into play.

Why is my favorite superhero not even acknowledged by anyone other than the fellow fans who watch the show? Why does my favorite show have to bend over backwards to address the events of Marvel films when the same films pretend said show doesn’t exist? Why do I still have to hear the tiresome complaining of alleged Marvelites who continuously critique a show that they gave up watching in Season 1?

If it’s really, “all connected,” why are the characters that I’ve spent almost seventy hours of my life with all but nonexistent in the MCU, where all the appearances of Iron Man haven’t even entertained me for twelve?


I can’t say that this article isn’t biased. In fact, it’s definitely biased because I’m the first to admit that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is without question my favorite show on television. I’ve skipped concerts that conflicted with the Tuesday/9PM spot previously designated for curling up in the dark with too much Pepsi to see what chaos Coulson and Co. have to deal with. I’ve battled roommates for control of the remote, giving up all days and times in exchange for that single hour on Tuesday. I’ve attended cons, bypassing the throngs of people surrounding Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth in favor of beelining it to the television side of things.

Point is, I love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is why I find myself becoming increasingly vexed by the MCU’s (and, if you want to get extreme, society’s) complete disregard for it.

Though irritating, there’s something somewhat understandable about Marvel fanboys and fangirls disregarding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in favor of the movies that evenly showcase Chris Evans’ puppy-dog eyes and bigger-than-my-head biceps.

Like every show in existence, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer the beginning, middle, and end that is offered by films while others just aren’t really into covert espionage with a dash of the unreal. It’s wholly understandable that, those who actually gave it a chance and decided it wasn’t for them might not care that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is all but nonexistent in the MCU.

What’s astonishing, and admittedly disappointing, to me is the fact that the studio responsible for bringing my favorite show into existence, and creating characters that can make me laugh as easily as they make me cry, doesn’t give it its due.

Like… ever.

I understand that, in general, there is a fairly evident schism between the world of television and film. For years the latter was perceived to be superior to the former but, recently, the playing field seems to have gotten far more even. Streaming services have allowed for an abundance of new, wholly original, content that is oftentimes far superior to 95% of the films released in theatres. What still remains entirely uneven is the level of respect and acknowledgement given to each of the Marvel properties.

While the chasm between Marvel films and Marvel television is still gaping, there seems to be an unspoken, yet glaringly obvious, agreement that the latter is meant to be used first as something with which to prop up the former, and second as entertainment in its own right.

Which is bullsh!t at this point because we’ve long since passed the point where the shows are even remotely reliant on their big screen counterparts. As the first live-action television show, S.H.I.E.L.D. spent much of its first season trying to serve as an extension of the MCU. Characters were rolling their eyes at the mess Thor left behind after Dark World, dealing with the chaos of The Winter Soldier, and acting just as excited to see Nick Fury as viewers. But that is not the same show that we’re watching now and, subsequently, should not be forced down this one-way street of catering to the films that refuse to acknowledge it.


How was an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier shipped off to Sokovia to help the Avengers without any mention of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Director? How, despite spending time with Nick Fury, do none of the Avengers know that he’s not actually the Director anymore… that Phil Coulson is alive, well, and running the organization that many of them are technically a part of?

It’s frankly absurd and, while it doesn’t impact those who hit-up the latest Marvel film for the sole purpose of being entertained, it’s a slap-in-the-face to those who devotedly watch everything. Because, while some are gasping at the Sokovia Accords and choosing Team Cap or Team Iron Man, others are merely experiencing déjà vu. Because… it already happened. There has already been a lengthy discussion regarding powered people and there have already been lines drawn in the sand. Ultimatums have been given, sides have been chosen, and the topic has been explored.

On TV.

(But evidently nothing on television exists in the world of Steve Rogers and the rest of the Avengers.)

The problem with the MCU is the fact that it’s really only, “all connected,” when it wants to be. The films concoct these scenarios that, by proxy, force the shows to shift and weave so that the studio’s motto can remain intact. But the same isn’t true on the flip side. There’s no acknowledgement of the various Inhumans that, one would think, might be impacted by the Sokovia Accords. There’s no reference to the numerous other catastrophic events that happen on the silver screen rather than the big. There’s not much of anything.

Which, again, is the biggest bummer in my eyes.

Because I love Marvel. I attend the midnight screenings, I buy the merchandise, and I admittedly give a little grin when the Box Office figures are superior to those of… other… studios.

But Captain America isn’t in my home every week, Iron Man doesn’t pay me a visit every Tuesday, Black Widow has never adorned any of my birthday cakes, and the Hulk/Hulkbuster aren’t the Pop Funkos that I have carefully tucked away in a glass case.

The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are.

So why can’t Marvel just give them their due? Why can’t they proudly showcase Daisy “Quake” Johnson as their first female superhero? Why do an uncomfortably large amount of people still think Nick Fury is the Director? Why isn’t the genius that is Jemma Simmons revered with as much enthusiasm as Bruce Banner? Why aren’t the inventions of Leopold Fitz made into collectible props like those of Tony Stark?

Why is my favorite part of Marvel fighting to even be considered a Marvel production?

Should Marvel do a better job at acknowledging its television shows or do you think their, “it’s all connected when it’s convenient for it to be connected,” is an approach that seems to be working? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below!


About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen