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What do we consider part of the ? Who gets final word on what is or isn't MCU? From interviews, there is internal strife on what counts and what does not:

While speaking with IGN, the Age of Ultron director revealed that there were some none too pleased with the creation of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., particularly with what it meant for the Agent Coulson character (who was seemingly killed by Loki in The Avengers) and the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization itself:

“I think actually the movie people were a little bit cross about the TV show. They were sort of like ‘Well you can have this but not this. And this but not that.’ It’s complicated enough as it is without me adding another layer of complication. We also created a TV show called S.H.I.E.L.D. right before they made a movie where they destroyed S.H.I.E.L.D.. So everybody’s having a GREAT time!”

For one, there's this line:

“Yeah [Agent Coulson]’s dead. The entire television series is just a fever dream. It’s a Jacob’s Ladder moment he’s having at the point of death, but we don’t give that away until after season seven. And there’s a snow globe. Now I’ve given it away. Bollocks!" “It’s a weird little yes and no. As far as I’m concerned in the films, yes he’s dead" [-Josh Whedon]

So we have either the show (or shows) being non-canon, or alternative/beta canon (welcome marvel multiverse :/) . Or we have a system like the old Lucas-Arts Star Wars grades of canon.

Who do we reference when deciding what is MCU and what is stand-alone? Directors? Actors? The rare Studio press releases? What if they contradict?

Frankly, I had no idea (and why isn't it just daredevil??) was part of the MCU. As far as I searched, there is no Word of God or God's paycheck source definitively stating that it is MCU or any ties to the events of the movies.

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    Not part of my answer, but it is daredevil-tv because there was already a Daredevil film released. Also, Daredevil (the TV show) takes place in the area of New York that was devastated by the Chitauri Invasion in Avengers Assemble, and makes references to both Thor and Iron Man. – Dr R Dizzle Sep 17 '15 at 9:33
  • Anyways we are also maintaining all the canon stuff under MCU tag info page – Ankit Sharma Sep 17 '15 at 9:48
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Joss Whedon (creator of Agents of SHIELD, for the record) has since retracted his infamous statement about Coulson being dead as far as the films are concerned - he was more talking about from the perspective of his characters, who are (at the moment) unaware that Coulson was bought back to life. Hell, the entire plot and events of Avengers: Age of Ultron are set in motion by Coulson in an episode of Agents of SHIELD, so we know that Agents of SHIELD is canon.

As far as who decides what it and is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the answer is clear - it's whatever Marvel Studios as an entity decides if it is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil is 100% a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Jessica Jones will be too - because they are set in the same world as all these other films and TV shows, referencing characters and events from other properties.

Yes, there is a (now well known) internal divide between the TV side of things and the film side of things, one that has only grown wider since Kevin Feige was internally promoted within the Disney/Marvel Studios structure, but as of yet this is not an issue that we need to worry about.

TL;DR - If it's made by Marvel Studios and set in the same world as the other things, it's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe unless otherwise stated.

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