As we gradually learn more information about the upcoming Avengers: Infinity Wars—the two-part Marvel film event that is essentially the culmination of every single Marvel Studios movie up until now—one thing becomes clear: This shit is complicated as hell. Sure, this epic franchise event has its writers and directors locked down, not to mention, presumably, every available movie theater space within the Earth’s atmosphere. But what about locking down popular new TV hero Jessica Jones, for example? Who will take up the mantle of drinking toxic amounts of booze now that Iron Man’s a teetotaler? According to a recent interview with Infinity Wars co-director Anthony Russo, such a move would require the greatest superpower of all: A vast assemblage of entertainment and copyright lawyers.
The cause for his comments stems from fan speculation over whether the two-part movie will include The Defenders, the superhero team scheduled for a 2017 Netflix miniseries and composed of the characters from the streaming service’s individual Marvel shows: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the forthcoming Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Turns out, that is crazy difficult to pull off, despite everybody already technically being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “It’s complicated,” said Russo, clearly familiar with the headline to this story. Here’s the rest of his thoughts, translated from a new interview with Super Interessante at Comic Con Experience Brazil:
When we start to serialize the telling of stories it’s difficult. You have to have a lot of control and focus on the course of history. The films are controlled by a group led by Kevin Feige, so they function as a unit. Other products, even if they are from Marvel, are controlled by others. Then there is the possibility of a crossover, but it’s more complicated.
You may be thinking, “But all these characters are owned and operated within the Marvel umbrella. Isn’t it basically like a local sheriff briefly assisting on a larger state case?” Anthony Russo would like to dispel you of that nonsense, right now.
It is a smaller scale version of the problem that exists when remembering that Fox holds the rights to some of Marvel’s most popular characters, as does Sony and others. As storytellers, we only have control over what happens in Marvel movies, but everything is possible, Spider-Man (whose rights were held by Sony) became possible!
So, apparently getting other characters that are owned by Marvel, and are being used in Marvel productions, into your Marvel movie is only slightly less difficult than getting characters that are wholly controlled by a separate company with whom Marvel has very publicly feuded. A dispiriting thought, but also one that maybe explains why, even with a massively bloated Homeland Security budget, the FBI and CIA still function like second graders who would rather everyone in class get a time-out than share one carrot stick from their Lunchables. This doesn’t mean there’s no hope of seeing Jessica Jones fight side-by-side with Scarlet Witch, but it does mean, once again, that corporations are very good at ruining fun.