Joss Whedon To Write & Direct ABC’s ‘SHIELD’ TV Pilot

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 29th, 2012 at 5:06 am,

Joss Whedon SHIELD TV Series Joss Whedon To Write & Direct ABCs SHIELD TV Pilot

It only took five days after The Avengers opened in North American theaters for Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger to announce that a sequel would be in development, but it took three months the secure Joss Whedon’s return as the writer and director. As part of the deal, Joss Whedon will be working with Marvel Studios for the next three years where he will help oversee Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe.

The unexpected part of the agreement is that Whedon would also be developing a live-action Marvel TV series for ABC, one which we can now safely say will be based on the S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) organization.

After Disney released the official statement regarding Whedon’s involvement with the future of the franchise, we put together a list of 10 Marvel Comics properties that Whedon could potentially develop for the small screen. Of the suggestions, only two really made sense, one more than the other.

SHIELD Art Phase One Avengers 570x281 Joss Whedon To Write & Direct ABCs SHIELD TV Pilot

There was Runaways, a series Whedon actually wrote several issues for and one that was about ready to begin shooting last spring for a theatrical release this year alongside The Avengers with Peter Sollett directing. And there was our number one choice, SHIELD, a show that would follow the secretive organization that helped rally the superheroes introduced in the films thus far. This is what I said at the time:

With Whedon’s show taking place in the same continuity as the films, and SHIELD being a part of all of them in some way, there are plenty of opportunities to have the show and movies promote each other. Just think of the guest appearance possibilities. Better yet, if the Helicarrier were to be used, Marvel Studios already has the sets and digital assets constructed from The Avengers film production. Adding credence to this rumor is Deadline’s scoop from a few weeks ago indicating that Marvel’s TV division has a “a kernel of an idea” that they’re talking with ABC about, one that would be set in the film universe but wouldn’t star any of its characters. Its described as a “high-concept cop show” and was “referred to as Shield.” Coincidence?

For more discussion and thoughts on the series, check out episode 52 of the Screen Rant Undeground podcast.

Deadline has the confirmation that their initial scoop was correct and SHIELD is on its way to becoming a reality. Production will begin right away with Whedon co-writing the project with his brother Jed Whedon and Jed’s wife Maurissa Tancharoen (sister of Mortal Kombat savior Kevin Tancharoen), both of whom Joss worked with on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Dollhouse.

The plan is for Joss Whedon to direct the pilot of SHIELD as well for the series that has a safer bet of lasting more than his previous television endeavors simply due to the nature of his involvement in the bigger picture plans of the studio. The show will not star the core characters of The Avengers but cameo appearances are very likely, especially in positioning the series to be set in the same universe. What this means is that as each of the films leading up to The Avengers debut, we could potentially see the series dealing with the events taking place in each of the film’s stories. Expect Disney to take full advantage of cross-promotional opportunities.

Avengers Character Poster Banner 570x228 Joss Whedon To Write & Direct ABCs SHIELD TV Pilot

While the idea of basing a show around SHIELD allows the series to practically explore all facets of the Marvel Comics universe in terms of characters and stories, we’re very curious as to what Whedon’s specific plans are. By signing the three-year exclusivity deal with Marvel Studios to helm The Avengers 2, it seems that this TV show is Whedon’s reward of sorts for climbing aboard and we are excited at the potential and curious as to how much the show will actually integrate with the films.

SHIELD beats out Guillermo del Toro’s in-development The Incredible Hulk show for ABC as the first live-action Marvel series to get the official green light. The last we heard on the Hulk front, just prior to Whedon’s signing, was that del Toro is waiting on a certain unnamed writer’s schedule to free up before they revise the screenplay.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014 and The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.


Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Great news…im wondering if Sam jackson will make a cameo in this TV show

    • He probably will for like a few episodes. Just appear on the screen and give out orders.

      • Nick Fury has been known to go underground and leave the agency in the hands of others. Perhaps he will only appear by computer messages, encrypted codes, and voice recordings.

    • I wonder if Renner or Johanson would also make cameo appearances or even the guy who will play the Falcon in the Captain America movie.

      • probably to promote the captain america movie

      • I wonder how long it will take to get the finished product on TV?? I kind of hope this is going to be like a Fringe type show only with the mysteries of the Marvel Universe coming to fruition.

