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The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is primarily made up of content rated PG-13 and TV-14. The MCU generally targets a pretty wide audience including children, teens, families, and adults.

Since it is less likely that the same young viewers watching, for example, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would watch a TV-MA show, I'm just curious as to how Marvel came to the decision.

To clarify, I'm not saying they can't cater to different demographics. It makes sense that Marvel, wanting to make as much money as possible, would make TV shows for all sorts of audiences:

  • cartoon shows for younger viewers
  • TV-14 shows for teens and families
  • TV-MA shows for mature audiences

So, purely out of curiosity, has Marvel shared their reasoning for having TV-MA content in the MCU?

Note: this is not opinion-based since I am asking for any reasons Marvel has offered to back up their decision.

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    Of note, Jessica Jones is based off of the comic line Alias, which was published under the Max imprint, which was specifically for mature content. – phantom42 Nov 26 '15 at 6:35
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    I can't speak to Disney/Marvel's strategies, but just as one needn't read Animal Man and Sandman to keep up on Batman, one needn't watch Daredevil and Jessica Jones to keep up with The Avengers. Putting them in the same universe gives them the flexibility to do crossovers, but those can be age appropriate to the venue hosting the crossover. – Politank-Z Nov 26 '15 at 6:41
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    I've seen a few people complain that this could "alienate" viewers, but I've yet to see a compelling argument as to how/why it would. If you're not into the mature plotlines and content, there is plenty of other more family friendly content - especially since, as of now, the Netflix series do not impact the larger MCU. – phantom42 Nov 26 '15 at 6:43
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    Additionally, your condescending tone is most unwelcome. You don't have to like these shows; casting aspersions on those of us with different tastes is small minded and insulting. – Politank-Z Nov 26 '15 at 6:50
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    Why wouldn't they? If gore and violence drove away viewers, The Walking Dead wouldn't be the biggest show on television. And if Marvel was worried about making everything kid friendly, Loki wouldn't have called Black Widow a "mewling q$%m" in Avengers. – Wad Cheber Nov 26 '15 at 12:20
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To my knowledge, Marvel has never made a statement that specifically says "We want to have mature content in the same universe as our PG movie/TV content."

However, you can pretty much build up that statement from the pieces they have made clear:

  • They want their movies to appeal to a wide audience, especially a family (and thus, toy-buying) audience, so their movies will likely always strive for a PG-level rating.
  • They want to expand their market as wide as they can, so they are exploring other media outlets, such as broadcast television (ABC) and streaming media services (Netflix).
  • Broadcast TV is already very tightly regulated in terms of content, especially during prime-time, so that material will also likely remain TV-14-ish.
  • However, Marvel has source material that is not PG-friendly (primarily the Max line of comics), and would like to find ways to monetize that material to produce "deeper" or "more mature" content for their rather large over-18 audience that would appreciate.
  • They want all of their media to be in the same universe because they feel that fans will appreciate it more, and it will entice audiences to more readily pick up and consume various media formats if they're all somehow related.

So, it's not really that Disney/Marvel specifically wants to "introduce TV-MA material into a TV-14 world". Rather, they want to explore all of the various forms of media they have, but they also want to keep their live-action media in one universe, so the intermingling of audience levels is just a side-effect.

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    Plus, of course, someone who saw Iron Man in the cinema at age 12 is now 19. – Paul D. Waite Nov 27 '15 at 11:57
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    I don't think it's a small thing that the only TV-MA MCU content is on Netflix. There may be info from Netflix that explains this, instead of info from Disney. But, in general, Netflix has very successful TV-MA exclusive content. – user31178 Nov 27 '15 at 20:07

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