Considering how wide the gulf between Marvel’s TV and movie branches has become, it’s surprising that neither Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. nor Netflix’s Defenders have attempted TV solidarity with an earnest crossover. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but there’s mounting evidence that could point toward Jon Bernthal punishing ABC’s Agents sometime in the near future.

Take this with an entire island’s worth of salt for the moment, but anyone who caught the fourth season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had to have noticed a significantly darkened tone accompanying both the 10:00 P.M. timeslot and the arrival of Ghost Rider. It wasn’t quite the same level of violence permeating Netflix’s Daredevil (especially Season 2's introduction of The Punisher), but enough that any Defender would feel right at home.

Meanwhile, Daredevil and Punisher spinoff star Jon Bernthal has raised a few eyebrows in recent weeks, after a New York Comic-Con appearance was cut short due to the actor’s “Netflix production schedule.” So far as anyone knows, neither The Defenders nor Bernthal’s Punisher spinoff have begun shooting just yet, with the latter unlikely to premiere before 2018:

Compounding that curiosity, Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway recently showed up to an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 premiere screening, to which Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb noted of his and Robbie Reyes creator Felipe Smith’s presence “you will understand later in the season why all these different [creators] are here.” Conway has also written for Ghost Rider comics in the past, but not the Robbie Reyes incarnation.

For what it’s worth, another rumor in recent weeks also saw Marvel Animation VP Stephen Wacker responding to tumblr inquiries of another animated Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. crossover with “Not at the moment. But there is another live action crossover coming …” That could mean any number of things, including any imminent appearances on the individual Defenders series, such as next week’s Luke Cage.

All three put together could make a compelling case for a surprise Punisher appearance (lord knows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could use the ratings), but neither necessarily need be related. After all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. still shoots in Los Angeles, while the Defenders set up shop in New York (where S.H.I.E.L.D. stars will be for the convention), so it doesn’t quite add up that New York Comic-Con would interfere with the production schedule for either series.

Still, it’s at least worth considering outside of circumstantial evidence, as the ABC and Netflix series have made background references to one another, but would certainly benefit from a bit of integration. Both shows are making strides into the supernatural as well, from Ghost Rider to Daredevil’s Hand-y foes and Iron Fist, matching the movies’ likewise pivot with Doctor Strange.

We’ll see if New York Comic-Con brings any official announcements, but would The Punisher or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. do well to crossover, now that the latter has gone dark?

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