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"When the Mandarin seemingly killed Iron Man and took the President hostage, the Avengers didn't assemble. When Malekith almost destroyed the universe, the Avengers didn't assemble. And when a terrorist organization infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and came just seconds away from killing millions, the Avengers still didn't assemble. But when a remote HYDRA base might be hiding something, every single Avenger is assembling all up in this business!"
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe built its fortune upon the ideas of an interconnected World of Superheroes, with its tagline at one point being "It's all connected". Today, being a juggernaut of a franchise consisting of more than a dozen movies (and counting), and TV series across multiple networks and platforms, the common question "Why doesn't [insert protagonist] get help from the other Avengers?" has become more prominent than ever.

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    General 
There are some general "catch-all" justification for the absence of the Avengers in other movies or series:
  • The Avengers as a whole don't concern themselves with non-global issues and lesser scale crime. Because of this, the Vulture's crew managed to run a profitable arms-dealing operation in New York, the Avengers' back yard, for years - although they were very careful not to draw attention to themselves. When Spider-Man stumbles onto them, Iron Man's response is to inform the FBI.
  • Paying close attention to Thor in general will confirm that he basically only gets involved in Earth's affairs when they face threats from off-world. He helps out in The Avengers because the threat is Loki, he helps out in Avengers: Age of Ultron to keep Tesseract-based weapons out of HYDRA's hands (and implies he may not be around as often when that goal is finished), and, as mentioned above, spends most of his other appearances on other planets. In Civil War, not only is he busy with Asgardian matters (as detailed in Thor: Ragnarok), but the conflict over the Sokovia Accords is not his fight to begin with.
  • After Captain America: The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. simply does not have the resources or access it once enjoyed to investigate all incidents.
  • Priority: because of resource restraints, both groups tend to focus on cases involving obvious, verified threats - often having something to do with one of their own.
  • Time: if the film or series happened during a short period of time and does not have lasting impact, they won't be mentioned.
  • Social Circles: A decent justification on why the Defenders and Avengers don’t really interact. All of the Defenders (except for Danny and even he really isn’t interested with the business stuff that would most likely bring him into contact with say Tony Stark) operate in total different niches then the Avengers. Matt’s a lawyer who interacts with mainly the downtrodden and ignored citizens, Jessica is a Private Eye whose cases more often than not involve infidelity, and getting dirt up on people, and Luke, despite being the closet thing to a heroic celebrity on the Netflix side, prefers to stay helping out the citizens of Harlem and has no real interest in what goes on outside his neighborhood. Compared to The Avengers who deal with the Goverment and U.N on a consistent basis it’s really unlikely their paths would cross.
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    Film 
  • Iron Man 3 had to address this, since the film takes place after The Avengers, and director Shane Black acknowledged in interviews that they'd have to explain why Tony couldn't just call his fellow superheroes or S.H.I.E.L.D. for help. Iron Man 3's justification for their absence is, to quote Rhodey, "It's an American problem," and America wants to show it doesn't need S.H.I.E.L.D.; later on, Tony is stranded in Tennessee for much of the film, with his remaining suit offline and lacking money, his cellphone, or wireless internet to contact anybody. Once Tony manages to reach his friends again, he's short on time and would be wasting it waiting for the Avengers to arrive. The ending of The Avengers also has the heroes go their separate ways, suggesting that, with the exception of Bruce Banner, Tony may not know where any of them are, especially since half of the team are classified S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Thor has returned to Asgard.
  • Thor: The Dark World avoids this by setting the large bulk of the story in other realms besides Midgard and the Earth scenes in London. This second part involves a lot of teleporting that even a hypersonic Mjölnir has trouble keeping up with.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier justifies the absence of the more powerful Avengers when Captain America could use their help. The Captain and Black Widow are branded fugitives and being hunted down by S.H.I.E.L.D., who is keeping tabs on all communication channels. If they tried to contact Tony, Bruce, Thor, or Clint, they would've alerted S.H.I.E.L.D. to their whereabouts. Not to mention they only have a few hours to stop the villains' Evil Plan after learning the extent of it. Sam Wilson is the only one they could go to for help who is not on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar. In Captain America: Civil War, Stark also mentions he had destroyed all his suits at the end of Iron Man 3 and had yet to build a new one at the time of Winter Soldier, explaining why he couldn't just fly in even though the final confrontation in Washington D.C. was being broadcast on national T.V. and lasted long enough for him to show up. Of course, that doesn't explain Rhodey, whose Iron Patriot / War Machine suit was just fine.
