After years of debate, it seems Disney has finally made some form of definitive stance on whether or not shows like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter are considered canon to the cinematic universe. On Tuesday, several international Disney+ markets moved the shows into the category titled “Marvel Legacy Movies and Series”, insinuating they are no longer connected.
Other Marvel projects in the category are Fantastic Four, Hulu’s Runaways, and several X-Men films – all of which do not exist in the same universe as the MCU. The fact that this move is recent insinuates that Disney made it on purpose. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter will likely both be ignored for future MCU projects.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans should not be surprised by the move, however, as the greater universe has largely ignored the ABC shows since they debuted. In early seasons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went to great lengths to connect to the larger universe. The first season was in fact heavily written around the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in order for it to feel like it existed in the same world as the films. The films on the other hand never made an effort to bring in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters or reference events from the show. As a result, later seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. relied on their own storylines as opposed to connecting with the films.
One crucial event from the films that was never referenced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was “the Blip”. Even though the timeline of the show spilled into Thanos killing half of the universe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made no reference to the major event. In fact, the last few seasons of the show dealt heavily with time travel, so it is possible that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. timeline drifted from the core MCU timeline from there. Still, the fact that Disney is now distancing itself from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter is odd considering the fact they plan on introducing the multiverse in future projects.
There have been rumors of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters making future appearances in the MCU. Phil Coulson has been in the middle of many of those reports as has Chloe Bennet’s character Daisy “Quake” Johnson. Elizabeth Henstridge’s character Jemma Simmons has been rumored to be in Spider-Man: No Way Home as well. More recently, however, there have been rumors that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters like Quake will be recast in future MCU shows, so this Disney+ listing seemingly confirms those reports.
In the grand scheme of things, this makes sense for Marvel Studios as the MCU fanbase is largely unfamiliar with the former ABC shows. It would be difficult to simply bring Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters into a film without confusing casual fans. The only danger of erasing the shows from canon is upsetting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans, but it will probably mean very little financially. Marvel fans can still stream both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter on Disney+, along with confirmed canon shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.