Canon Confusion

Marvel leak could fix a major Hawkeye plot hole — and rewrite MCU canon

We may finally know whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil are canon.

Marvel Studios may be deep into its Disney+ era, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten the TV shows it made before WandaVision. Last year, the studio brought Vincent D’Onofrio back as Kingpin in Hawkeye and Charlie Cox as Daredevil in Spider-Man: No Way Home. In case that wasn’t enough, a number of rumors suggest that those two aren’t the only pre-Disney+ TV actors that Marvel is considering working with again.

However, while Marvel has shown a willingness to continue working with actors from its short-lived Netflix shows, there’s still a question of whether Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the other pre-Disney+ TV titles are considered canon within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel hasn’t been quick to offer any clarity on the subject, but if two leakers are to be believed it looks like the studio has finally settled on an approach for bringing its pre-Disney+ TV characters back into the MCU.

Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.ABC

A Difficult Compromise — In a series of recent tweets, a purported Marvel insider claimed that the studio has officially decided to start treating Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as if it took place in a universe outside of the MCU’s prime Earth-616 reality. The decision has apparently been made as the result of the studio’s plan to bring back Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake, a fan-favorite Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. character.

Bennet’s MCU return has long been rumored, and it sounds like S.H.I.E.L.D. fans may not have to wait much longer to see her show up again. However, if this insider’s claims are to be believed, any version of Quake that appears in the MCU moving forward will be slightly different from the one fans are familiar with. Specifically, Bennet’s Quake is apparently going to be given a “new origin” for the MCU.

These claims were backed up by an established Marvel leaker named KC Walsh. In response to the original Twitter thread, Walsh wrote that Marvel is essentially going to treat its Netflix characters the same way. If that’s true, fans will have to accept the fact that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the rest of Marvel’s Netflix shows have now been retroactively set in one of the MCU’s many alternate timelines.

Mike Colter, Krysten Ritter, Rosario Dawson, Charlie Cox, and Jessica Henwick in Marvel and Netflix’s Defenders.Netflix/Marvel Studios

The MCU’s New TV Era — While this update may be seen as a disappointing one, it’s also not surprising. There have been reasons to believe for well over a year now that Marvel Studios is leaning toward erasing the events of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, and the rest of its pre-Disney+ TV shows from its prime MCU canon.

Fans have been concerned that might be the case ever since WandaVision introduced a version of the Darkhold that was different from the one seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Runaways. Those concerns only became more pronounced after Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk was given a totally new look and near-superhuman durability in Hawkeye. While D’Onofrio himself claimed the version of Kingpin he played in Hawkeye is the same one from Daredevil, the differences between those two shows’ takes on the character led fans to suspect that wasn’t the case.

Now it looks like that skepticism was well-founded. While these leaks haven’t been confirmed, it seems more likely than not that the versions of Matt Murdock, Wilson Fisk, and company that are going to be in the MCU moving forward will ultimately end up being slightly different from the ones fans came to know in Marvel’s Netflix and ABC shows.

Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin in Marvel’s Hawkeye.Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — With a new season of Daredevil currently in development, and characters like Quake and Jessica Jones rumored to appear in upcoming MCU projects, it seems like only a matter of time before Marvel finally confirms the canonical statuses of its various pre-Disney+ TV shows.

When that day comes, fans will finally be able to put many of their biggest long-running MCU questions to rest. While it’s possible that Marvel’s plans for its Netflix and ABC characters will remain fluid, fans probably shouldn’t be surprised if the solution to the MCU’s greatest canon problem ends up looking a whole lot like the one described above.

It may not be the direction that a lot of fans were hoping to see Marvel take, but it is the one that gives the studio the greatest amount of freedom when it comes to using its pre-Disney+ TV characters, and that shouldn’t be disregarded.