  • The comic book Iron Man 3 Prelude was published to explain why War Machine was not present during the events of The Avengers, which is a common fan question. The book reveals that he was fighting the Ten Rings organization in China during the Chitauri invasion of New York, and was only able to return to America once it was already over.
  • It's subverted in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where Rhodey / War Machine briefly appears at Tony's party, only to disappear from the film after one fight scene to let the regular Avengers handle things. Then, with little set-up, he suits up and joins in on the fight against Ultron in Sokovia for the film's third act.
  • In Ant-Man, after being debriefed on the magnitude of the villain's plan, Ant-Man hangs a lampshade on the trope by wondering aloud why they don't just call in the Avengers. His mentor justifies why they don't call in the Avengers and resolve the plot, namely that he absolutely doesn't want Tony Stark to gain a hold of his Pym Particle due to bad blood he and Howard Stark had back in the day. He also sarcastically mentions the Avengers were too busy dropping down cities for them to help; between this line and only one Avenger being present at their armory, it's implied they actually are quite busy with Ultron-related cleanup. Meanwhile, The Falcon does show up and Ant-Man actually tries to get him to cooperate with him, but since Ant-Man broke in, Falcon doesn't want to hear it and tries to arrest him.
  • Since Thor and Hulk are stronger than every other hero in Captain America: Civil War, the two are out of contact with the rest of the Avengers just in time for the movie where the team splits in two and dukes it out. The film actually averts a common instance of this trope: when Falcon mentions that they could use Ant-Man's help right now, he actually goes out and picks him up. Furthermore, the ending of the film makes this a Justified Trope for much of Phase 3. Long story short, the only superheroes left active are Iron Man, Spider-Man and (a rather depressed) Vision.
    • Even though Falcon goes out and picks up Ant-Man, Scott doesn't even think to bring Hope/The Wasp along. This is lampshaded in Ant-Man and the Waspnote  where Scott explains to Hope that he didn't have enough time to ask her because they (either Falcon or any Avenger who is on Cap's side) just showed up on his front door and asked for his help right away.
    • Still, when Tony goes searching for backup among New York's vigilantes, he decides to go to the young and extremely inexperienced Spider-Man and only Spider-Man, even though Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and even Frank Castle. Of course with the exception of Jessica, neither of them are super-powered and Iron Man explicitly wanted a heavy-hitter (someone who as he notes in Civil War stopped a heavy car dead in tracks moving at 40 mph) against the likes of super-soldiers Captain America and Winter Soldier and Scarlet Witch. Likewise, Matt has no obvious superpowers and his profile would suggest he wouldn't be on Tony's side (the lawyer/vigilante double life would tell Tony that Matt believes you can't exclusively trust the law). Jessica keeps a low profile on purpose and isolates herself because of the trauma of Kilgrave. Frank was believed dead at the time by everyone except Curtis Hoyle, given he'd faked his death on the Blacksmith's boat.
    • On top of all that, Tony explicitly goes to Peter for the potential of his webbing, since he engages Team Cap with the express desire to capture rather than injure or kill. Going to Punisher would have been counterintuitive seeing as he's a vigilante that only uses lethal force. On a character level, Tony would gravitate to a poor Science Hero over a lawyer with a social conscience (and the fact that Matt is a lawyer who moonlights as a vigilante suggests he doesn't believe that the law should be exclusively trusted), and would probably not even bother with the other two. Also, a poor teenage kid is easier to impress into service in a factional dispute than an experienced lawyer and zealous vigilante, and Iron Man is fighting an ideological fight against Cap.
  • Doctor Strange (2016) reveals that there is a secret monastery in Asia where a powerful sorceress known as the Ancient One trains students in the mystic arts. The fact that the Ancient One and her followers never intervened during the events of any of the previous Marvel movies (even the big ones with global consequences like The Avengers and Age of Ultron) is Handwaved by Wong saying that they deal with mystical and existential threats, and leave the physical ones for people like the Avengers to deal with.
