Marvel Studios has a heavy slate of superhero movies lined up for release over the next few years. The next installment in Phase Two of the cinematic universe narrative, Thor: The Dark World, is hitting theaters in the fall, but to pass the time until then, there’s a smaller spin-off from the world of Marvel to look forward to in the form of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, ABC’s new show about the covert organization tasked with keeping an eye on all things weird and threatening to national security.

The show’s concept is a lot more palatable to mainstream audiences now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has already been established in several of the major Marvel movies of recent years. Whereas it might once have only been of real interest to hardcore Marvel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘s strong connection to the highest-grossing comic book movie of all time bodes well for the success of the show – all they need now is a really good pilot.

The first piece of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. news is the announcement of a new cast member. TV Line reports that former Ghost Whisperer star David Conrad has landed a recurring role in the show, and based on recent casting calls is suspected to be playing a “brilliant and quirky scientist,” though whether he works for S.H.I.E.L.D. or is an adversary is not yet known. Conrad’s career has been fairly quiet since the final season of Ghost Whisperer, so there’s a chance that he could end up being featured on the show as part of the regular cast.

ABC has also released a large batch of promotional stills and behind-the-scenes photos from the pilot episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, with show creator and episode director Joss Whedon seen laying down the foundations for the rest of the series. Also featured in the gallery are Cobie Smulders and Clark Gregg as familiar faces Maria Hill and Phil Coulson.

We’re not sure how large a part Smulders will be playing in this series beyond the pilot, but it’s been suggested that she may be called back for future episodes, especially with her How I Met Your Mother gig coming to a close this coming season. Check out some highlights from the gallery below, and check out the full selection over at SHIELDsite.

Whedon enthusiasts will no doubt be tickled by the image of Firefly star Ron Glass, who plays one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s doctors in the pilot episode and has the branded white coat to prove it, as well as Angel alumnus J. August Richards. Other characters shown include Iain De Caestecker (The Fades) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Gangs of Tooting Broadway) as tech team Leo Fitz and Jenna Simmons AKA “Fitzsimmons,” who are said to have a sibling-like relationship.

Rounding out the main team is Ming-Na Wen (SGU Stargate Universe) as ass-kicking Agent Melinda May, and Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln) as Agent Grant Ward. Quite a few newcomers there, all with a chance to break into the limelight with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tell us what you think of the latest casting choice – and the images from the pilot episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – in the comments.

Check out Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it premieres Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 @8pm on ABC.

Source: SHIELDsite & TVLine