The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been an unprecedented success. After the phase one culminated in the first Avengers film, it seemed like there was nothing Marvel couldn’t accomplish. When it was announced that the universe would be splitting off into television, fans were ecstatic. With the mantra #itsallconnected, the promise of a huge story being told on both the big and small screens seemed too good to be true.
And it was. Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to take fan-favorite movie character Agent Coulson and give him his own TV squad, the problems with the plan quickly became apparent. It was next to impossible for the films and shows to continue to intertwine.
As the franchise has continued to expand across different networks, the connections between the films and the shows have become less and less apparent. For many, there’s no longer any point. Why have Cloak & Dagger operate in the same continuity as Doctor Strange if they’ll never actually cross paths?
Marvel has actually done a pretty good job of connecting these properties together in small ways. Even though major characters may never actually meet and individual story threads may have nothing to do with each other, there are enough details connecting everything to keep die-hard fans happy.
Here are 16 TV And Movie Connections You Totally Missed In The MCU.
16. “The Incident”
Many may not remember this, but the events of the first Avengers film are actually the catalyst for the entire Netflix universe. Daredevil picks with Hell’s Kitchen recovering and rebuilding after the Chitauri attack. The criminal underground is in a state of turmoil as well.
They never call it the time that aliens attacked the city and a bunch of guys in flashy costumes with weird powers beat them up. They simply refer to it as “the incident.” Not only is it a huge plot point during Daredevil‘s first season, but it’s been mentioned in some form in almost every series since.
15. WHIH World News
This is a cool one. The WHIH World News is a news network present throughout pretty much every MCU property. You often catch quick glimpses of them reporting on whatever the current major event is. But Marvel didn’t stop there. There was also a web series called WHIH Newsfront that slowly built up to the events of Captain America: Civil War.
The series featured interviews with prominent MCU players like Scott Lang, Darren Cross, and President Ellis, all portrayed by their respective actors from the films. These segments added a real world gravitas, first to the threat in Ant-Man, then to the mounting tension surrounding the Avengers’ ability to act without governmental restriction.
14. Jessica Jones’ Blackmail
There’s a moment in Captain America: Civil War that very closely mirrors another moment from Jessica Jones. In the Captain America film, Tony is confronted by a woman who’s angry at him. She’s angry because she lost a son in Sokovia. She blames the Avengers for his death.
A more intense version of this moment happens in Jessica Jones. Jessica is hired and then trapped by a woman who hates super powered people. She pulls a gun on Jessica and tells her that she lost her mother in the incident. She describes superpowered beings raining hell down from the sky.
13. Roxxon Oil Corporation
Like WHIH, Roxxon’s logo shows up all over the MCU. It’s another minor detail woven through the background of the universe to give it that extra sense of continuity. In the comics, the Roxxon Energy Corporation was responsible for the deaths of Tony Starks parents.
While Roxxon has never taken a major role in the films, it has been ever-present.
Roxxon has shown itself from Agent Carter through all three Iron Man movies and continue to pop up in unexpected places to this day. The company has been shown to have ties with everyone from President Ellis to The Hand.
Thus far Roxxon has taken a backseat, but the company looks to possibly be playing a major role in the upcoming Freeform series Cloak & Dagger, having have featured prominently in the promo material. If it’s true, it’ll be a great payoff for long time fans.
12. Ben Urich’s Articles
That first season of Daredevil was rife with little crossover moments. This one implies that one of the show’s main characters has been heavily involved on the MCU’s sidelines for some time. Some people forget that The Incredible Hulk is part of the MCU timeline. This little moment reminds us that even though the Hulk looks like Edward Norton in that film, it counts.
Behind Ben Urich’s chair in his office, there are two large, framed articles.
One of them headlines “The Battle of NY” – that one is clearly about “the incident.” The other one very clearly declares “Harlem Terror“. This one is clearly about the final battle in The Incredible Hulk.
11. Seagate Prison
You’d have to be a pretty meticulous MCU fan to have caught this one. Here’s a subtle moment that ties Luke Cage directly to Iron Man 3.
At the end of Iron Man 2, Justin Hammer is imprisoned. The name of the prison he’s sent to is Seagate Prison. We know this because we see him in the All Hail the King one shot. In that short clip, we also see Trevor Slattery, whom fans will remember as the actor hired to play the Mandarin.
Seagate prison is the prison where Luke Cage, née Carl Lucas, spent time. It’s never implicitly stated, but it is heavily implied that Cage and Hammer were in there at the same time. The prison is seen once again during the events of The Defenders. Just another reminder that everything is connected.
10. Hammer Industries
If you don’t remember Iron Man 2, that’s okay. It did happen, though, and it was pretty integral to the MCU’s overall narrative. One of the primary antagonists in that film was named Justin Hammer. His weapons company, Hammer Industries, serve as Tony Stark’s main competition.
Though Hammer is in jail by the time Iron Man 2 ends, his company continues to prosper. In Luke Cage, much of his tech ends up on the streets of Harlem. We see the name multiple times throughout the series. The new and improved tech works in Chitauri science as well.
9. Lady Sif
Poor Lady Sif. She served a major role in the first two Thor films, but was completely abandoned in Thor: Ragnarok. Kevin Feige recently stated that she was banished by Loki, who took Odin’s place at the end of Thor: The Dark World.
Fans were delighted when Sif made an appearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in order to chase down the evil Lorelei. She even returned in the show’s second season. Her affinity for Thor is well on display both times.
