Spoilers for Luke Cage Season 2 (and Avengers: Infinity War) ahead. Marvel fans who walked out of the movies this spring stressed about what That Thing Thanos Did was going to do to their favorite shows might be feeling a little confused by Infinity War's effect on Luke Cage Season 2. The first Netflix Marvel show to air after the film doesn't address that ending at all. To clear things up and both ease and heighten your fears, at the Luke Cage premiere in New York City, Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb explained to Bustle why the Marvel timeline is so complicated, and whether or not fans should be stressed about Thanos later this year.
A quick recap in case you've blocked the heartache out of your memory: at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, a purple people eater named Thanos used the stones/gauntlet to wipe out 50 percent of every planet's population by snapping his fingers. Those who got dusted were chosen at random. So, in theory, at some point half the cast of all these shows needs to go.
"It depends on the show," says Loeb. "There's no blanket statement I can give you. Certainly Luke Cage takes place before the infamous snap — and some of that just had to with the fact that we were shooting [the second season] before the movie came out. Obviously, we can't be telling the end of the story before we get there."
As Marvel fans know all too well, with the Tom Hollands of the world out there, even when #ThanosDemandsYourSilence it was difficult enough to keep the secrets of Infinity War hidden amongst the massive cast of the film. Imagine how difficult it would be if everyone on Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Punisher, Iron Fist, Runaways, Cloak & Dagger, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were briefed too. It would be a logistical nightmare making sure all of those people didn't spoil the ending to the biggest crossover event of all time.
Plus, Netflix's shooting schedule is different from ABC's and Hulu's as well. These scheduling logistics are making transmedia Marvel storytelling slightly more difficult than when Hydra revealed itself in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and that game-changer affected Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the very next week.
"I think that's one of the things that's very challenging for people to understand," continues Loeb. "Our schedules are so different. They'll take a year, year and a half to make a movie and we shoot an entire series in about six to eight months. So it's sort of an icicle and a motorcycle riding side by side."
However, don't give up hope for future crossovers that solidify the place these shows have in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it sometimes feels like these street level heroes are slightly removed from the summer blockbuster stars, there may be some finger-snapping (not that that would necessarily be a good thing for any sake other than continuity's) headed to the small screen, according to Loeb.
"All of our things we try to tie in..." he says. "There may be, in the future, more opportunities for that to happen."
So, what does that mean? Look to the end of Cloak & Dagger on Freeform, perhaps, or Iron Fist Season 2 later this year. Look to the new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — especially since Maria Hill and Nick Fury got snapped up in a post-credits sequence. The timeline may be wonky but there's a good reason for it. Even the Infinity War screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, have said that they don't envy Marvel Television having to deal with the ripple effect they created. Be patient and keep faith in Marvel, because it sounds like those juicy connections and crossovers are coming — maybe even when fans least expect it.