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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

9 things we want to see in Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

Saturday 19 January 2013, by Webmaster

Production on Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Studios’ first live action television series, is set to begin very soon. As of now, only a pilot has been ordered for the show, but it has gotten a head start on production over other pilots commissioned by ABC and executives will likely have a decision about it before any other new pilots, plus Joss Whedon is already working on stories for additional episodes.

Though it’s not a guarantee at this point, I think it’s a safe bet to assume this will be picked up to series and go on to be a pretty huge hit. The idea of doing a weekly series based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an idea that most fans seem to love and is kind of unprecedented in the entertainment world. To my knowledge, there has yet to be a TV series set in the same ’world’ as various film series with both running at the same time. There’s a whole goldmine worth of things that could be done on this show, and the people in charge know it, but here is a selection of things we want to see on our TVs sometime this fall.


It was announced last week that Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. will take place after the events of The Avengers, and the first thing that everyone pointed to that doesn’t make sense already is that Agent Phil Coulson will be one of the stars of the show. As we all know, Coulson died at the hands of Loki in last summer’s film. What this means is Whedon and company will have to think of a way to bring Coulson back to life that is believable and acceptable for the fans.

Many have speculated since his death that the Coulson we saw die was a Life Model Decoy (as mentioned by Tony Stark earlier in the movie). Some also think Fury simply told the Avengers that Coulson had died in order to bring them together for the fight against the Chitauri. Either way, an explanation is needed.

There are a few other ways they could handle his return, one being that the Coulson on the show is the Life Model Decoy and the real Coulson died in the film. This would create a good storyline for the series as the ’robot’ Coulson could struggle with knowing he is artificial and how that separates him from the other Agents and it also makes him unkillable for the foreseeable future. Another popular theory is that Coulson will return as the Vision, though Clark Gregg has said he has no interest in that idea.

If there’s anyone to trust with bringing the dead back to life it’s Joss Whedon. He successfully brought characters back to life all the time on his previous shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Dollhouse. An interesting comparison here is that one of the times Buffy died, she was replaced by a robot that looked and (somewhat) acted like her.

#2 S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ORIGIN

To date there have been six films and three shorts set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and while S.H.I.E.L.D. has played a role in each of them, the agency has never been really explored. Given that this series has S.H.I.E.L.D. in the title, this is the best chance Marvel will get to explore its origins. We might get some teases in the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, especially given that Bucky Barnes’s ’situation’ will need to be explained.

Marvel Studios could decide to go the route of the comics with Fury himself creating the idea for S.H.I.E.L.D. but filing the idea away where it’s then discovered and put into action by the unnamed council of twelve people (renamed the World Security Council in The Avengers). This story fits with the dynamic that Fury and the Council had in the film, but if there’s one thing Marvel has taught us is to expect the unexpected.

Throughout Joss Whedon’s television programs there’s usually been a secret organization, the Initiative in "Buffy, Wolfram & Heart in Angel, Blue Sun in Firefly, and Rossum in Dollhouse. Only one of those was the primary focus of the series as a whole (Dollhouse) and we eventually did get back story on the origins of its start-up, so I expect something similar in S.H.I.E.L.D., little details throughout the series that when connected present a really big picture of its origins.


As I said earlier, this kind of media juggernaut has never been done before and Marvel Studios has mastered it. By creating a series of interconnected films and now putting a television series in that world, they’ve successfully managed creating this whole web of media that is profoundly profitable. The worst possible thing they could do at this point is to muck up the whole timeline of the franchises with this TV show. They almost messed this up just with the movies when The Incredible Hulk came out as their second feature, but in fact takes place after Iron Man and Iron Man 2.

Even beyond the timeline aspect, it’s important that Marvel maintains the same level of quality in the work (not that I’m too worried, look at who is in charge), because it’s a lot easier to get lost in what you’re doing when you’re making a new episode every other week as opposed to a new movie every three years.

