At New York Comic Con 2017, Marvel Television President Jeph Loeb proclaimed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “the heavyweight champions of Marvel TV.” It’s hard to argue with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ability to not only endure in the dog-eat-dog world of network television, but to continue to get better and better, with season 4 hailed as their best yet. Even the higher-ups at Disney took notice and pushed ABC to give S.H.I.E.L.D. a fifth season despite its ratings struggles.
While S.H.I.E.L.D. gets to soldier on as the flagship of Marvel TV on network television, the fate of Marvel’s Inhumans is anyone’s guess. Some say the series’ critical drubbing for its first two episodes released in IMAX were undeserved and Inhumans is better than critics claim. Inhumans‘ ratings on Friday nights are thus far on par with S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s fourth season ratings. In any case, Inhumans season 2 is far from a lock.
Inhumans remains a property important to Marvel, and considering that Inhumans have been a central focus of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since season 2, merging the two in a crossover wouldn’t be a bad move (and has already been admitted as ‘possible’). Though the heroes of Marvel TV continue to exist in practically a different universe than the superheroes in the movies they purportedly share the MCU with, crossing over Marvel TV characters is something needs to start happening. If Netflix can cross over their series in Marvel’s The Defenders, why can’t the characters in ABC’s two Marvel series meet?
At this point in Inhumans, nearly all of the Royal Family is on Earth and the series’ primary story is essentially about whether the Inhumans’ society isolated on the moon is ultimately better off relocating to Earth permanently. However that story plays out and the fate of the series itself is decided, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to merge Inhumans with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and keep the Inhumans property active in some form on the flagship series. And the character from Inhumans best suited to join S.H.I.E.L.D. is Crystal (Isabelle Cornish).
In the comics, Crystal was the first person to join the Fantastic Four outside of the original four members when she replaced Susan Richards, who was pregnant at the time. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Crystal could serve that function yet again but this time for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Of all of the Inhumans Royal Family, there are multiple reasons why Crystal would be a great fit for S.H.I.E.L.D., even if its just temporarily. Season 5 of S.H.I.E.L.D. begins in outer space, with the series set to reintroduce the Kree, who are the progenitors of the Inhuman race. Already, there’s a natural way to link up S.H.I.E.L.D. to Inhumans.
The most prominent Inhuman in S.H.I.E.L.D. is Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet), but she and Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) are from the crop of ‘new’ Inhumans. Crystal herself is one of the Royal Family, among the oldest bloodlines of the Inhumans, and she is their princess, no less. Crystal being from a society where she has spent her whole life living in isolation in the hidden lunar city of Attilan would create and interesting and dynamic fish-out-of-water scenario if she were thrust into living on Earth and being part of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even if it wouldn’t make sense if she were a full-fledged Agent and series regular, Crystal could work with the team in any number of capacities as a recurring character.
It’s not clear how old Crystal actually is in human years, but by the Inhumans’ standards she is and behaves like a teenager. Thus, Crystal would inject some youth into S.H.I.E.L.D., in which all of the main cast are now five years older and more hardened from all of the internal and external crises they’ve endured. Crystal’s wide-eyed naivete would allow fans to again see S.H.I.E.L.D. from the perspective of an outsider – just as a much younger, more naive Daisy’s POV was that of an outsider back when she was going by her hacker handle Skye at the start of the series. All of the main cast are now a well-functioning unit bonded by their years together, and Crystal, who isn’t a grim and gritty character, could amusingly upend their status quo in lots of interesting and fun ways, while herself being terribly confused as she adjusts to ‘normal’ human society.
Crystal’s Inhuman powers afford her control of the elements: she can control water, generate fire, harness wind. Her powers nicely compliment Daisy’s ability to move and control the earth. In addition, Crystal’s entire look also nicely contrasts against the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., who are mostly dark haired and wear the black S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms or dark business suits. Of all of the Inhumans, Isabelle Cornish looks the most pleasingly comic book-accurate as Crystal (besides Lockjaw). She has the best and most distinctive costume, and her bright yellow and black look would nicely pop against the colorless palette favored by the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Crystal also would be the new blonde in the series, finally replacing Agent Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) when she left S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of season 3.
Could Crystal’s beloved teleporting dog Lockjaw, everyone’s favorite Inhumans character, also join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Well, no Marvel fan would complain about seeing more Lockjaw. But if the story of Crystal being part of S.H.I.E.L.D. in whatever capacity were to be an allegory for a teenager leaving the safety and familiarity of home and trying to make her way for herself and find her purpose in the world, leaving Lockjaw in Attilan would be the best move for Crystal. (Plus lets’ face it, Lockjaw immediately puts demands on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s budget to properly render him in CGI.)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also proven to be consistently well-written television with the best crop of intelligent, capable women of any Marvel Television show. Daisy, Agent May (Ming Na Wen), and especially Agent Gemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are some of the most admirable and awesome female characters on TV. Inhumans‘ biggest Achilles heel is the quality of the series’ writing; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s writers room could take a female character with a ton of potential like Crystal and do wonders with her. Crystal could be the breakout character of Marvel’s Inhumans and play a much larger and more important role in the MCU, but what she’d really need to do so is to leave the show she’s on and stand beside the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel’s Inhumans airs Fridays at 9pm ET on ABC. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Friday, December 1st on ABC.
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