A great deal of focus and acclaim has been given lately to the Marvel Disney+ shows, and for good reason. They've all proven to be great successes with audiences and each further expands and enriches the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It's important not to forget their roots, however. The MCU's first brush with TV came with Agents of SHIELD, starring Avengers actor Clark Gregg once more as Phil Coulson. Despite a rough start, the show really picked up and even featured Inhumans and Ghost Rider in later seasons.
Many now assume the show, along with their counterparts on Netflix, are non-canon to the MCU — but not everyone seems to agree.
CLARK GREGG REJECTS AGENTS OF SHIELD DECANONIZATION
Via Reddit user u/jennlebransky, an interview by Marvel Movie Minute has been found in which Avengers and Agents of SHIELD star Clark Gregg seemingly rejected the idea that the show is no longer canon, as many have claimed.
Gregg first reflected on the "great... time" that he had portraying Phil Coulson in Marvel movies and shows when one of the interviewers expressed their hope for Coulson's return in some capacity:
"It's really nice. Ya know, I had the greatest run and the greatest time doing each of the movies. I loved doing all of it. And I really had a blast. I don't yearn for anything... It's really flattering to me that people do seem to make a buzz about, 'When's he going to show up?' Ya know, I just enjoy watching what [Marvel Studios President] Kevin [Feige] and everybody has been doing. And Kevin's been really cool, as he always is and always has been to me..."
Speaking specifically about recent assertions that WandaVision included content that proved Agents of SHIELD was non-canon after the Disney+ series' inclusion of an alternate Darkhold, Gregg said that despite him being "pretty adept at this stuff," the conclusion didn't make sense to him:
"I've seen in places where people felt like SHIELD or something had been de-canonized by stuff that happened in WandaVision in ways that I couldn't even quite follow, and I'm pretty adept at this stuff."
Gregg mentioned that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige had said not to "underestimate" the fans of Agents of SHIELD, the Netflix shows, or the characters in them.
"[Feige] is so classy to the fans, I just think that's why Marvel has done something so special, is [ because] they're number-one priority is taking care of fans [...] I read this comment the other day where someone said that about, 'Did this diminish Agents of SHIELD?' And [Feige] said, 'Ya know, I think you're really underestimating how powerful and passionate the fans of that show and the Netflix shows are and were,' and I would never underestimate them or the possibility those characters, cause I really want to see (Daredevil actor) Charlie Cox, I really want to see people who love those shows, I want to see it all get crossed over as much as it could, cause I think that's what the Marvel fans want."
The Coulson star concluded that "there's room for everyone" in a franchise like the MCU, one that has now expanded into the multiverse.
WHAT IS MCU CANON IN THE MULTIVERSE?
Gregg's comments really seem to indicate that he believes Agents of SHIELD is a firm part of the MCU. Despite the appearance of the Darkhold in WandaVision differing from that in Agents of SHIELD, it's certainly not impossible that the show is still canon in at least some form. Perhaps a more important question to ask is: what exactly does canon mean in the age of the multiverse?
As the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home finally confirmed, characters from Marvel films past will be crossing over into the MCU for the first time. Following closely behind the last film in the web-slinger's trilogy is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which may include the appearance of X-Men leader Charles Xavier — perhaps even the one from the Fox films.
If characters from entirely different movie universes can make the step into the MCU, there's surely room for ones from Agents of SHIELD and the Netflix shows to do the same, as Gregg alludes to. There have been plenty of rumors indicating Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio will be reprising their roles as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin, respectively, in upcoming projects.
At this point, it remains unknown whether or not Marvel will bring back the iconic characters from Agents of SHIELD, but there are certainly a great number of fans who'd love to see it happen. For now, they should prepare for the first true film universe crossover when Spider-Man: No Way Home tears down reality in theaters on December 17, 2021.