Marvel Studios made history earlier this year with WandaVision as the MCU's first Disney+ series; however, it's worth noting that WandaVision was far from Marvel's first television show.
Beginning in 2013, Marvel Television created a number of Marvel TV series, such as Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Agent Carter, Daredevil, Inhumans, Jessica Jones, and more; and while these shows referenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU's library of films rarely returned the favor.
Through the years, fans have debated - as well as speculated - who and what from the shows is considered canon and whether anything actually is.
With the division of Marvel Television in the studio's rearview mirror, coupled with four MCU series streaming on Disney+ with more on the way, fans of Marvel's first batch of television shows are now making their case to Marvel's Kevin Feige on the subject of canon.
Marvel Fans Make The Case For Marvel Television
Members of the Marvel Community, and particularly MCU Wiki's BEJT, compiled a letter and a list of signatures appealing to Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige to make the Marvel Television shows canon within the MCU.
The letter's author shared that "while the praises of Marvel Studios are always heard, Marvel Television fans are feeling unheard."
They then provided the letter's intentions as it relates to the status of the various Marvel Television shows which included "To passionately plea that whatever happens, Marvel Television's MCU shows remain canonical to the MCU" and "to present why the canon of the shows matters greatly to myself and other fans."
In this portion of the letter, the author referenced issues in regard to the continuity between the shows and the MCU films, including the differences in the Darkhold as most recently seen in WandaVision as one of several examples.
They also noted that they intended to present a few ways that "the shows enrich the MCU" and to show what it would mean to fans to receive "acknowledgment of the shows by Marvel Studios."
The shows in which the letter's author, and those who signed in support, are concerned with are as follows:
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Agent Carter, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Luke Cage, Marvel’s Iron Fist, Marvel’s The Defenders, Marvel’s Inhumans, Marvel’s The Punisher, Marvel’s Runaways, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, and Helstrom.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel's Agent Carter, in particular, famously featured actors from the MCU films, including Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, and Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter.
Despite these connections and the links that the shows sought to establish between themselves and the films, the divide between the two mediums only appeared to grow over time.
MCU director James Gunn has stated that there was "never any coordination between the earlier TV stuff and the cinematic side of Marvel;" by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fifth season, it was established the series existed in an alternate timeline.
This is largely why Marvel Television's canonical status has been brought into question and - as the letter explained - contributed to the show's becoming "the subject of ridicule:"
"They may be valid in their own right, but when stripped of a status they had, they become rejects, made unfortunately to look pathetic and be the subject of ridicule (they already are, to many MCU fans, due to the perception of this already being the case). They had a place at the table and then were kicked off it."
Along these lines, the letter further touched on why it matters to fans that Marvel Television remains canon making the case that "the MCU is in these shows' DNA" and "to strip away their MCU-ness is to strip them of their very DNA."
In addition, the letter explained that revisiting these shows down the line - knowing that they are no longer part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - would mean that their various, intentional connections to Marvel's extensive film library would be associated with "a mistake" and now meaningless.
The letter provided additional thoughts and arguments on the subject and concluded with a list of signatures from registered MCU Wiki users who supported the appeal.
The full letter can be read here.
Marvel Canon In The Eye Of The Beholder?
Even though the Marvel Television shows sought to connect to the MCU, the fact is that Marvel Television and Marvel Studios mostly worked independently of one another throughout Marvel Television's run.
This reality, coupled with the fact that interconnected storytelling and continuity is part of Marvel's brand, understandably led to fan confusion and frustration and the question of canon.
This letter from the Marvel Community is appropriately addressed to Kevin Feige since he - as the studio's own He Who Remains - is the individual who determines what belongs to the sacred MCU timeline and what gets pruned.
Although, it's worth noting that he might have already given an answer and a solution: the multiverse.
Marvel's Loki and What If...? on Disney+ have established the existence of multiple timelines and variants of MCU characters, and if rumors actors from Marvel's Daredevil appearing in Hawkeye on Disney+ and in Spider-Man: No Way Home are true, Marvel Television may be on the verge of validation.
Regardless, this appeal from Marvel fans shows that there is strong support for the characters and stories of Marvel Television.
Clearly, those characters and stories made an impact on their audience; and if there was any doubt that Marvel couldn't succeed with episodic storytelling on Disney+, those critics only needed to look to the fans of the franchise's first television audience.