Marvel’s cinematic universe is all connected... in theory. When it comes to the TV shows, they have to be as vague as they can when they refer to a character or event from the films—while the films ignore them wholesale. Here’s a round up of the silliest avoidances from across Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist.
The Incident (Daredevil, season 1 episode 1, et al) This one is the most common across all four shows, and it’s perhaps the clunkiest and most unrealistic of their attempts to refer to that time a bunch of aliens smashed into New York. Seriously, Iron Fist is set several years after the events of Avengers at this point, and people are still discussing “THE INCIDENT” in hushed tones. C’mon guys, no one actually talks like that. Why not a 9/11 style date? Or, an even better option...
The Battle of New York (Daredevil, season 1 episode 10, et al) It’s absurd this one doesn’t get as much play as “The Incident,” because it actually sounds like the way a human being would discuss this historical moment. It mostly gets consigned to that one front page of the New York Bulletin that shows up in Ben Urich’s—and later, Karen Page’s—office.
The Flag Waver (Jessica Jones, Season 1 Episode 4) When “trapped” by a victim of the Chitauri invasion, Jessica mentions Cap in passing when asked why she’s being targeted for something she has no connection to. Has Steve Rogers ever actually waved a flag in his role as Captain America in the movies? He usually just tends to dress up like one.
The Old Dude With the Shield (Luke Cage, Season 1 Episode 1) This is one of the most ludicrous examples of desperately wanting to remind audiences that these shows are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while being totally unable of just saying character names. A street merchant Luke walks by in Harlem is selling raw footage from “the incident,” rattling off a series of not-names like this one. I like to think he’s just flogging bootleg copies of The Avengers movie, in reality.
The Iron Suit (Daredevil, season 1 episode 4) Wesley mentions this while mocking several of Fisk’s goons for getting beat up by a blind ninja guy, and is actually the closest thing these shows have gotten to saying “Iron Man.” They tend to stick with “Stark,” which is at least much more direct than every other reference here.
Billionaire Playboy (Daredevil, season 1 episode 5) Claire asks if Matt falls into this well-worn comic book hero origin story, even though he’s not one of the many, many heroes that does. Also, it’s presumably a callback to Tony taking this exact moniker for himself in The Avengers.
The Magic Hammer (Daredevil, season 1 episode 4) It’s easier to refer to Thor’s hammer than it is the Thunder God himself, because well, he’s the guy with the hammer that and the thunder stuff is kind of his thing. Speaking of which...
The Big Blond Dude With the Hammer (Luke Cage, Season 1 Episode 1) We’re back to our Luke Cage bootlegger friend here, who helpfully points out that the dude holding the magic hammer is blonde. And big.
Some Kind of Magic Hammer (Luke Cage, Season 1 Episode 3) God, again with the hammer! This time it’s Misty Knight’s cop partner Scarfe pondering just how easier his job would be if his pistol was Mjolnir.
The Harlem Terror (Daredevil, season 1 episode 10) Not an actual shout-out to the Hulk himself, but actually to the to the events of the 2008 Hulk movie, which has a weird limbo relationship with the MCU in that it’s both canonical and non-canonical in what it meant for Bruce Banner as a character. This is in reference to the climax of the movie, which features Hulk and Abomination duking it out in Harlem well before Luke is around.
The Big Green Dude (and his Crew) (Jessica Jones, Season 1 Episode 3) Luke’s reference to the Avengers here is sadly not an allusion to Marvel’s The Crew, the African-American superhero team that he’ll be a part of in its newest iteration.
The Big Green Guy (Jessica Jones, Season 1 Episode 4) The big green guy is like the big green dude, but... with more alliteration?
The Green Monster (and I don’t mean Fenway) (Luke Cage, Season 1 Episode 1) The final not-reference from the guy who is bootlegging footage from “the Incident” on the streets of Harlem. Maybe he’s a baseball fan?
That Incredible Green Guy (Iron Fist, Season 1 Episode 6) OH COME ON JUST SAY THE HULK, DAMMIT. This one is ridiculous. Human beings don’t talk like this!
Nothing at all. Look, if they’re gonna be as vague as they are with the rest of them, what are poor Black Widow and Hawkeye (and now Sam, Wanda, Vision, and so on) gonna be referred to as? My guesses would be “Spy Lady” and “That fella with the bow.”