    • As seen in Avengers: Endgame, the Ancient One was actually present during the Chitauri's invasion in 2012, protecting the New York Sanctum Sanctorum from the invaders while the Avengers are fighting elsewhere in the city.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming shows that Happy Hogan is assigned as Peter Parker's liaison with the Avengers... only he ignores the teenager all the time. The only Avenger to show up is Happy's boss Tony Stark - who is too busy with all sorts of things (he has to use a remote-controlled suit to save Spidey from drowning given he was in India at the time), especially the moving of the Stark Tower assets to the new Avengers HQ upstate (as first presented in Age of Ultron), to deal with a small gang of arms dealers. He only directly helps Spider-Man when the latter is having trouble saving the barge where he fought the Vulture, and afterwards asks for Peter to stay out of trouble because he doesn't want the young man's death on his conscience. Also, The Defenders continue to be ignored - while Luke Cage (2016) is presumably still jailed in Georgia following his series, Jessica, Matt and Danny Rand live in Manhattan, across the river from Peter's Queens home, though this can be justified as Spider-Man not having the right connections or knowledge to get into contact with them.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange makes his presence known the instant Thor brings Loki to Earth, and helps them find Odin in exchange for Loki leaving ASAP. While Thor spends most of the movie stranded on an unfamiliar planet, he happens to run into the Hulk and one of the Valkyries, and manages to recruit both of them to fight Hela.
    Thor: I'm putting together a team, like the old days!
    • The film also clarifies that both Thor and Hulk were indeed offworld during Civil War, as Thor was searching for clues regarding the Infinity Stones, while Hulk's Quinjet had shot off into space, where it ended up falling into one of the random wormholes that brings all manner of space junk to Sakaar. As pointed out in his conversation with Strange, Thor doesn't have a phone or e-mail, and wouldn't really have been able to use them anyway while offworld.
  • Since Black Panther (2018) takes place only a week after Civil War, it makes sense that Bucky is still recovering from his brainwashing and unable to help out during the events of the movie. However, Captain America was also shown taking refuge in Wakanda, and nobody really explains where he is during the movie. A tie-in comic reveals that he and Falcon left shortly after arriving to regroup with Black Widow so they could travel the world and take down criminals underground.
  • Avengers: Infinity War includes majority of the movie superheroes with the exception of Hawkeye and Ant-Man. There's a throwaway line that both heroes surrendered to the United Nations due to their participation in Civil War and are put under house arrest so that they can be with their families which also explains their reason for not being able to aid the other superheroes when Thanos hits Earth.
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is set after Civil War, explains what Scott and Hope had been doing prior to Infinity War: Hope is focused in getting her mother, Janet Van Dyne, out of the Quantum Realm with the help of her dad, Hank. However, several people are after them such as the FBI, black weapon dealer Sonny Burch and Ghost who all want access on their tech for various reasons. The father and daughter enlist Scott's help despite being on house arrest because he's the only one who knows about the Pym Particles and he already had experienced getting out of the Quantum Realm before. In the end, Hank, Scott and Hope save Janet and make amends with the people who are after them, particularly Ghost who wants to use the tech to heal her body and stay alive. Then, there's the post-credit scene which is set near the end of Infinity War where the entire Pym family are snapped into dust by Thanos and Scott is trapped in the Quantum Realm with no one to help him out.
  • Captain Marvel (2019) establishes that the most powerful hero in the MCU, able to singlehandedly waste a fleet of bad-guy space fighters in seconds and fly across cosmic distances at will, has been active since 1995 and Nick Fury has had the communicator she gave him ever since. It turns out that she's actually busy helping the Skrull refugees find a safe place away from the Kree Empire and look for other survivors. In The Stinger, Carol eventually returns to Earth after Fury sends her signal during the post-credits of Infinity War. But by the time she arrives, she meets the surviving Avengers and asks where Fury is, unaware that he is also one of the victims of Thanos' Snap.
  • Avengers: Endgame briefly has this trope in play, with Captain Marvel pointing out that in the five years post-snap she has to continue helping thousands of other planets who don't have their own superheroes. And then the film throws the trope out the window when practically every single major heroic force appear in the final battle against Thanos once everyone dusted is restored, from almost every Avenger (except for Vision and Black Widow), the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Asgardians, the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the Ravagers, and the Wakandans.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home: When Nick Fury and Maria Hill tries to recruit Peter Parker for a mission, Peter, annoyed that his vacation was interrupted, asks why they don't get Thor or Captain Marvel to do it. They explain that they are both unavailable. Thor joined the Guardians of the Galaxy and Carol is on a deep space mission.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Most characters from the movies can never appear in the various TV series due to budget reasons, and so far the Powers That Be don't seem to want TV characters crossing into the movies either, with the sole exception being Edwin Jarvis in Avengers: Endgame, and that character had mere cameo that did not really connect the plot of Avengers:Endgame to the show the character was in. The shows themselves also rarely cross over for a variety of storytelling, business and practical reasons. The result is that each show largely exists in its own bubble. Despite Marvel's tagline that "It's all connected", anything more than a Red Skies Crossover is out of the question.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • The show has a habit of coming up with huge stories that are not mentioned by the rest of the franchise, such as the Inhuman crisis in Season 3note , that never sees any of the movie superheroes take notice. However, even here there is justification. After the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier the titular organization was officially disbanded and moved to acting in the shadows while dealing with international pursuit by the United Nations so seeking out help isn't possible. The things also need more investigation and down-to-Earth stuff compared to the physical confrontation the Avengers are called in to solve. It's also shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War that the Avengers more or less took the place of S.H.I.E.L.D. so they are ironically too busy doing the job the former spy organization was originally charged with to help. Furthermore, the Sokovia Accords are said to cover Inhumans as well as Gifted supers like Captain America.
