A growing problem with the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is, in monetary terms at least, the biggest movie franchise ever, grossing about nine billion dollars over 12 films. Incredibly successful, it has also seen a massive expansion onto the small screen over the past three years, producing Agent Carter and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with ABC, as well as making a deal with Netflix to produce 4 TV shows – DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage and Iron Fist, as well as a Defenders miniseries. In total, Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television, says that there are currently nine or ten shows in various stages of development.

With its unprecedented scale, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been praised by many for its ability to weave in aspects of other films and TV shows, whilst still being able to tell a standalone tale. Mostly, this connection is film-to-film, or film-to-TV, and very rarely, TV-to-film. With the serialised format of the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., however, it’s strange that the show hasn’t had much of an impact on the movies. Indeed, in its first season, Agents had most of its episodes dragging on, awaiting the aftermath of the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when it was revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by terrorist organisation HYDRA years before.

But now the tables have turned, with the show breaking out of the restrictions The Winter Soldier placed on it. For example, the second season of Agents revolved around the introduction of the Inhumans – a race of alien-human hybrids. Their powers are activated by a vapour called Terrigen Mist, a mutagenic substance that activates the latent genetic potential in their alien DNA and grants them superpowers. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has recently seen a growing influx of Inhumans after Terrigen crystals (from which Terrigen Mist is derived) were released into the ocean, contaminating fish and other marine animals.

A lot of the action so far on the third season of Agents has involved Inhumans in a big way, with S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to contain and/or control this rapidly growing minority. Sounds very familiar to a certain upcoming blockbuster, no?

In the most recent episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the President of the United States claimed that ‘Fox News won’t shut up [about Inhumans]’. In a world where people have a non-trivial chance of becoming a superhuman simply by eating fish-related products, it’s clear that powers are not just a once in a generation quirk, but ‘powers are the new normal’.

Yet Captain America: Civil War, which seeks to address the issue of accountability re: superhuman individuals, has made no mention of the Inhumans at all, even in passing. Yes, the Avengers are the most profile superhuman individuals; no one could ever dispute that, but given that there’s actually canonically been a large amount of news coverage in the TV show about the outbreak of Inhumans, it’s rather strange to look back and realise that the film (apparently) doesn’t seem to be taking into account that little factoid from the show at all. 

The Sokovia Accords have been presented as only being there to regulate the Avengers – but why not the other superhumans who just broke into the scene, whose very introduction shook the pillars of the world and caused riots, paranoia, even a government agency to be founded to protect the world from them? Civil War can be either about a dozen people, or it can be about the hundreds, thousands of superhumans coming into their hitherto undiscovered heritage, running around unaccounted for with no training and no oversight, raising the stakes of the film beyond just the uncontrollable shenanigans of less than ten people. As fellow blogger nkay96 says, we’re ready for real drama to elevate the MCU.

As mentioned earlier, the TV side has made it pretty clear that this is a known problem in the world at this point, and so it is genuinely rather weird to see that so far, the focus of the Accords is purely on the Avengers.

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand in size, Feige et al. need to look at integrating more of the TV side into their films; its tiny little details like these that are essential to maintaining its cohesiveness and the magic that so captured audiences with the build-up to The Avengers (2012).

Captain America: Civil War hits theatres on May 6th (in the US). If you liked this, feel free to share it with your friends, and if not, share it anyway, all it takes is a single click :).


  1. Gr8 post! but what marvel ent is trying to show is that the mcu is full of *loads* of superhumans, not just the avengers. the sokovian registration act is about all empowered beings that wish to fight crime, but not all of them join the fight. but it’s not only avengers either. black panther and ant-man join the fight, but they are not official avengers (yet).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there! Thanks for stopping by :). I personally feel that it’s very very strange that the Sokovia Accords are so lacking in scope. Certainly, the Avengers are probably the most high profile superhumans, but as aforementioned, it’s literally all over the news in Agents of SHIELD that there is a superhuman outbreak. There are multiple references to the chaos – in the latest episode they even held a ‘Symposium on the Alien Contagion’, which was attended by international delegates and revolved around how to deal with them. Given that, it’s very weird that the Accords apparently don’t seem to concern themselves with the Inhumans at all, but just the Avengers.But, SPOILER ALERT

      There’s a potential vaccine against Terrigenesis now, so perhaps between now and when Civil War releases, the Inhuman population is suddenly ‘cured’. I doubt that though, because the Inhumans breaking onto the scene is something I feel should be permanent and it would totally negate the Secret Warriors arc that they’re setting up. Plus, they’ll need more Inhumans to fight against HYDRA…

