Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

As part of his exclusive contract with Marvel films, Joss Whedon will oversee a television series following agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. set in the Avengers movie universe. That’s going to be an interesting development.

By the end of the first season, assuming that it’s the standard 22 episodes, the show could have more content than all the current MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies put together. But the movies will always be more important, so there’s an interesting conflict there. The immediate question is whether they’ll be able to reconcile the different needs of two different formats.

The television show will require a lot of material, but it’s going to be ancillary to the films. The people involved don’t want to contradict the films, or create any complications for the filmmakers. Keeping the narrative tight is likely to be difficult. The MCU so far consists of six films, and they already had some problems trying to reconcile the post-credits sequence of The Incredible Hulk with The Avengers mythology. Tony Stark’s conversation with General Ross in that film didn’t quite fit the superteam’s origin storyline, necessitating the series’s first retcon.

Comic book fans are used to this type of stuff, although not necessarily happy about it. There are likely to be more patches to come, although there will be a general preference for keeping things simple for the viewers. As such, Marvel will do what they can to evade the need for convoluted explanations in the first place. They don’t want the director of Iron Man 4 to be told that in order to use Madame Masque as the villain, he needs to address her appearances in a TV series. Although they may also be willing to ignore whatever happens in the show if it might contradict the films.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is likely to be expensive for a television series, but the budget is going to be lower than those of the blockbuster films. The cast is unlikely to be nearly as impressive, although there may be a few guest-starr appearances. That could result in minor characters from the films getting more screentime than the major characters. Fans of the show might have a different impression of the supporting character’s appearance in a sequel.

TV Line has information about the characters, which sheds on a light on how Marvel and Whedon plan to square the circle.

Among those fighting the good fight:

SKYE | This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident – with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.

AGENT GRANT WARD | Quite the physical specimen and “cool under fire,” he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He’s a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he’s the kind of guy that grows on you.

AGENT ALTHEA RICE | Also known as “The Calvary,” this hard-core soldier has crazy  skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.

AGENT LEO FITZ and AGENT JEMMA SIMMONS | These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies – she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.

As far as I can tell, these characters have not appeared in any Marvel comics. It seems counterintuitive to feature new characters in an adaptation, but it helps avoid conflicts with the movie guys. Interest in the show will be because of its ties to the Avengers films, rather than how faithfully it adapts what is at best Marvel’s tenth most popular series, after Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Daredevil and the Punisher.

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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