    • While it is somewhat plausible Daredevil (2015) could have flown under the agents' radar due to the lack of obvious superpowers involved, Kilgrave from Jessica Jones (2015) is exactly the sort of threat S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to contain, and even manages to make the news a few times. But they don't go after him, although this is not without its reasons: Kilgrave's existence doesn't even qualify as rumor until Hope kills her parents, and even then it's clear that practically nobody takes her claims seriously. By the time enough concrete evidence exists in the system to indicate that Kilgrave might be real after all, things have come to a head and Jessica has already killed him. Not to mention, S.H.I.E.L.D. policy is that psychic powers don't exist, so it'd be easy for them to write Kilgrave off as "just another bs psychic powers thing" and not investigate it, because they wouldn't know that his powers actually come in the form of a virus. Even if they did investigate Kilgrave, all he would have to do is say "Go away and ignore my existence forever," and they would do exactly that.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Although Fisk's schemes would fall below the Avenger's radar of jurisdiction at first glance, according to Civil War, the heroes might actually have been able to guilt him into taking over the rebuilding of Hell's Kitchen and investigating Fisk himself, although they couldn't possibly have known that.
    • By the time the Hand does attack there wasn't much of an Avenger's team around to help, their existence is neglected whenever a potential attack from a shadowy organization that may or may not have access to superbeings is discussed. The most logical response level-headed Matt could have given to Stick's ramblings of a coming war is "Well that's what we have the Avenger's for" but likewise, Stick could have pointed out that between the 70 year-old super-soldiers, and literal gods Matt is trying to emulate, his stories aren't all that far fetched.
  • Jessica Jones (2015):
    • This trope is justified within the first season. In the last episode, Claire Temple asks if Jessica would like to ask for Matt Murdock's assistance fighting Kilgrave and she declines due to not wanting to endanger any more lives (not that Matt would've had a problem, since when he was first introduced in the comics, Kilgrave was actually a Daredevil villain, before being retooled into his current version).
    • Season 1 of Jessica Jones was criticized by some fans for the fact that, aside from Claire Temple's appearance in the season finale and a few small references here and there, it operated like it was in a vacuum from Daredevil (2015), despite taking place in the same part of Hell's Kitchen that Matt patrols (and the fact that, again, Kilgrave started out as a Daredevil villain). While not done as a response to the criticisms, season 2 of Daredevil makes several small references to the events of Jessica Jones (Jeri Hogarth has hired Foggy's girlfriend Marci Stahl and makes a cameo in the season 2 finale to hire Foggy as well; Sgt. Brett Mahoney references the late Oscar Clemons in another episode; and it's mentioned that DA Samantha Reyes is intent on going after Jessica after the Punisher's case is wrapped up).
    • Season 2 of the show raises the question of why Jessica doesn't reach out to Luke when she realizes she's up against another superpowered human being with superstrength. In this case, Jessica may have feared dragging Luke into another one of her messes, especially after what happened last season when she had to shoot him point-blank with a shotgun to break Kilgrave's control over him, while the out-of-universe reason is that Mike Colter was busy filming the second season of Luke Cage, which heavily overlapped with the Jessica Jones season 2 shooting schedule.
    • Season 2 averts this in a different way. The Raft, the illegal prison that some of the Avengers were imprisoned in during Captain America: Civil War, is mentioned multiple times as being where Jessica's mom is most likely to end up if she gets arrested.
  • Luke Cage (2016):
    • Until the last moments of the first season, Luke consistently rejects the idea of having a lawyer, even though Claire knows "a good lawyer" he can talk to and Luke would certainly benefit from one given the legal issues he's facing. This "good lawyer" is implied to be Matt Murdock, but is revealed in The Defenders (2017) to instead be Foggy Nelson.
