‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Showrunners Talk Season 2 Challenges

Published 12 months ago by

AoScast Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Showrunners Talk Season 2 Challenges

When Marvel announced a television tie-in to their cinematic universe, they were embarking into uncharted territory. Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., from showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse) and Jed Whedon (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), has seen its ups and downs throughout season 1, the show has hit a major upswing in the last run of episodes.

In a recent interview with CBM, Tancharoen and Whedon spoke about the challenges they faced in weaving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (before and after the Captain America: The Winter Soldier reveal) and how they’re approaching season 2.

One of the major aspects they wanted to highlight during season 1 was establishing the core cast of characters and building their relationships to each other within the team. The most recent run of episodes, though, has been crucial in terms of character development. As Whedon explains, the fallout from the Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie in episode (read our review) – the revelation that Hydra had completely infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. – has dramatically shaken up Coulson’s team and the entire foundation of S.H.I.E.L.D.

According to Whedon:

The standalone format that at the end of every episode you sort of reset, makes it feel like the stakes aren’t that high because you know at the end of the day everything is going to be tied up in a bow. In the last group of episodes of the season we reached a point where that was NOT happening. At any moment something terrible could happen.

Since the excitement and tension of the last few episodes hinged entirely on the Hydra reveal, it’s hard to imagine how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could have finished their debut season on such a high note without Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Though the first 16 episodes existed within the same universe as the Marvel films, there can be no doubt now about the connection between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the MCU.

AoS Episode18 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Showrunners Talk Season 2 Challenges

However, Whedon points out that their show must be able to stand on its own, finding the appropriate balance of piggybacking off events of the Marvel films and exploring their own stories, characters, and mythos from the comics:

We don’t want to turn into an Easter egg farm; we still want to exist on our own and be our own property. Just as Iron Man exists separate from Thor but they can live in The Avengers together…

While the better part of its first season saw Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. barely connecting to the MCU, the recent turn of events shows that the series will fully embrace the overarching story built by Marvel Studios. With their films planned out through 2028, Marvel has a basic road map that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. must follow (to some degree), which gives the showrunners a whole slew of unprecedented problems:

Whedon: Existing in the same universe gives you these great opportunities, but it’s also hyper-complicated [laughs].

Tancharoen: It’s like a big puzzle that every part has to fit in to just so. There are certain things we can’t mention at this point and can’t touch at this point, as well as things that we can. When we CAN, it’s very exciting. But there are rules, a structure and an overall outline of how we lay out the universe over time.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an experiment in creating parallel storylines – and weaving them together in a plausible and compelling manner – between a television series and film franchise that exists within the same shared universe. Though the ratings for the series have declined since the show’s record-breaking premiere, the last run of episodes has given viewers renewed faith that the show would be able to exist believably within, and build upon, the MCU.

Whether Tancharoen and Whedon will be able to maintain the momentum Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. demonstrated during the last run of episodes is a question that can only be answered by the show’s sophomore season.

Are you looking forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2? Let us know in the comments.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return to ABC in Fall 2014 on Tuesdays @9pm.

Source: CBM

Follow Molly Freeman on Twitter @mollyrockit
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  1. Tonights episode was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!


  2. Before the resent run of episodes since Cap 2 I would have dismissed season 2 but I am now thinking it might be worth a watch.

  3. I can say i love agents of shield, this finally just left me waiting for more , cant wait now for season 2. Keep it coming

  4. Okay so I’ve watched the whole season (apart from the last episode, hits the UK Friday) and it’s been a mixed bag, some times great, some times awful, most of the time it’s been okay. Put it this way, I’ve had worst ways to spend an hour.

    Never the less AoS did drastically improve since the CA2:WS tie in and the reveal.

    However as Maurissa points out “There are certain things we can’t mention at this point and can’t touch at this point, as well as things that we can. When we CAN, it’s very exciting. But there are rules…..”

    I’m sure this applied to season 1 too.

    So, has anyone asked the show runners how much their original plans for season 1 we’re scuppered by Cap2. (I dread to think that season 1 went totally to plan)

    Maybe Cap2 just allowed AoS to be what it wanted to be originally after tying it’s hands for the 3/4 of the season.

    I certainly hope so otherwise the team behind AoS season 2 have most definitely got to raise their game.

  5. The show keeps getting better. I have always been a MC fan even when the going was slow in the first part of the season, I still tuned in to watch. Now there are a ton of unanswered questions for season 2 to run on.

    I’m inclined to think Coulson is linked into the Kree now and Skye could either be an Inhuman or possbly even a Skrull?? Has anyone laid claim to the Skrull line. The Secret Invasion would be a killer way to keep MCU rolling after the fall of Hydra.

  6. i will.. we will.. we’re waiting..

  7. This show is one of the most entertaining ones that I watch; so glad it got a second season, hoping for a third. I will buy it on DVD for my super-hero movie collection when available. I do hope somehow Ward comes back to the good-guy side and is redeemed, though. He was always my favorite agent along with Coulson (the others are kind of MEH).

    • Ward’s redemption will come, eventually, at the cost of his life. He’s done too much evil to be redeemed in any sort of happily-ever-after way. Nobody will trust him for a long time, then he’ll do something good to save them that will both earn him Skye and Coulson’s forgiveness and kill him. That’s my prediction, anyway. I’d personally rather him remain a villain with his own agenda.

      Villains can be favorite characters, too. Just ask Loki.

