The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown exponentially over the past eight years since Iron Man was first released in 2008. Now, with Marvel Studios gearing up to enter Phase 3 of the MCU with Captain America: Civil War, the massive shared universe spans almost a dozen films, a pair of TV shows on ABC, and a burgeoning Defenders universe on Netflix. Phase 3 will additionally bring the third Avengers team-up film, the two part Avengers: Infinity War, which will unite many of the superheroes introduced in the MCU.
However, while it is known that Avengers: Infinity War will focus on secondary characters within the MCU, it has yet to be confirmed whether characters from Marvel's television series will be included in the big screen event. Now, Avengers: Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo discuss the topic of whether The Defenders and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will suit up with the Avengers.
While speaking with BadTaste.it [h/t ScreenCrush], the Russo brothers spoke about the massive size of the MCU - especially considering the number of characters confirmed to be introduced in the time leading up to Avengers: Infinity War - but didn't confirm the appearance of Marvel TV characters:
The Marvel Universe is sprawling - the Marvel Cinematic Universe is enormous. Just think of all the characters that haven’t been introduced yet that are going to be introduced by the time that we’re working on Infinity War. We have a tough task just telling the stories of the characters who exist [on the big screen] in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let alone adding the entire Marvel Television universe. Anything is possible in Marvel. It’s certainly something we’re considering. But our focus is on telling the stories of the characters that currently exist on the movie side.
Certainly, the Russos have mentioned in the past that Avengers: Infinity War will incorporate a rather large number of characters simply from the film side of the MCU. As evidenced by Captain America: Civil War - which doesn't include all The Avengers characters, but a good deal of them - the MCU has an abundance of superheroes even as more are set to join their ranks. Both Spider-Man and Black Panther will be introduced in Civil War, with Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and other films expected to introduce even more heroes in the coming years.
Additionally, there is an added level of complication when looking at the relationship between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV. Kevin Feige is the architect of the film side of the MCU, but the television shows fall under a different head - Jeph Leob and others at Marvel. So, while characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil may easily acknowledge the Battle of New York or the events in Sokovia, the behind-the-scenes construction of the MCU is a bit more complicated.
Still, the Russos haven't completely nixed the idea of Matt Murdock or Daisy Johnson joining the ranks of The Avengers when they take on Thanos in Infinity War. But, assembling all the characters needed for Avengers: Infinity War will prove to be challenge enough before factoring in Marvel TV characters. So, as the Russo brothers, along with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, begin to shape Avengers: Infinity War, it remains be seen whether they'll include Marvel TV characters - either as major parts of the story or in smaller cameo appearances.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Daredevil seasons 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher spinoff on Netflix have not yet been announced.