  2. Sounds great, but it leaves me with a lot of questions. Will the show be focused on espionage, the discovery and management of super powered individuals, or about the aftermath of the alien catastrophe that occurred in the movie? Perhaps a little bit of everything? Also I’m guessing that the main star would most likely be Maria Hill. Since I doubt that Samuel L. Jackson would make to many appearances as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Hopefully they will also bring in interesting characters like the heroes for hire, Captain or Ms. Marvel, and perhaps even Frank Castle. Although I doubt they would introduce any character that is planned for an eventual movie like the black panther or Dr. Strange.

    • That would be pretty hard for her to do since Cobie Smulders, the actress who portrayed Maria hill is under contract with How I Met Your Mother. I don’t believe they would recast her for the show since Cobie is already under contract to portray the character in at least seven more movies. So maybe the focus of the show will be on another character… with characters from the movies making cameos.

      • How i met your mother is potentially done after this upcoming season (9th). Tall guy wont sign for another year he’d rather do movies. Dont blame him, great show will be missed but they really need to wrap it up.

        • That would be Jason Segal and the upcoming will be the 8th

        • That would be Jason Segal and the upcoming season will be the 8th.

  3. this is amazing! almost anything is game now! except for all the other titles and characters that are licensed to other studios

    • I’m with you. If they don’t use this opportunity to intro a lot of new characters I will be disappointed, but I’m sure I will still love the show. One of my favorite subjects with one of my favorite directors. How can they go wrong?? Knock on wood.

      • They need GW Bridge to go after the Punisher. That whole show with Punisher as a disgruntled cop is dumb. Don’t mess up a good thing.

  4. Curious on how they will do this. Personally I would make this the Frank Payne story who starts off as a SHIELD agent and later turns into the villian “The Constrictor” working undercover into a criminal organization while working on his skills -which includes altering the whip’s of Whiplash weapon recovered in Ironman2- which is his item in the comics. Try to make the back and forth like ‘The Departed”. Will lead to the stress which would be his psycological breakdown. Hopefully they do not go with too many villians, keep one with some Crossfire and his organization for the first season.

    Would love to see them state- after they capture someone- “We now have Codename Abomination and Leader under control, this third helps with super power research” in reference to the characters they already captured in MCU


  5. Marvel is kind of freaking “Company of the Year”. The marketing around the Avengers alone is brilliant, establishing the characters in their solo movies but keeping them in the same universe. And now this TV show could potentially promote Marvel comics even more.

  6. I could see Maria hill having a large role, especially If how I met your mother ends this season.

  7. So many ways they could go with this. My idea is this…..

    Basically Buffy or more like a large scale Grimm….but instead of monsters/supernatural creatures they are going after lower level villains from the comics.

    The show would be focused on one task force of agents, pick whomever from the comics or new ones, Pilot episode would have Fury show up to brief the leader of the group on what their job will be. Fury tells him/her that they are to report to Maria Hill with anything of importance. That is Fury’s only appearance amd Hill (Smulders) will be a recurring supporting character and get a bigger role in latter seasons if How I met your Mother is finished.

    A team of 4 with like two support staff members would be a good size for the group. But have them interact with smaller heros and go after villains who will never be really featured in the films.the kind of villains who would get demolished by the members of the avengers but could put up a fight against SHIELD agents. Also introduce some of the many prisons from the comic book, because obviously they have to lock away the villains. And they could have some cool cameos there, like The Abomination perhaps.

    I think The Leader would be a good antagonist for season one. He is officially in SHIELD custody via the tie-in comic, and was just starting to show his powers. So Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) fully becoming the leader and breaking himself, the abomination and others out would be a climax near the end of the season. It would provide the leader with the build up to really become a Villain and set him up much better for a new Hulk movie. Also it would show SHIELD that they need to start developing some of the more elaborate prisons…with consultant Hank Pym ;)

    They could get some cameos, like Renner for a couple episode arch as Hawkeye, maybe aiding the team to hunt Bullseye (who Mavel will have the rights back for by then). And maybe a brief glimpse of Cap, I’d imagine they will be shooting this show and Cap2 at the same time so it isn’t crazy that it could happen. They probably could just use the sets for CAP2 and it’d only be a couple hour shoot for the show for Evans.

    There are a ton of other ways to go about this idea, but I think this fits Whedon the most, helps flesh out more of the MCU, and just makes me grin thinking about it.