  8. I’m guessin Graviton will be the big baddy for, at least the first half of S2. I also predict that Grant will be rehabilitated and rejoin the team, maybe he’ll sacifice himself and prove to them that he is remorseful and trustsworthy again. Give that guy some of the blue stuff!

    I’m sorry to see May threw the asgardian staff into the rubble, I would’ve liked it if that became May’s weapon of choice in S2. And regarding Fury’s reason for bringing back Coulson? It wasn’t spelled out, but some of it was guilt for using him in the first place, erasing his gambit with resurrection.

    Things I’d like to see in S2? The Watcher, Serpent Society, Justin Hammer cameo, The Wrecking Crew, More Graviton in costume with full powers, and hopefully a few lesser known actual avengers like Tigra or maybe The Swordsman.

    Fitz could have his consciousness uploaded after his body dies, lol. It could happen! Transcendence like. If they want to connect with Age of Ultron, using Fitz in this way could give them a techno/cyber plotthread compatible with A2:AofU.

  9. this is the best sci fi series aver and i hop the next season comes out soon
    i cant wait

  10. the show is a pure DUD in the strongest sense.
    1. season finale was corny and stupid and the writing looks like a bunch
    of first graders wrote it.
    2. this show would have been canceled because the ratings were porous, a comparable
    fantasy show like LOST at least sustained its audience.
    3. and no the show won’t stand on its own without at least credible heroes and villians
    in it even if they are 2nd and 3rd tier heroes and villians and even the thor 2 tie-in
    and cap 2 tie-in did not beef up ratings. disney does not want embarrassment of canceling this show before avengers 2 comes out next may.
    4. SHOW is a SOILED DIRTY mess…

    • The show was awesome from the begin till the end.
      1. Was good written, not corny and not stupid.
      2. It wouldn’t have been cancelled.
      3. The tie-in of cap 2 didn’t bring it more (for that episode) since many people waited for the movie ;)!. And If I wanted heroes from out side S.H.I.E.L.D. I wouldn’t have called a serie called: Agents of shield. No, I would have gona for a superheroe tv serie. You could have known.
      4. The show was what I excepted it to be, no dirty mess, but a show about agents of shield

  11. I’m looking forward to season 2. Even in the rocky first part of the season there were only 2 or 3 episodes I really disliked.

    Obviously Graviton will be showing up next season, and Skye’s father (maybe both her parents). Ward too, in some capacity. Up until the season finale I thought he was going to redeem himself, though I thought the only convincing way to do this would be for him to sacrifice his life for Skye, maybe saving the rest of the whole team too. Now it’s clear he’s just a scum-bag. I’m anticipating a much smaller role for him next season unless he gets some kind of super-powers and becomes much more evil. If the writers try to redeem him now it will be a big mistake, IMHO.

    Also I expect a lot of drama around Fitz and Simmons. How broken will Fitz be? What is Simmons up to? I’m guessing she’s not Hydra but is working with Agent Weaver to some purpose (“you know where to find me”) and wrongly trusts Weaver more than Coulson or even Fitz.

  12. I love marvels agents of shield and cannot wait until season 2! I really look forward to the episodes and love the characters. I am really interested in finding out the mystery of sky so I hope the show continues long enough for that to be revealed

  13. The last arc redeemed what otherwise would have been a rather ordinary season. Hopefully the writers can move forward within the MCU and develop their own voice, while at the same time supporting the movies. I don’t see Ward coming back except as a bad guy. Triplett is a much more interesting character.

    I’m holding out for Skye to be Inhuman.

  14. It was certainly a curate’s egg, S01 of AoS. The idea of using stand alone episodes to help us get to know the crew now looks like they were treading water whilst waiting for CA2 to turn up and let them get on with things.

    The series should have perhaps started a few weeks (months) later so the Hydra storyline could have been more obvious from the start.

    The initial mystery regarding the Clairvoyant really failed to ignite my interest and after Joss’s strong opening episode, the writing and plotting felt flat and plodding for way too long. The acting was also incredibly average until about halfway through. Skye, Ward and Simmons all seemed to improve as the show went on.

    Thankfully, the final run of episodes felt like an interesting show that might have some future.

    I hope they buck the obvious Ward redemption storyline. He acts the villain far better than he acted the hero. I’d like to see him just forgotten about. The world’s bigger than that. A show that’s always looking to the past gets stale and boring very quickly. Likewise, I’d like to see the mystery of the goop and Skye’s origins dealt with fairly quickly. Mystery plot lines are *so* 10 years ago.

    It’ll also be very interesting to see how the rebuilding of SHIELD will fit in the A2 movie.

    Over all the series came out at about a 3/5 for me.

  15. I’ve liked some of the changes more than others and the show feels pretty inconsistent. I’ll tune in for season 2 but season 1 peaked for me with Sif

  16. First off for season II have the new SHIELD stand for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division. Second have Mockingbird, Maria Hill, Deathlok, Quake & Wendell Vaughn join SHIELD. Upgrade the bus with new systems, facilities and additional defensive capabilities like vibranium armor plating or the cloaking stealth system the helicarriers uses. And finally have Ward be in season II but have him remain hidden in the shadows getting stronger when he does step out of the shadows he is far more dangerous.

  17. Yest Yes,, Season 2 please

  18. Whedon describe AOS perfectly an “Easter Egg Farm”. Lackluster writing, actors, and cgi are the main issues with this show. Everybody knows it except for Marvel drones.
    7 million viewers who abandoned the show cant be wrong.