Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2013 by Peter Sciretta
One of the most anticipated television panels on Friday was Marvel’s new live-action television show The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was inconveniently programed in the convention center’s smaller hall Ballroom 20. The entire creative team and most of the cast were in San Diego for the panel.
The first audience question was the elephant in the room: Will we see any of the Marvel movie superheroes make appearances in this television show. Executive producer Joss Whedon responded with a tease:
We may see some people, and we may see some new people from the marvel universe who are not yet cinematic… Probably, but I can’t say when because that’d be spoiling it.
Later, when Clark Gregg was asked about how it felt to return in the suit, he hesitated trying to come up with an answer and instead just decided to give Joss, who was sitting next to him on the panel, a hug. Clark credited the fans for his return, saying that “Bad ass geeks around the world weren’t having it” and started the Coulson lives movement which made all of this happen.
Another audience member asked if we were going to see a clip from the series, and Joss responded him that they were going to bring a clip but they couldn’t due to some Disney legal issue… but instead they brought the whole pilot. Cut to: a thousand fans in Ballroom 20 erupt in applause at this surprise screening. After the jump you can read my thoughts on the pilot episode, with and without spoilers.
My spoiler free reaction: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a lot more entertaining than I had anticipated, and I was already excited to see the series. I was worried after seeing some of the footage that has been released online and considering the fact that Jeph Loeb is producing the series, that the show would be too much in the vibe of Loeb’s previous series Heroes. It does have the moments of goofiness and over-the-top action we sometimes come to expect from shows like Heroes or Smallville, but that aside, it was a lot of fun.
The most surprising aspect is that it is way more connected to the Marvel movie universe than I had anticipated. I expected a few jokes and references to The Avengers and previous Marvel films and heroes (which there is plenty of) but I didn’t expect it to have direct storyline connections to the previous Marvel films. The good news is that it does, and while the story will play fine to a newbie, fans who have seen Captain America, The Avengers and Iron Man 3 will get more out of it as a whole.
The show also features some cool futuristic technology, some of which we may have seen in earlier evolutions in previous Marvel films (small and large comebacks). I’m excited to see more, I just hope that the series develops into something more serial in nature and isn’t just a “monster of the week, big baddie per season” type of series.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air September 24th on ABC.
Some spoiler information for those of you who can’t resist:
Cobie Smulders returns as SHIELD Agent Maria Hill, and Whedon has said that she won’t appear in every episode of the series.
J. August Richard‘s character has been kept a mystery until now. So who does he play? An out of work construction working with special powers. His name in the show is Mike Peterson, who does have a history in the Marvel comic book universe, although the character similarities are vague at best.
How did Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson come back from that dead? Coulson says that he did die, but only for seconds and Nick Fury decided to exaggerate that and use his “death” as a catalyst to bring the Avengers together. He said that he was sent to Tahiti, and joked about how much fun he had recovering in paradise. But later on in the episode one of his colleagues says, “He really doesn’t know does he?” and another character responds “He can never know.”
J. August Richard’s character Mike Peterson is closely tied to Iron Man 3’s Extremis storyline. Peterson is a test subject of the Extremis technology, and his superpowers come from this. References to gamma radiation and supersoldier serum are made.
The end of the episode involves a reveal where Agent Coulson’s car can fly, in an ending sequence which feels directly ripped off from Back to the Future. Some might remember that Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) was demonstrating new unfinished technology for a flying car in Captain America: The First Avenger. This may be a reference that SHIELD has technology that was invented by Stark.