[This article contains potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War]
Since the onset of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU), debate has raged over whether the TV and film universes would ever collide. Unlike the DCEU, Marvel acknowledges a connection between its two screens -- although a disconnect seems to be growing between the two realms. However, as Captain America: Civil War heads to the big screen next month and Luke Cage is scheduled to join the Defenders TV show lineup this year, is it possible that aspects of these two might overlap?
We’ve already seen Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) make the switch from big to small screen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is it possible that Luke Cage and Captain America: Civil War could also have something in common as well? It looks like they will share an actor, that of Alfre Woodard, but not a character unfortunately.
In preparation for the red-carpet premiere of Captain America: Civil War on April 13 in Los Angeles, Marvel Studios released a list of scheduled attendees (via Newsarama). The list includes two actors who hadn’t been included in the official casting, Woodard and Jim Rash. Rash, whose role in the film is also unknown, has ties to the Russos from their time working on Community. Woodard was added to the Luke Cage cast last year; she’ll depict Mariah Dillard in the upcoming show, the cousin of the Cage’s enemy Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali).
As the engines of speculation began to rev, though, Screen Crush reported that the character Woodard portrays in Civil War is unrelated to her role in Luke Cage. According to their sources, she has a “small yet pivotal role” as the mother of an American killed during the Sokovian battle in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It sounds as though her efforts will convince a guilt-riddled Tony Stark to back the Accords (a.k.a. the Superhero Registration Act) which splits the Avengers down the middle.
The initial red-carpet guest list report fueled hopes that Woodard’s role in Civil War would bridge the gaps between the disparate halves of Marvel’s live action department. While it’s confusing to have Woodard playing two distinct roles in the MCU, having two actors play different roles isn’t unheard of in the Marvel realms. Enver Gjokaj was both a police officer in the first Avengers before being cast in Agent Carter as Agent Daniel Sousa. Woodard was, in all likelihood, cast in Luke Cage around or after the time filming on Civil War was wrapping up, making it difficult to coordinate the character’s appearance in the film.
At this rate, it doesn’t look particularly good for the continuity between the TV and film sides of the MCU. Since Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance as Nick Fury on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2014, only minor characters have crossed-over between the two sides of the MCU. And the Marvel Studios’ split last year – which gave Feige control of the MCU and left Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter in charge of the MTVU – doesn’t leave fans with much hope for watching the Defenders battling next to the Avengers in the Infinity Wars. Of course, nothing is set in stone.
Captain America: Civil War opens in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018;Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Daredevil season 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, and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.