Scott Hardie | December 26, 2021
With The MCU Project beginning in one week, I'd like to get your opinion about something before we get started, please, because I've already heard from one person who disagreed strongly with one part of my plan.

I intended the viewing schedule to be comprehensive: We'd watch every show, every short film, everything. I would even include in-universe TV commercials if it wasn't nearly impossible to keep track of them.

And we'd watch everything in order of release, because that's the way they're intended to be understood. Captain Marvel took place in the 1990s, but it's intended to be seen and understood after the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

That said, there's a real possibility of retroactive canonization: New MCU productions like, say, Deadpool 3 might acknowledge the events of non-MCU productions like Deadpool 2. I really don't want to argue about what is canon, because we'll never reach a consensus on that, so let's look at it this way instead: A line must be drawn somewhere with regards to what we'll watch and what we won't.

If an MCU production incorporates characters or story elements of an earlier non-MCU production, should that older title be watched in the MCU Project?

Personally, I'm inclined to say no, for primarily logistical reasons: How would we go about including outside series in something like this? If we watch The Good, the Bart, and the Loki, does that mean that we must watch all 716 Simpsons episodes to date? Even if we set aside that extreme example, and we only watch Marvel titles like Spider-Man or X-Men or Deadpool with the expectation that they might become retroactively canonized, where do we draw the line? Do we include 2002's Hulk? The 1990s Blade movies? The 1986 Howard the Duck movie? The 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series? Just adding the titles since 2000 would add over half a year to the project. And with new ones potentially being retconned in at any time -- who knows, maybe some future MCU title will reference some current cartoon series on Disney+ that we hadn't even considered -- we couldn't hope to keep watching them strictly in release order. That's why I chose not to get into this messy decision and I struck all non-MCU productions from the viewing plan.

But I know some folks out there must disagree. I want to hear from them. If we're going to change the plan, we have six days to do it. Should we incorporate non-MCU titles into this if they crossover, and how/when? Thanks!

Please avoid spoilers for any MCU production that you happen to know includes a crossover already.

Erik Bates | December 26, 2021
I say if we're calling this the MCU Project, let's just stick to the MCU as we currently understand it. Avoid rabbit holes, or we'll never finish the project.

Matthew Preston | December 26, 2021
Agree with Erik. MCU only. I'm sure that as we go through this, certain viewings may spark my interest in going back to watch other non-MCU titles. That would be on my own time though.

Evie Totty | December 27, 2021
MCU only

Scott Hardie | December 31, 2021
"MCU only" it is. I haven't heard from any other non-TC folks beyond the first person who inspired this conversation. Their position was that if we're going to watch everything, let's do it properly and really watch everything, and I don't disagree with that principle, but logistically it makes sense to draw the line here. As Matthew said, anyone who wants to watch additional titles can go for it. Thank you all for the feedback!

Evie Totty | January 3, 2022
Aw man - just realized Legion isn't MCU. I still need to watch the last season!

Evie Totty | January 3, 2022
Actually - I noticed we are watching stuff not related to the MCU (most notably the Netflix shows) and I just skimmed what we are "not watching" and I guess I don't understand why we aren't watching Legion or The Gifted because while I was trying to find out when Paramount ended and Disney began officially, I read that they were produced by Fox in association with Marvel Television.

Is this because they were Fox properties at the time? (And I guess that is also why none of the X-Men titles are included, and likely the source of your original conversation with the unnamed member).

Scott Hardie | January 3, 2022
It's been hotly debated for years whether the Netflix shows take place in the MCU. There are endless opinions and articles online to cite in support of any position in the debate. I have an opinion too (they very much are MCU), but I'm not interested in debating their canonicity in 2022, because that argument is endless and unresolvable without a definitive and unambiguous statement from the company. When the Netflix shows were originally announced years ago, they were said to be part of the MCU, and for me that's still good enough to count them now.

On the other hand, Legion and The Gifted were produced as part of the separate X-Men film universe, albeit different timelines after Days of Future Past, according to 20th Century Fox statements at the time. (I can't help but notice that each series has an appearance by a major X-Men character who was played by a different and quite famous actor in the movies.) Marvel used to get a production credit for any movie using their characters, which is why their company logo at the beginning of Fox films was different than the one on Marvel's own projects. I see no reason to include these shows as part of the MCU unless I missed something.

Evie Totty | January 3, 2022
Right - perhaps the Netflix shows were a bad example. I see Runaways and Cloak and Dagger in the list of checkboxes, but I haven't looked through the complete list closely.

Basically, I suppose my definition of what the MCU is is different (that each show / film is connected in some way).

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter though, as I'm not trying to start an argument or whatever :D

Scott Hardie | January 3, 2022
Oh! That's easy. Runaways and Cloak & Dagger are both MCU shows. Like the Netflix shows, they were intended to interlink with the rest of the universe, but the connections wound up flowing in one direction only. (There's talk of an object in WandaVision rendering them non-canon, but I think that's premature. Marvel has repaired canonical conflicts before, such as in Hela's visit to the throne room in Thor: Ragnarok.)

I hear you about not wanting to argue! This talk of what counts and what doesn't can become maddening. I have friends who have ventured deep into the Star Wars extended canon though various books and video games and so on, and they argue until they're exhausted about what counts and what doesn't, based on something George Lucas supposedly said in an interview once that can't be found online now, or based on a Disney company edict that they have since violated themselves, and on and on and on forever. I was wary of simply writing my last comment at all, lest I approach that void myself. :-)

Evie Totty | January 3, 2022
Hah! Yeah - more important things to worry about, my friend.

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