Another thing Marvel can’t be afraid of trying is retconning. For those not familiar with the term it stands for “Retroactive continuity,” meaning you change something in the past with your new story. This is typically done with characters’ origins in comics. They’ve done this somewhat before in the films with the character of Howard Stark and how he appears and acts in Iron Man 2 and then shows up Captain America: The First Avenger as having had a hand in the Super Soldier Serum. Marvel should do their best to try this out just to create bits of info for potential stories in the future and for creating Easter Eggs for the fans that are paying attention.


While S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t exactly James Bond’s MI6, they do have their fair share of gadgets. Throughout the comics, there has been more than one helicarrier, so there’s the possibility that we could see a different one from The Avengers. But the method of transportation that I most want to see in S.H.I.E.L.D. that they’re known for is the flying cars. Originally designed by Tony Stark and Stark Industries specifically for S.H.I.E.L.D., these flying cars look like your every day sports cars, until the wheels fold down Back to the Future Part II style and it takes off into the sky.

One thing I really want to see is just little nods and references to S.H.I.E.L.D. gadgets. They don’t ever have to actually use them, they could just show up in the background. For example, they could include the Destroyer gun that Coulson has in The Avengers, Hulkbuster armor, Item 47 from the most recent short film, or even the Red Ronin armor from the comics that was created for S.H.I.E.L.D. to fight Godzilla (this is wishful thinking on my part). Given that Marvel hides Easter Eggs in almost all of their films, it’s not a stretch to say they’ll do it in their TV series too.

I don’t know that S.H.I.E.L.D. needs their own version of “Q” for the series, but it couldn’t hurt to have gadget people that pop up every few episodes. It would do the show a real disservice to begin like it’s a “normal” cop/spy show and then transition to the furthest realm of disbelief that the Marvel films live in, but Marvel hasn’t let us down this far and I don’t think they’ll start here.


In case you don’t know, S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the only acronym-that-spells-a-weapon secret organization in the Marvel universe. There’s the European branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. called EuroM.I.N.D. Britain has their own version of S.H.I.E.L.D. called S.T.R.I.K.E. Another one, called A.R.M.O.R., we will probably never see because it’s technically “so secret” that no one in the Marvel Universe knows it exists, plus their jurisdiction is anything that tries to break out of its own reality and come to another.

One more organization that stands a good chance of showing up is S.W.O.R.D. This particular acronym stands for “Sentient World Observation and Response Department.” They work closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comic books, but they handle mostly extraterrestrial matters, and with the events of The Avengers and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy it seems logical that a few more aliens will be visiting Earth. Oh, and you know who created S.W.O.R.D.? Joss Whedon.

It’s somewhat commonplace in these types of shows to have the occasional headbutting with similar organizations and usually it’s with a group that has more power than the main characters, but it’ll be pretty hard for someone to be above S.H.I.E.L.D. But if someone can take the secret organization that has the highest level of security and give it a humorous approach to its rivalry with another organization, it’s Joss.


I’m talking in comics parlance here, and I realize Marvel has already used the term for the short films on the Blu-rays, but the one shots and standalone issues are a long-standing tradition in comic books as a break between the ongoing storylines that we normally see.

While it seems Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. will be a pretty serialized show, I’d like to see some episodes that focus singularly on one character or one event specifically, but where S.H.I.E.L.D. can differentiate itself from other TV shows that do this is by bringing in the actors from the films. An episode that is about Nick Fury, Black Widow, or Hawkeye would be huge for the fans and a great storytelling opportunity. They could even go the direction of telling the story of the fabled “Budapest” mission that’s mentioned in The Avengers.

Another way that Marvel could shake things is up with the one shot formula is to try some more experimental things (likelihood: 5%), because Joss has a history of doing that with his previous shows. I’m not saying they should do a musical episode like Buffy, but there was one episode (“Hush”) that carries an aesthetic seen in some one shots: no dialogue. Trying out different things to make your show more interesting and a reflection of the source material is a good idea that Marvel should consider, but might shy away from due to potential harm to the brand.