Thor is currently single. He revealed the end of his relationship with Jane Foster in his latest outing. Though a connection with Valkyrie was teased, many still hope that he’ll end up with Lady Sif. If Feige’s words are true, we may see her return as early as Avengers: Infinity War and thus be ready for more crossovers with Coulson and the gang.
8. Hydra within S.H.I.E.L.D.
When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D started, it was as simpler time; a time when Marvel executives could bravely and openly commit to a fully shared film and television universe.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’S first season was rife with Easter eggs, cameos, and direct connections to the films. None were as obvious as the end of the first season. During the last six episodes, the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier rocked the show to its foundation.
Hydra agents began making themselves know all throughout S.H.I.E.L.D.
Grant Ward, one of the main protagonists, was revealed to be one of them. Theose last few episodes of season one also see appearances from Maria Hill and a still living Nick Fury. The ripples created from this crossover continue all the way through until the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
7. DVD of “The Incident” in Luke Cage
Luke Cage is tonally the most distinct entry in the Netflix universe. Still, it is not without its callbacks to the larger MCU. Across the street from Pop’s Barber Shop, where Luke works, there’s a guy who sells bootleg DVDs. His biggest seller is a video of “the incident.”
This one goes a little farther than some of the other Netflix callbacks. He full-on mentions “the blond dude with the hammer, the old dude with the shield, and the green monster.” He even says Tony Stark’s name. That’s a clear crossover and reminder that the Avengers are around.
6. Baron Strucker
The second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was not as ambitious as the first in seeking out direct connections to the film universe. Still, it didn’t completely shy away from it. While the story was dealing primarily with the Inhumans, there were other plot threads.
Word of Strucker’s machinations were whispered through several episodes. As Phil Coulson became the new head of S.H.I.E.L.D., tracking down Loki’s scepter became a top priority for him. It all culminates in a pretty cool moment. Coulson speaks with Maria Hill and informs her that it’s time to send in the Avengers.
At the same time, the recently transformed Raina has a vision. She sees the scepter, destruction, and men made of metal. Watching the episode as a direct lead-up to Avengers: Age of Ultron definitely gives a more comprehensive viewing experience.
5. The Sokovia Accords
By the time the third season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D rolled around, things had changed. The idea that direct crossovers could happen consistently between the MCU movies and TV shows was a thing of the past. The logistics were proving impossible to handle. So S.H.I.E.L.D. wisely began to make its connections more thematic than literal.
That’s not to say that the third Captain America film wasn’t directly referenced. Obviously, the Sokovia accords had far reaching consequences for the entire MCU. We get a direct mention of the accords as well as the fight between Tony and The Avengers from, you guessed it, WHIH World News.
We also get more direct consequences starting at the beginning of the fourth season. With the Inhumans’ numbers on the rise, tensions between the government and S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to mount throughout the season.
4. Anton Vanko
Again, you’d be forgiven for forgetting Iron Man 2, but it was nonetheless important to the overall MCU narrative. Iron Man 2’s main villain was Whiplash, aka Ivan Vanko. Ivan Vanko hated Tony Stark because Tony’s father had Ivan’s father Anton deported.
To be fair, he had him deported for a good reason. The two worked on the first arc reactor together, but Vanko wanted to sell the technology for personal gain.
What’s cool is that Anton Vanko actually shows up on Agent Carter.
We actually get to see the beginning of the partnership that eventually resulted in Iron Man 2, more than half a century in the making. Agent Carter could have gone the easy route and focused solely on connections to Captain America. Thankfully, they went deeper.
3. “That Incredible Green guy”
After Iron Man, the most famous Avenger in New York City is arguably The Hulk. Sure, Captain America’s the truest of the red, white, and blue, but he got frozen a really long time ago. And before he was unfrozen, in Bruce Banner’s own words, The Hulk broke Harlem. He was trying to stop The Abomination, but still.
That’s probably why he’s the Avenger most referenced in the Netflix universe. Those shows take place in New York, after all. Iron Fist has fewer callbacks than most of the other shows, but The Hulk still gets his moment.
Danny Rand causes quite a stir when he returns from the dead to take control of his company. Obviously, the controlling Meachum family are worried by this. In one moment, the younger siblings are informed by an adviser that their company has more YouTube hits than “that incredible green guy.”
2. Howling Commandos
We don’t often think of Peggy Carter as one of the MCU’s progenitors. Certainly the Howling Commandos aren’t the first thing to come to mind. Yet there they were, doing the Avengers thing before the Avengers were doing it. They started off by helping Captain America during the second World War.
In Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we learn that their adventures continued on well after the film. A slightly different line-up of the team shows up to help Peggy and her team with a particularly nasty infiltration mission. Unfortunately, one of the new boys doesn’t make it out.
Dum Dum Dugan even became one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D.
1. Arnim Zola
People who say the MCU has a villain problem unfairly overlook Arnim Zola. This guy was a huge player in Captain America: The First Avenger. Not only that, but he was smart enough to get out of the way when he saw the Red Skull’s plan starting to fail, ensuring his life was spared.
He returns in Captain America: The Winter Soldier over 50 years later, this time with his consciousness preserved inside a computer. It’s revealed that he’s been secretly building Hydra inside S.H.I.E.L.D. the entire time. Thanks to the magic of television, we actually get to see the genesis of his plan.
In the season one finale of Agent Carter, he arranges to have Johann Fennhoff put in the same cell as him. He tells the muzzled supervillain that his vision can still be achieved. It adds a whole layer of depth to an already interesting character.
Can you think of any connections between the MCU TV shows and movies we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!
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