One passionate MCU fan has released a detailed letter asking Kevin Feige and the creative talent behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe to preserve the canon status of the original MCU TV shows.

MCU Wiki moderator @bejt_t published the letter, which features a history of the MCU TV shows, personal anecdotes, a beautiful graph, and 113 signatures from MCU fans who feel the same way we do.

Yes, you read that right. We. While I cannot speak for the entire Illuminerdi team, I am of the opinion that the original MCU TV shows should be honored by Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large moving forward. Before getting into the letter and explaining why the argument for AOS/Defenders+ canonicity makes sense to me, I feel that it is important to share my interpretation of canon. 

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE: WHAT DOES “CANON” MEAN TO YOU?

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Analyzing The New Petition Pleading Marvel Studios To Keep The 11 Original MCU TV Shows Canon - The Illuminerdi

For something to be “canon” in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe, it needs to be produced by or in association with Marvel, feature explicit connections to the greater franchise, and be sold as a MCU tie-in. By that definition, the Marvel Studios films and TV shows, the Marvel Television MCU TV shows (Agents Of Shield, The Netflix productions, Cloak & Dagger, Runaways, Inhumans and Agent Carter) and the MCU tie-in-comics would be considered canon. 

Projects like Venom, Deadpool, and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films would not be considered canon. With the introduction of the multiverse, these stories and their respective universes could be connected to the main timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they wouldn’t be “canon”. This is my understanding of MCU canon, and the same logic is used in the new Marvel Studios letter/petition.

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The letter, which can be viewed here, opens with an introduction that features a remarkable statistic. As of the end of 2020, the MCU TV shows produced by Marvel Entertainment comprised over 80% of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These TV series were not produced by Kevin Feige, with the exception of Agent Carter, and that is one of the main reasons that some fans and journalists have deemed them to be separate from the main MCU timeline’s canon. 

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE CREATIVE TALENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO WATCH THE OLD TV SHOWS

Wanda Maximoff WandaVision Scarlet Witch

Another issue with perception of the original MCU TV shows canonicity which was pointed out by the letter lies within their relevance to Marvel Studios’ creative talent. Matt Shakman (WandaVision) admitted to not watching Agents Of Shield despite WandaVision featuring the Darkhold, a key Marvel artifact that debuted in the MCU during AOS season four. 

“It is part of the Marvel Universe though, so I would imagine it’s the same book. I don’t know exactly how it was used in those other shows, because I wasn’t a regular viewer, but the Darkhold has a comics origin. Its mythology will continue to be developed.”

– Matt Shakman

And it doesn’t stop there. James Gunn insisted repeatedly on twitter that WandaVision was the first MCU show when that obviously isn’t the case. Whether or not the shows are being respected by Marvel Studios creatively right now, they were originally billed as MCU TV series. That’s not a matter of opinion, just a statement of simple fact. 

On page 10 of the letter, the author states that they almost feel as if they’re being punished for being a longtime MCU fan. Many fans of the classic TV shows feel a similar way. Why did we spend so much time investing ourselves in the origin of Hive and Hydra only for Marvel Studios to come along and present a totally different origin for the villainous outfit in What If…?? When a project is sold as a tie-in to a larger franchise, then consumed and loved by millions, it is unprofessional and frankly ridiculous to turn tail and remove them from that larger franchise years after their conclusion. 

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE: WILL THE DEFENDERS RETURN TO CANON?

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Analyzing The New Petition Pleading Marvel Studios To Keep The 11 Original MCU TV Shows Canon - The Illuminerdi

The letter then goes on to address the negative impact of decanonization on the classic shows themselves. While I understand how stressful it is to have this question of canonicity looming overhead when watching the shows, my belief is that the shows will always exist within the Infinity Saga. 

Even if Daredevil and Kingpin are rebooted for Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home and the old TV shows are thrown out of the official canon by Kevin Feige and Co., they cannot exist without the films. While the movies may be able to exist without the original TV shows, the shows have far too many obvious connections to the films to exist independently.

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Daredevil season one revolves around the fallout from The Avengers’ Battle of New York. Agents Of Shield features a phenomenal arc that literally revolves around The Winter Soldier. The films will always be a part of the MCU TV shows, even if the original shows are not relevant to new MCU projects. 

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Analyzing The New Petition Pleading Marvel Studios To Keep The 11 Original MCU TV Shows Canon - The Illuminerdi

The letter continues, featuring a graph on page 12 that wonderfully illustrates the many connections the shows have with one another. The graph shows how the removal of something like Iron Fist from canon would have a serious impact on the canonicity of the other MCU TV shows. The only show which could be removed from canon with little to no notable impact would be ABC’s Inhumans. 

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The final thoughts on the letter center on the importance of these shows to the fans, as well as the wonderful diversity and depth that the original TV shows brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Easily my favorite part of this petition is the second to last paragraph, right before the conclusion and signatures. To reword it would be a disservice, so I’ve included it below. 

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE: HOW TO BRING THE CLASSIC HEROES BACK EFFECTIVELY

“Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock, simply introduced as “a lawyer who is secretly a hero in Hell’s Kitchen the locals call Daredevil”, indeed very similar to how Spider-Man was introduced (and in need of a new suit after his last one was destroyed). Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page, introduced as Murdock’s colleagues and friends. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, “a New York crime kingpin who recently got out of prison for the second time”.

Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, “an alcoholic New York private investigator”. Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, “a man, experimented on, who became the bulletproof local hero in Harlem” (perhaps having managed to leave his position at Harlem’s Paradise), Simone Missick’s Misty Knight, simply “a New York cop who has a bionic arm following an accident”. Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing, a “martial artist vigilante in New York” (or indeed Finn Jones’ Danny Rand). Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, who was left in aquintessential Punisher place from which he could be easily introduced into the fold again.”

-MCU Letter From @bejt_t 

At the end of the day, no one really seems to know if the original Marvel Cinematic Universe TV shows will remain canon. Hopefully the people at Marvel Studios realize the deep love the fanbase has for these projects and utilize the characters in a way similar to the one described above. We should have a good idea of where things stand this December when Kingpin and Daredevil return (or possibly debut) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Marvel Studios Logo kevin feige marvel cinematic universe

Would you like to see the original MCU TV shows kept as canon elements of the franchise, or should they be rebooted? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!

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