Actors can play whoever they want. So what if Mahershala Ali and Alfre Woodard played two characters? We’ve seen plenty of characters played by two actors (Ed Norton and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner; Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle as War Machine; Josh Dallas and Zachary Levi as Fandral, etc.). Spider-Man: No Way Home even presented us with three, presumably identical Peter Parkers played by three very different actors. Hell – Gemma Chan went from playing Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel to Sersi in Eternals. It does not matter as long as the actor is good for the part!
Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb were not on the same page, but they were – metaphorically speaking – in the same book. AoS did a good job of running parallel with the films, especially with the downfall of SHIELD post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And Marvel’s Netflix shows all took place in a Manhattan still dealing with the fallout from an alien invasion. And without SHIELD being canon, certain movie characters – like Lady Sif and Maria Hill – lose a lot of screen time and character development. Feige even respected Marvel Television’s casting choices enough to bring in James D’Arcy, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Charlie Cox as their Marvel characters.
The 5-year blip atones for all status quo sins. Sure, it seems far-fetched for Kingpin to go from being the most powerful criminal in Manhattan to working out of a dreary storefront, but it makes way more sense if the Kingpin we see in Hawkeye lost most of his allies in the Blip and has spent five years rebuilding his organization in the middle of an apocalyptic global catastrophe. D’Onofrio even said that he was playing the same Kingpin as the one he played in Daredevil. And we know that, at the very least, Feige isn’t starting over with these characters since Matt Murdock clearly has his Daredevil powers in No Way Home.
There really is no canonical explanation for Agents of SHIELD skipping the Blip…
… But you can easily explain two Agent 13s and two Darkholds. If multiple agents besides James Bond can go by 007, then the same could easily be true for SHIELD And there are two Darkholds, so what? That sounds like a potential storyline to me!
There are lots of MCU movies that aren’t on Disney +, period. Spider-Man: No Way Home pulled both the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb films into MCU canon, as well as Sony’s currently unfolding Venom franchise. None of them are streaming on Disney +, and neither are the MCU Spider-Man movies. And because of the multiverse and variants and whatnot, it’s also possible that all those X-Men spirit Fantastic Four movies that aren’t in the MCU lineup on Disney + are actually just waiting to be confirmed as other MCU timelines. Maybe Disney + needs a new section: MCM – Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
Loki spirit Spider-Man: No Way Home’s introduction of multiple timelines allows for everything to be canon – if you want it to be. That’s really it. The Netflix shows are canon because there aren’t really any incredibly outrageous contradictions, especially since you can easily place all of them before the Blip. Agents of SHIELD is tougher because it ignores the Blip, but you can say that it takes place in a timeline that’s very similar to the one we know. The existence of multiple timelines allows the viewer to kinda pick and choose based on their interpretation and how much they actually even care.