Marvel could also go the traditional route of the one shot and have episodes focus on heroes they want to develop into shows. Normally when a one issue one shot comes out, it’s to test the waters for that character’s future and I can see the same thing being done on this show for future Marvel shows. Daredevil, Heroes for Hire, and The Punisher are some examples I want to see them try out.


I realize that there probably won’t be anything quite as serious as what happened in The Avengers, but that was a special time. That was such a serious event it required them to collect the Avengers and put them out there - S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn’t handle it by themselves. That’s why I want to see what the biggest threat is that they can handle alone.

One thing to keep the pace up and the stories fresh is to avoid continuous super-human stories. Episodes that deal with super-strong or super-fast criminals will more than likely come up, but we need to see a better sampling of the kinds of things that S.H.I.E.L.D. polices in the world since we already know that super-humans are on that list. A good example would be unknown artifacts. S.H.I.E.L.D. showed up in Thor because his hammer landed, not because of him. It would be interesting to see what other kinds of things might fall from the sky that they have to go check out and take away.

Furthermore, the espionage aspect of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to be embraced for the show. I don’t think the show needs to take on a political storyline, it is set in a world with thunder gods and gamma monsters after all, but there should be some sprinkles of government interference or the President calling and asking them to deal with something.


At the end of Iron Man 2 there is a map on a computer screen with various blips indicating different characters from the Marvel Universe. This is the kind of blink and you’ll miss it Easter Egg that also says, “Don’t worry guys, we’ve got this.” Given Joss’ role with Marvel, he knows about all the secrets in the upcoming films, so is it too much to ask that we get hints at the upcoming movies?

Marvel has foreshadowed throughout the films they’ve made. Iron Man, of course, had the inital "Avenger initiative" conversation. The Incredible Hulk had the frozen Captain America briefly appearing in an alternate opening, and Tony somehow had Captain America’s shield in Iron Man 2. These aren’t the kind of things they decide on the day of, so we should be expecting more teases like that.

The show won’t air until after Iron Man 3 has been released and around the same time that we’ll see Thor: The Dark World. This is good timing for two reasons: they can hint at what might be going on in Thor: The Dark World without outright spilling the beans, and they can lay the groundwork for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel Studios has done a phenomenal job of making their films stand alone and connected at the same time. You don’t have to see every movie to appreciate the one you’re watching, but if you’ve seen them all then there are pieces inside to connect the dots and they shouldn’t treat S.H.I.E.L.D. any different.


This is the most obvious thing to want from the show, and the one that Marvel has probably thought the most about. Clark Gregg is the only person that is confirmed to appear on the show that has been in the films. Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t heard anything about appearing, Cobie Smulders is still contractually obligated to How I Met Your Mother, and there’s been no talk about Scarlett Johansson participating in the show. But what’s stopping some of them from showing up every once in a while?

The other S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives are the easiest chances we’ve got at cameos. The heroes themselves will be a little bit harder. However, it does seem like their work beyond Marvel films is staggered to the point that a one-week excursion on a TV show is in the cards. Of all the heroes that could make an appearance though, Thor seems the least likely, the fact that he lives in outer space not withstanding. It appears Steve Rogers will be working closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. in his own sequel, but they could still show him walking down the hallway and high-five Coulson. Now with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner being best friends at the end of The Avengers, and Tony’s reputation for making things for S.H.I.E.L.D., it stands to reason the pair of them could make an appearance. Plus, it appears that Marvel is stalling the development of the solo Hulk TV series, maybe so he can show up on S.H.I.E.L.D.?

With all this talk of potential Easter Eggs and comic book connections I’ve mentioned, there are still a few I’ve left off, namely the superhuman prisons on Earth. In the Marvel Universe there are several, but The Vault, The Raft, and The Cube are probably the most famous. Even just a mention of these places is enough to make me crack a smile, but if we saw them in the show and they were housing, let’s say the Abomination, Arnim Zola, or any other number of potential villains that Marvel wants to use, it would be icing on the cake.

What do you think? What are the things you want to see in Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D.? Sound off in the comments below!