    • During Diamondback's arc, there have been some arguments that S.H.I.E.L.D. and/or the Avengers should have been involved due to the alien nature of the Judas bullets and Luke's superstrength. However, the Avengers are at this point still re-establishing themselves following half the team leaving, and with the controversy about the Sokovia damages still looming (the events precede Captain America: Civil War, where another disaster makes the UN intervene), so they would unlikely deal with a mundane situation like arms dealers in one New York City borough. And S.H.I.E.L.D. by that point was operating without sanction and need to get government approval and funding. So if any outside help did get involved in the Diamondback arc, it would be the ATF or the FBI.
    • Averted in season 2, where Luke actively teams up with Danny Rand, creating the iconic Heroes for Hire.
  • In Iron Fist (2017), some have made arguments that once Claire learned that Danny and Colleen were about to go up against the Hand, she should've sought out Matt Murdock, since he battled the ninjas that attacked the hospital and killed Claire's friend Luisa Delgado. However, The Defenders (2017) shows that Matt has been laying low since Elektra's death and is thus more invested in practicing pro bono law and rebuilding things with Foggy and Karen. Furthermore, Matt is presumably reluctant to even work with anyone else, given what happened to Elektra.
  • The Defenders (2017), which unites Marvel's Netflix protagonists together, is this trope in general. Of course, the four heroes are reluctant to work with each other at first, especially Matt and Jessica, who either don't want to risk the fallout of going back up against the Hand (in Matt's case) or just really couldn't care less about some ancient conspiracy (in Jessica's case).
  • There has been some criticism over the fact that the first two post-Defenders Netflix shows, The Punisher (2017) season 1 and Jessica Jones (2015) season 2, don't even acknowledge the events of The Defenders.
    • With Jessica Jones season 2, there's in-universe and out-of-universe reasons why the show acts as if the events of The Defenders never happened:
      • The in-universe reason why the season didn't deal with anything about The Defenders is because Jessica didn't even want to be a part of the whole teamup. She's willfully ignoring everything that happened because not only did she not want to be a part of it, but Matt, who was the one person besides Luke on the team that she even mildly connected with, was seemingly killed by their superhero antics and saving the day. She willfully ignores the fallout of The Defenders because she wants to.
      • The out-of-universe reason why The Defenders is seemingly ignored in Jessica Jones season 2 is due to the production schedule. According to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, and interviews with Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor, the writing process for Jessica Jones season 2 started in January 2016, well before The Defenders writing process begannote . That's why what references are made to other shows are limited to everything up through Iron Fist (2017) season 1 (Jeri Hogarth mentions Rand being one of her clients in a couple of scenes), with a cameo from Foggy establishing that the season takes place after Daredevil (2015) season 2note .
    • The Punisher (2017) season 1 suffers a lesser case of this. The primary reason why the events of The Defenders and the other Netflix shows outside of Daredevil (2015) season 2 aren't acknowledged is because The Defenders didn't involve Frank or affect him in anyway. Therefore, his show didn't deal with anything about the fallout of The Defenders, even with Karen Page being a recurring character in both shows, but we can tell with her scenes in The Punisher that she's definitely in the midst of mourning Matt's death. Matt is the huge unspoken elephant in the room that is never discussed. For story purposes, Matt's "death" isn't brought up so that The Punisher is a bit more self contained in its story, and also because hearing about Matt's "death" wouldn't have affected Frank and his quest for revenge. It would have merely impacted his interactions with Karen.
    • For the Phase II shows, this trope is quite averted for Luke Cage (2016) season 2, because a big part of the story is about Misty Knight getting adjusted to her new bionic right arm, after she lost said arm fighting Bakuto in Midland Circle. Nor is it the case for Daredevil (2015) season 3, because of Matt's "death" and subsequent recovery in a convent.
  • In light of the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, it is very common to see fans to debate over why S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't pick up on the Defenders' existence and the Netflix shows' seeming lack of acknowledgment of the events from the films beyond just "the Incident". In fact, Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb has made clear that no crossovers will happen from the Netflix shows to the movies and no mention will even be made of the events in Infinity War because the Netflix heroes fight much smaller villains.
    "We obviously don’t come from a place where we want it to turn into an Easter egg farm. But Marvel’s always been this way, it’s one of the things that differentiated us from anyone else was that you could read a Marvel comic and in that Marvel comic, suddenly Thor would fly by, and that’s all that he would do. It let you know, again, I get in trouble for this, it’s #ItsAllConnected."

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