When The Avengers hit screens and took over the world, a sequel was inevitable. Less than a week after its release, the sequel was announced. In August the film’s director, Joss Whedon, was announced as returning (very nice birthday present, by the way). Part of Whedon’s deal was that he would develop a television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and last night, that series was revealed to be S.H.I.E.L.D, chronicling the adventures of the secretive organization that brought the Avengers together in the films.
This will be a fascinating experiment in how a serialized medium can interact with a non-serialized one (though Marvel’s films are the closest to comics serialization one can get within a non-serialized medium).
Here are my questions about this experiment in a shared continuity:
UPDATE – August 29, 2012
Quoting Whedon from an event last night, Variety says that…
the storyline for the proposed series will be largely “autonomous” from the Avengers sequel feature that is also in the works. The series will revolve around the activities of the top-secret S.H.I.E.L.D espionage org featured in Avengers.
You’ve gotta bring a little bit of spectacle to it, it’s got to be bigger than, y’know, your average cop show. But, at the end of the day it’s about the peripheral people, it’s about the people on the edges of the grand adventures [emphasis added]. The whole point of the show is that even with all these big things, the little things matter. And so, it’s about people who don’t have super powers…there’ll be some people with powers, there’ll be effects, the spectacle of science fiction storytelling, but all played on a very human, small level. So, that’s sort of the appeal of the thing.
UPDATE January 13, 2013 / ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee on worldbuilding and depth:
“This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it’s part of the world, but we’re going to be very, very careful that we don’t tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world [emphasis added]. And that’s what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He’s built a world for us.”
UPDATE – October 16, 2012 - COULSON LIVES!
Quoth Whedon at NYCC last weekend:
“We were never going to do a SHIELD show without Agent Phil Coulson.”
UPDATE Jan. 8, 2013 / The series will revolve around the following characters:
Since the S.H.I.E.L.D. series is set within the cinematic continuity and Maria Hill is such a indispensable member of the eponymous espionage agency in The Avengers, can we expect her to appear on S.H.I.E.L.D. in some capacity? “The commitments to [How I Met Your Mother] don’t affect it,” Smulders said. “And I can’t really say but there are definite talks about it.”
UPDATE February 18, 2013 / Whedon on Cobie Smulders in SHIELD:
However, with How I Met Your Mother renewed for Season 9, Whedon stressed to TVLine that Smulders’ schedule will permit very little involvement, “but if we can get a hold of her anytime, we will.”
UPDATE February 18, 2013 / Joss Whedon on the tone of SHIELD:
“I’m excited about the show because it’s a very hopeful show. It’s not about murder, and it’s not about crime, and it’s not people looking into their own belly buttons. It’s about people who are trying to help each other, and that’s one of the things I loved about comic books. They had costumes and the villains were cool [but] they stood for something, and I like doing a show that does that.”
UPDATE April 02, 2013 / Clark Gregg on Coulson’s Return:
“After people see the show, they’ll have some clue as to why I’m still there, still breathing… but I don’t think they’ll know everything.”
UPDATE Jan. 8, 2013 / Nick Fury actor Samuel L. Jackson has said he at least wants to lend his voice to the project:
“In my mind, I would tend to think that he would, if nothing else, be like Charlie in ‘Charlie’s Angels,’” Jackson told MTV. “At least be the voice.”
UPDATE February 18, 2013 / Joss Whedon on Marvel characters showing up in SHIELD:
Whedon stressed there was “not a ton” of familiar Marvel characters in S.H.I.E.L.D., though he added, “there’s a little bit of talk of that” should the pilot be picked up to series. As Whedon explained, “Right now, I want to involve people in the characters that we’ve created for the show and then we’ll worry about [the other stuff].”
UPDATE May 14, 2013 / Is that Luke Cage in the trailer?
UPDATE May 15, 2013 / Nope.
UPDATE January 13, 2013 / ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee on when S.H.I.E.L.D. will take place:
“There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York.“
You know how Joss is so high/low? How he’s able to be intense and epic and suddenly funny/silly? He’s got that ability to be super-entertaining… Marvel has the ability to bring the whole family.
UPDATE January 24, 2013 / ABC_SHIELD Twitter account has launched and shooting has begun on the pilot.
Shooting is officially underway. More to come #SHIELD
— S.H.I.E.L.D. (@ABC_SHIELD) January 23, 2013
Additionally, the show has launched a Facebook page.
UPDATE: February 18, 2013 / Production on the pilot episode, directed by Joss Whedon, wrapped on February 12.
— Maurissa Tancharoen (@MoTancharoen) February 12, 2013
UPDATE: April 7, 2013 / S.H.I.E.L.D. gets a new title: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Also, a plot synopsis:
Joss Whedon (MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) shows us not all heroes are super with MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD.
Fresh from his role in the summer’s box office smash, MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns to the worldwide law enforcement organization SHIELD. He puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown. That team consists of straight arrow Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), an expert in combat and espionage; pilot and martial artist Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen); and brilliant if socially awkward scientists Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). They’ll be joined by civilian new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).
Prepare for an epic adventure that showcases the hope and wonder of the human spirit. This is a world of Super Heroes, aliens and the unusual – of action, spectacle and world spanning stories. The show will speak to the human condition through the lens of our very human, non-powered SHIELD agents – that together we are greater than we are apart, and that we can make a difference in the world.
Executive Produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse, Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias) and Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) comes Marvel’s first live-action TV series, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.
UPDATE: May 9, 2013 / Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has received a full-season pickup!
UPDATE: May 12,2013 / We Are The Rising Tide viral site for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has launched… plus, the seven-second Vine teaser!
And here’s the full thirty-second spot, aired during tonight’s Once Upon a Time…
UPDATE: May 14, 2013: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air on Tuesday nights this fall. Also, a three-minute trailer:
Whatever the solutions presented (and my best guess is we’re getting a deep history, super-spy, super-hero show), I’m excited to see what Whedon’s got cooking.