The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an elite club that doesn’t just take anybody in, even if you come with tights, spandex and special abilities. As the highest grossing franchise and easily the most recognisable one in the world, the MCU is in a league of its own and it’s all thanks to the direction of one man – blessed by the hands of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, and if he didn’t, then it’s not canon.
Hey, we don’t make the rules. In fact, Feige said so himself.
With the recent roll out of Disney’s premiere streaming service, Feige is also adamant that the new Disney+ will introduce new MCU heroes for the first time on the platform, reaching new audiences and current fans, and has already built a strong-line up of TV shows with new character, with the likes of She-Hulk and Moon Knight also potentially jumping onto the big screen.
And with the recent WandaVision, which has seen big screen heroes like Wanda Maximoff and Vision squeezing into smaller ones, it actually puts Marvel TV shows in an awkward position.
Yes, the same Marvel TV that previously or are even currently produced some shows using Marvel Comics characters, that don’t fit into the MCU. Here are some Marvel shows on Disney+ featuring Marvel Comics characters that don’t fit into the MCU, that we reckon that the House of Mouse prefers not to acknowledge.
Marvel’s Runaways or Runaways for short, is about six teenagers from different backgrounds uniting against a common enemy – their criminal parents who collectively run an organisation called Pride. The show went on for three seasons on Hulu and is even based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Even though it is TECHNICALLY set in the MCU as they share continuity with the MCU films – even referencing Wakanda in a few episodes – the name of the series has never left the lips of Marvel Studios chief architect Kevin Feige.
Helstrom is a 10-part series that centres around the fiendish sibling duo of Daimon and Ana Helstrom. The Helstroms, who are the half-devil children of an enigmatic serial killer, fight together against the very worst of humanity and the demons who lurk within. Helstrom was made by Marvel TV for Hulu. You would think being made by Marvel TV might give you a little bit of a pass to be considered in the MCU, but no. In fact, producer Paul Zybszewski cleared the air and confirmed that the standalone series is not a part of the MCU.
Cloak and Dagger
Based on the comics of the same name, Cloak and Dagger is about two runaway teenagers named Tandy Brown and Tyrone Johnson who acquire superpowers after the collapse of an oil rig. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. The two teenagers work together against drug cartels and help runaway children. After forming a partnership together, both Tandy and Tyrone find themselves falling in love but little else, as this show does not crossover to any other Marvel properties.
Dubbed as one of the most powerful Marvel characters, its a shame the mutant Legion didn’t receive a big movie. Legion follows the story of a mutant named David Haller who is diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age. Haller struggles to control his mutant powers and the sinister forces trying to control them while evading a government agency. Legion aired a total of 27 episodes over three seasons, with all three seasons receiving universal acclaim for their distinct narrative structure and visual style as a unique approach to the superhero genre.
Less of the MCU and more of the X-Men, LEgion’s father is none other than Professor Charles Xavier.
The New Mutants
The New Mutants sees five teenage mutants undergo treatments at a secret institution that will cure them of their dangerous powers. Invited by Dr. Cecilia Reyes to share their stories, their memories soon turn into terrifying realities as they start to question why they’re being held and who’s trying to destroy them.
For a long time, the MCU avoided mutants. Mainly over weird licencing between Fox and Disney. But now that Fox and Disney has merged, it would make sense that The New Mutants would be part of the MCU, yes? No.
Director of The New Mutants Josh Boone explains that his film was never going to be retconned into the MCU mainly because the merger happened right in the middle of making the film. The film was made for Fox in mind, it just so happened that Disney inherited the film after the merger. It’s also the last movie in Fox’s storied X-Men film legacy, and if you though X-Men: Dark Phoenix ended the franchise with a whimper, this is the after party that no one attended.
It seems mean that some of these much-loved Marvel TV shows, such as Legion, be cast to the side, but when it comes to Inhumans, it makes sense.
Marvel’s Inhumans, or simply Inhumans, is based on the Marvel Comics of the same name, and was originally announced as a standalone MCU film, before being cancelled and repurposed as a TV series that ties in to the MCU.. The series is centred on hero Black Bolt and other members of the Inhuman Royal Family. After a military coup, the Inhuman Royal Family escape to Hawaii, where they must save themselves and the world.
The show was not well-received and was bombed after just one season, making this possibly the most ill-received MCU title so far, so maybe it’s for the best that we all forget that this show ever existed.
Whilst all these shows are content that Disney+ and the puppeteers behind MCU may want you to ignore, it doesn’t mean that you should. These non-MCU Marvel shows may not be the action-packed “everything is connected” blockbusters you associate Marvel to, nor do they have big Hollywood names attached to them, but it doesn’t mean some aren’t enjoyable.
You would also realise that we didn’t add Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to the list, but that’s because we love Agent Coulson, and don’t mind the seven seasons that spun off from the action in much loved The Avengers film.
Fans of Marvel who have grown up reading a wide range of comics may be able to appreciate some of the series because they’re all not that bad. Legion is deemed successful and despite being cancelled at only one season, Helstrom still has a group of passionate fans who lobby for the show’s renewal. Whilst the likes of Inhumans and The New Mutants have received negative reviews, who’s going to tell you what to watch and what not to watch. It’s your Disney+ account and you watch whatever you want.