‘Jessica Jones’ (Finally) Stops Avoiding Talking About the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Could this mean more crossover between the TV shows and the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future?

One of the weirdest things and, we’ll be honest, most self-consciously awkward things about the Netflix Marvel shows is the way none of them ever explicitly acknowledge the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

We know “Jessica Jones,” “Daredevil,” Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist” and “The Punisher” take place in the same world as movies like “Iron Man” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” But when the hit film franchises that run parallel to the TV shows come up — always in tiny doses meant to provide context for audiences — characters use terminology that almost feels deliberately evasive.

In-universe historical icon Captain America is called “the old dude with the shield” or “the flag waver.” Thor, established in two other films as basically tabloid-famous, is just “The Big Blond Dude With the Hammer.” The Hulk is repeatedly (and awkwardly) called “the big green guy.” And that alien attack that devastated New York City in “The Avengers”? People on the Netflix shows — all of whom actually live in NYC — refer to it only as “the incident.”

It’s anyone’s guess why they Netflix shows go to such lengths to avoid anything but the vaguest mention of their parent franchise. But if “Jessica Jones” Season 2 is any indication, the practice might be coming to an end. At last, viewers finally see some real, almost substantial references that explicitly connect the Netflix shows to the films.

Early on in the season, Jessica (Krysten Ridder) meets a kid named Vido (Kevin Chachon) who shows her his Captain America toy and calls the hero by name. That’s the first time we’ve heard anyone in the Netflix wing of the MCU mention Cap by name — or any other hero, for that matter. The only other show that talks about the MCU movies that directly is “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which was itself a spin-off of “The Avengers.”

What’s more, later in the same episode, Jessica actually refers to the events of “The Avengers” as an alien invasion, the first time that’s every happened in the Netflix family of shows. And later in the season, Jessica directly refers to “The Raft,” the  maximum security super-person prison featured in “Captain America: Civil War”.

So what does it mean that “Jessica Jones” and, presumably, future seasons of Netflix shows are willing to name movie characters?

It’s hard to do anything but speculate, but the shift in willingness to talk about the movies directly in the streaming shows could signal more willingness at Marvel for the films and the TV offerings to intersect. That doesn’t mean you should expect to see Captain America team up with Luke Cage, or Daredevil getting rescued by the timely intervention of Iron Man, of course — a cost standpoint alone makes that altogether unlikely.

But it does seem more likely that elements of the TV shows could potentially mix with the films. Maybe Marvel is laying the groundwork to bring some of the TV elements to the movies in the post-“Avengers: Infinity War” world, since that movie is going to bring all of the MCU movies together for one giant story, and likely greatly change the face of the MCU in its wake.

It’s tough to know for sure what this change in the Netflix Marvel shows might actually mean for the MCU — but it is a change worth noting.