Marvel’s Movie Universe Hits Small Screen
Fresh set of characters to headline new television series
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 14:09
Marvel’s new, live-action TV series, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” premieres at 7 p.m. next Tuesday on ABC.
The new series, overseen by Avengers writer/director and grand overseer of Marvel’s films for the next three years, will focus on the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Specifically, it will feature Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson (Thor, The Avengers) leading a team of agents on the hunt for misguided meta-humans within Marvel’s movie continuity.
The film is actually set after the events of the first Avengers film. That might be a little confusing for some, as Loki, Norse god and enemy of the Avengers, supposedly killed Agent Coulson in the first film.
However, any comic book aficionado knows the golden rule that no body means no death. The circumstances of Coulson’s death were even altered as a matter of plot in the film, as a means of motivating the superhero team into saving the day.
Other than Coulson—who has begun to appear both in Marvel’s regular comic book line and Disney’s superhero cartoon shows—Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will mostly focus on a brand new cast of characters not yet seen on page or screen.
Ming-Na Wen will play pilot and weapons expert Agent Melinda May, while Brett Dalton is the “gruff, asocial” Agent Grant Ward.
Chloe Bennet will be Skye, a civilian “recruit” brought onto Coulson’s team for her hacking skills and obsession with superheroes. Iain De Caesteker and Elizabeth Henstridge will play Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, respectively. The former is a weapons expert, while the latter specializes in both human and alien life sciences.
One familiar face joining the cast for the pilot episode will be Cobie Smulders, reprising her role as Maria Hill from The Avengers. In the comics, Maria Hill was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. before eventually taking over as acting director in Nick Fury Senior’s absence. Since then, she has taken over the organization full time.
Long-time fans of Whedon will also likely recognize a few other faces.
Ron Glass plays (Firefly) plays Dr. Streiten, while J. August Richards (Angel) acts as Mike Peterson, “an ordinary man who gains extraordinary powers,” during the pilot.
There hasn’t been much word yet on what sorts of threats the agency will be facing off against when the show starts next week. The only clues thus far have been references to a group called “The Rising Tide.”
Based on viral marketing and series trailers, my money is on The Rising Tide actually being entirely comprised of Bennet’s character—a misdirection resulting from her hacking abilities.
Iron Man 3 introduced the world to a film version of Advanced Idea Mechanics, or A.I.M. earlier this year. In the comics, A.I.M. is an international group of amoral super-scientists - one that has been playing a major role in several Avengers titles in the past few months. As an organization with the manpower and resources to rival S.H.I.E.L.D. they seem like a fairly likely candidate for the role of Big Bad.
That said, Gregg himself has gone on to report that Agents of SHIELD will tie in heavily with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Unlike its predecessor, that film will be set mostly in the modern day. Hydra, the Nazi splinter group from the first film, managed to survive well into the 21st century in the comic books, and they, too, could act as a very effective foil to Gregg’s team in terms of scale and super-spy mastery.
Who will eventually fulfill the very important role of villain remains a mystery for now, and it’s just as possible that Whedon might use a completely original antagonist to combat the original cast.
Mysteries like these and more will likely be answered when the show launches in just a few short days.