SPOILER WARNING FOR THIS SEASON OF AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy paved the way for an out-of-this-world adventure for Coulson and the rest of his team. The fifth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has successfully returned to the airwaves for a two-hour special premiere, looking very different in the process. Of course, it does make a difference when the show suddenly gets zapped in outer space 90 years in the future to learn the Earth is nothing more than just an assembly of rocks with just a third of its remains floating lifelessly.
The higher-ups responsible for these movies and shows maintain that both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the TV division exist in the same reality and Coulson is a living indication of that; however, outside of the small screen offerings referencing their big screen counterparts and even events that have transpired in the movies, the two worlds barely have any connections with each other. Nonetheless, that does not stop Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from taking advantage of the fact that the MCU is currently trying exploring different pockets of the Marvel comics and infusing some of those story beats to their show to always offer something new to their audience.
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The latest season, apparently, is inspired by MCU’s successful venture into the cosmic realm with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. We visited the set of Marvel TV’s pioneering series on their monumental 100th episode celebration and the execs of the series including Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell talked about how the James Gunn-directed franchise made this new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. possible:
Q: Was there anything from the cosmic movies that you were able to look to just for any sort of guidance?
Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon: I think…
Jed Whedon: Sure.
Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon: Yes. aesthetically, I think there are there are certain nods to Guardians aesthetic.
Jed Whedon: I mean it helps to be able to say this scene just look at Guardians. This scene from Guardians, or you know, just we’re playing in that same universe so we weren’t totally inventing it. You know, we could there were at least rails there where you could say they’ve established different colored people, they’ve established certain things. Certain looks that you can use a touchstone and a jumping off point, so to say.
Q: There’s a lot of mystery when you open the doors to space especially in the Marvel Universe and where it goes. For example, when your character Deke, gets introduced, I thought it was a Ravager because of the jacket and then there’s that almost like a Star-Lord–esqe type thing. So, are we expecting a lot more misdirection in terms of Marvel lore? The overall Marvel lore?
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Jeffrey Bell (EP/ Showrunner): Well, you’re right. There’s a lot to draw on in space and you know, Guardians open the door to a lot of worlds that I think weren’t available to us before. If not literally in terms of in the same way Dr. Strange last year allowed us to tell Ghost Rider stories. Because having a magic book, the Darkhold, as a MacGuffin in a world of science doesn’t make a lot of sense but we find a way to do that. So, I think Guardians opens the door to us to tell a different kind of story and there are a lot of Marvel aliens, and dimensions, and gizmos and so, as you know. It’s kind of fun to have the governor taken off a little bit. We don’t have to worry so much about how what we’re doing right now affects other storylines because it’s… it’s in the future you know. You’re not born yet. (To Jeff Ward)
In a Marvel world where TV and movies don’t seem to be crossing over anytime soon, it’s nice that in some indirect ways, the big screen offerings and opening storytelling opportunities for the series, or at least for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Fans may want more obvious connections like a cameo of some sorts (like Nick Fury or Lady Sif from past seasons), but that does not appear in the cards any time soon, so for now, this will do.
We might not know yet where folks behind the ABC show are planning to go with this out of space and time premise for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it’s definitely bold for them to go this route given how hard it will be to reconcile it with how things will go down in future seasons of the series (should they happen). But if anything, the first two episodes are great indication that the series is pushing boundaries when it comes to storytelling.