As the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to unfold, I keep reading speculation about where “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the other pre-Disney+ Marvel shows fall in its continuity.
The simple answer is, the Netflix shows like “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” took place before Thanos' snap at the end of “Infinity War.” That doesn't necessarily jive with the release calendar, but so what?
As great as continuity in comics can be, there are all sorts of inconsistencies. And while it's always fun when writers or editors acknowledge and explain those, the important thing is to tell a good story, then worry about how the pieces fit together.
I'm not sure what the latest official word is, but I've seen more than once that these shows may no longer be canon. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it (well, not much) if that's the way they go, but I tend to like to keep as much as we can.
It could just be they're all out there in the multiverse, which seems to a direction Marvel is headed. DC and the CW proved it could work when “Crisis on Infinite Earths” linked up with pretty much every DC movie and TV property from the '60s “Batman” to a pre-Snyder-cut “Justice League.”
Marvel doesn't need to follow in the Warner footsteps to keep its cinematic universe humming along, but the multiverse explanation is one way to go. If they want to reboot certain properties, they may have to excise some material or at least shunt it to an alternate reality.
I'd been thinking about writing this for a while, but episode 6 of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” had a moment that jogged my memory and, I thought, made an argument for the existence of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” post-“Endgame.”
When (really, really mild spoiler warning) Sharon Carter arrives on the scene, she appears to Bucky as a man. But she peels off a high-tech mask like those used multiple times in season two of the show.
A check of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Fandom wiki tells me the device is called a photostatic veil. It also reminds me that Black Widow first used one in “Captain America: Civil War,” which kind of torpedoes that argument.
But I've written this far, so let's keep going.
The existence of the tech doesn't confirm “Agents” and “Falcon” take place on the same Earth any more than the existence of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” But it compliments the headcanon I've used to explain the inconsistencies between the final two seasons of “Agents” (which I have still not completed) and the movies.
I propose “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” seasons 1-5 are firmly in the main MCU. There may be some minor conflicts, and even though the movies had way more influence on the shows than vice versa, there are connections. The helicarrier that shows up at the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was restored with the help of “a couple of old friends,” according to Nick Fury. The show confirmed it was Coulson's new-look “S.H.I.E.L.D.”
And Jarvis' appearance in “Endgame” is a direct link to “Agent Carter” (and Agent Sousa appeared on both shows so...).
Seasons 6 and 7 of “Agents,” in which I never saw what we now know as the “Blip” addressed, would then take place in one of the alternate timelines created during the time heist in “Endgame.”
This allows most of the events of the show to proceed unaltered. It does mean the threat at the end of season 5 isn't Thanos' minions, but that could be explained away as some other force filling the vacuum of power in the alternate timeline.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter. The enjoyment I got from watching the show won't disappear if Kevin Feige and company decide it didn't happen in the main MCU.
But the explanation that it was in-continuity until it wasn't and even the parts that don't fit have a link to the watershed “Endgame” works for me.