The Marvel Cinematic Universe has lived up to the promise of being the same kind of shared universe as its comic book source material, as far as the cinematic offerings in the series go. Before WandaVision launched a series of fully connected MCU television series on Disney+, Marvel Studios kept the live-action Marvel Television shows at arm’s length from its big screen counterparts.
The last MCU adjacent show standing, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, ended its run in 2020. When it did, many fans gave up on the idea that most of the characters from it, Marvel’s Netflix shows and other live-action projects that pre-dated the recently ended Phase 4 would become a canonical part of the MCU. Recent events in the MCU have given newfound hope to fans who have looked for any sign that characters like Daisy “Quake” Johnson might appear alongside the Avengers.
The first characters to cross over from Marvel Television to the MCU were the most obvious ones. Vincent D’Onofrio’s first full appearance on Hawkeye and Charlie Cox’s cameo appearance as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home happened within days of each other. While they were both met with fanfare by Marvel fans, neither was a huge surprise.
The Kingpin’s MCU debut was as anticipated as Mephisto’s continues to be, and his comic book connection to break out character Echo made him the ideal character to appear as Hawkeye‘s main antagonist. Peter Parker’s legal troubles in No Way Home made it the ideal place for Murdock’s MCU debut and a nod to his status in the comics as one of the Marvel Universe’s preeminent superhero attorneys, along with She-Hulk.
The Kingpin and Murdock’s comically accurate debuts will carry over into both characters appearing on Echo. Murdock will also make his MCU debut as Daredevil on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Kingpin and Murdock were always the most likely characters to make the jump from Marvel Television to the MCU. Given the popularity of Netflix’s Daredevil and the importance of the characters in the comics, their MCU debuts are much like the eventual arrival of the X-Men — a case of when not if.
As welcome as Kingpin and Daredevil joining the MCU is, it didn’t give fans hope that other Marvel Television refugees would follow them. What did was the most shocking cameo in a recent MCU release, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Black Bolt’s membership in the ill-fated Illuminati was comic book accurate but was the least anticipated cameo in MCU history.
Inhumans‘ was so poorly received that it remains the consensus choice for the worst Marvel adaptation and one of Marvel’s few abject failures since the launch of the MCU. While Black Bolt was a founding member of the Illuminati in the comics, it was a shock to see him appear in a major MCU project like Multiverse of Madness, with Anson Mount reprising the role. Black Bolt’s immense power was even briefly done justice before suffering a gruesome demise.
While it’s unlikely Black Bolt’s return will lead to the Inhumans becoming a major force in the MCU, it does send a positive message to fans of other Marvel Television characters. If Black Bolt can cross over to the MCU, there’s reason to believe that characters like Jessica Jones and the Runaways can, too. If Marvel Studios is willing to bring back the main character of its most reviled TV series, the entirety of Marvel TV’s roster has a shot at joining the MCU.