What does this mean?
Along with Daredevil, Defenders, and the rest of the Netflix Marvel series, today all seven seasons of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started streaming on Disney+. But those detail oriented Marvel fans have noticed something and they aren’t too thrilled with it. In spite of featuring Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson who originated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, guest appearances by other MCU characters, and even direct tie-ins to some of the movies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been left off of Disney+’s MCU timeline.
As noted by Murphy’s Multiverse, if you go to Disney+’s Marvel screen — unlike all of the MCU films so far released on Disney+ and all of the MCU tie-in series like Loki and WandaVision — you won’t find Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. under the row titled “Marvel Cinematic Universe in Timeline Order.” Nor can you find the series under any of the four “Phase” rows for the MCU. Instead, you find it in the row “Marvel Series and Specials” with Agent Carter, Inhumans, and Runaways. All of this in spite of the fact that Marvel one-shots focusing on S.H.I.E.L.D. like Item 47 and The Consultant are included in the timeline. Some fans are assuming this means that the official word is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not part of MCU canon.
Of course, fans could be jumping the gun here. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is seven seasons long. Realistically, the only way to accurately place the series in the timeline would be to break it up by season — i.e. rather than just having a choice for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you’d have a button for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 and a separate button for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, etc., and that could get a little unwieldy. Yes, the Disney+ original series have been included in the timeline, but so far there isn’t a single Disney+ MCU series over a season long. Not to mention that out of all of the MCU Disney+ series, WandaVision and What If…? are the only ones to contain more than six episodes.
Of course, on the other side of things, there is Agent Carter — we’re speaking here of the series, not the one-shot. Agent Carter is set in the 1940s and doesn’t represent a challenge as far as fitting it in the timeline. If Disney+ wanted to, they could easily put it in-between the Agent Carter one-shot and Captain Marvel. In other words: if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is absent from the MCU timeline row just because it’s seven seasons long, then why is Agent Carter not there either?
Regardless, you could argue we already have plenty of proof that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is MCU canon. Along with Phil Coulson, characters like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill, and Jaimie Alexander’s Sif all show up in the series. Events of specific movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World have direct impacts on the show’s story. Alien races like the Kree stop by to visit. Not to mention that neither Daredevil nor any of the Marvel Netflix series connected to it are in the MCU timeline row either, in spite of both Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock showing up in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Vincent D’Onofrio‘s Kingpin appearing in Hawkeye. When you weigh all of that against which row Disney+ chose to list a series in, is it even a contest?