      So yeah, that’s what I’m trying to get at here haha. To be honest, I’m not sjre what you’re trying to say…could you elaborate? Maybe something was lost in translation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m basically saying that the Sokovian Registration Act (or Sokovian Accords as some call it) doesn’t only concern the Avengers. it also concerns any other superhumans who wish to use their abilities to fight crime. So this includes Joey, Lincoln, Daredevil and the defenders. However, not all of them actually care about the act that much to risk their life fighting about it, so they don’t all take part in the civil war. But avengers aren’t the only ones taking part either. don’t forget that neither ant-man, black panther, agent 13 or spiderman are avengers and they still decided to join the fight. however as I said, the act only concerns those superhumans who wish to fight crime. the ATCU was created to take care of the entire rest and try to cure them. don’t forget that the ATCU still exists, even though Rosalind was killed. I hope that you understood my point this time.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah, I know. After the Sokovian Accords pass, the only organization of superhumans that will legally be able to fight crime will be The Avengers. So heroes like black panther, ant-man, Agent 13, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Joey, Lincoln would have to be accepted into the avengers before they will be able to fight crime again. and of course every new member will also have to sign that he agrees to the Sokovian Accords

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The Sokovia Accords, as shown in the image linked above, only binds Avengers. It makes no mention at all of the uprising of Inhumans, or any way to bind them, nor does it appear to have any provisos to bind anyone other than Avengers. Black ops are generally illegal anyway, so S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Secret Warriors aren’t exactly prime suggestions for a legal operation. That’s all I have to say. As it seems we are arguing ad infinitum et nauseam, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this. But thanks for the discussion.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I am thinking that the growing presence of the Inhumans on television, when we know there is an Inhumans movie coming, may be part of a game plan where the movies are influenced somewhat by the shows. However, maybe not, and I think that’s actually a good thing in some ways. See, how big is the audience for the movies? And how big is the audience for Agents of Shield? The one absolutely dwarfs the other. Which makes it a bit unfeasible for the small screen to have any great effects on the big screen, ya know?

    But as for why the Sokovia Accords only apply to the Avengers and not the Inhumans… well, the Avengers have been around for a few years and been involved in at least four city-destroying incidents thus far, so opinions have had some time to form and shift. The Inhumans are relatively new to the spotlight, not that much is known about them, and so far as the public knows, they haven’t nearly destroyed the world, and more than once. Or been gallivanting around the world as an organized military force of super people who are intimately involved in all the worst disasters the world has seen outside actual wars. Besides which, the Inhumans are already being handled in some way. It’s the Avengers who are out of control.

    The comic version of the Civil War touched on everyone who had superpowers, but the cinematic version won’t because it’s the Avengers themselves being held accountable, not the superhuman population in general.


    1. Heh, P.S.
      “We have an Enhanced in the field,” says Captain America a VERY short time after Jemma Simmons coins the term on Agents of Shield. 😉


  3. It’s a shame that there’s this behind the scenes split between Marvel’s film and tv divisions. The MCU could become an even richer playground if the two got along and allowed more crossover elements between the film and tv franchises.


    1. Oh, absolutely! Unfortunately it seems the TV side is doomed to be eternally relegated the task of cleaning up after the movies and pretty much doing their own things :/. I do get that there’s a smaller audience for the TV side when compared against the films, but chances are as long as the integration is done well – and I have no reason to believe that the Russo brothers can’t handle it – introducing someone like Daisy Johnson for an appearance in something like Civil War/Infinity War should be doable.

      Not to mention a good way to boost (hopefully) long-term viewership of Agents of SHIELD. Shame too since that side of the mega-franchise has been expanding so much, and seems set to grow to ever greater heights in the coming years. But hey, I’m not Kevin ‘Marvel’s Salvation’ Feige. Still incredibly excited for Civil War – just over 3 more weeks before I get to see it! So lucky my first class that day is 2pm because I will be so wiped after the midnight premiere :S.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry about the delay – exams and whatnot got the better of me. She’s not playing the same character, unfortunately, so that potential bit of connective tissue is lost. By the way, I saw Civil War – absolutely loved it (though had some small quibbles). When you’ve seen it for yourself, could you please have a look at this post? I’m sure I missed something somewhere and would love to have your input :). Thanks, and enjoy Civil War if you haven’t seen it already – you’re in for a real treat!


          Liked by 1 person

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