    • so like fringe but with superheroes. And maybe not a genious scientist on the team. I see the show as kind of an CSI/fringe vibe with more police type procedural (hawai 5.0, castle etc) type deal. All the various tech, powers etc.. Somebody will have to explain it to the audience.

  8. I am very happy about this news and really excited to watch this show.

    I am usually a TV show junkie and MCU was what made me a bigger fan of movies… usually I always had the feeling that two hours (or 1,5) is just not enough to get to know a character, so you can’t really get into the story, like with TV where you have whole season(s) to get to know the characters and their background.
    Luckily this is not the case with the Avengers movies.

    I am expecting cameos from several actors (Sam Jackson, Cobie and other SHIELD personnel we already saw). They could introduce new heroes/agents too with this, who could then appear in the movies.

    I would love to have some Jeremy Renner cameos too once in a while :)

    Oh the possibilities.

  9. This is just what I’m talking about, Marvel is handling up and DC is still talking.

    • Well, I should say DC is dragging their feet.

      • DC could blow this out of the water with a Batman live action TV show.
        I live in hope.

        • Dc has arrow which could be very good.

  10. Yet no friggin iron fist D:

    • i think they could introduce lower tier heros in this show as well, and i think this would be the perfect place to test out black panther, and if it works, will get some movies for him, and whoever else

      • At first thought I was gonna say B Panther is too big, but it does seem right. Have some crisis with the Vibranium and have the Wakanda SHIELD spies reporting in about it. Maybe even give his back story like they did in the Avengers EMH cartoon. Don’t know if they’ll go that route but it would work for me. Of course, I’m the kind of fan who would watch the Hulk tap dance for an hour every week just to get my fix. Ya know, the Hulk dance off isn’t such a bad idea. Anyone know Whedon’s number? No… Alright, gonna continue to Porky Pig around my house until my buzz wears off. Don’t judge.

  11. Freaking awesome. I’m so excited. I Know Joss Whedon will do a great job, I mean, look at Avengers and all his other works. Hopefully, Hawkeye will be a reoccurring character who makes a few appearances. The guy was treated unfairly in Avengers. Black Widow could appear like once or twice.

    DC is really lagging.

  12. Wait…since the rights for most of the characters that Marvel doesn’t have are specifically film rights, couldn’t some “off limits” characters be used in this show?

    • I was wondering that as well, but I think it’s all live action tv and film. Plus if Marvel did it I’m sure FOX would sue them

      • Yeah, I would think their “likeness” is owned by the studios. It would be really cool to at least get into mutants a little. I think that would open up many new characters like the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver while not treading on the X-Men deal. Even though I was always a bigger X-Men fan than anything, I really think the FF would be the best to tie into the Marvel Universe. A FF TV show would be amazing. But, it’s just a dream, Fat Boy.

  13. They should just make it a short miniseries instead of a full on one to be safe…it could be 10 minute segments playing before certain television shows in style of Marvel’s other short films

  14. I think it should be a mini series that leads us into they can introduce wakanda, may be an episode where shield goes to africa for a mission.this will set the stage for black panther introduction to the big screen.

  15. Great news!
    I’m very curious about how they’ll handle all the major characters like Fury, Widow and Hawkeye. I hope they don’t recast…

    • I’m sure they can pay enough now to get them aboard for cameos. If not then they may hurt themselves a bit. But, depending on how long this thing goes on, recasting will be common. The new Banner was fine but Incredible Hulk was not as popular as the others. Fury, IM, Cap, & Thor should not be recast for a very long time, IMO, and the others should be done tastefully.

  16. Im hoping this is like a marvel-team up show, where the MCs team of with different heroes in the marvel universe every episode. that would really help to expand the universe.

  17. “Of the suggestions, only two really made sense, one more than the other.”

    Sorry but I strongly disagree with this. It might have made sense to YOU, Rob but not to me (and others). And just because I’m lazy, here is what I previously posted on the subject:

    SHIELD – My only problem with this concept is, although it will be a part of the same universe, it won’t have any of the Avengers? Considering BW and Hawk are “agents”, you would expect them to at least show up occasionally but only rare cameos would be sort of lame. Also remember that none of the Avengers are under contract to appear in a TV show so having even a cameo could be an expensive proposition.

    Then there is the issue of casting. I highly Doubt that Jackson or anyone else would agree to be on it so all those roles would have to be recast which makes no sense, especially if they WILL be in future movies like Avengers 2, Capt. America 2, etc. If it’s a shared universe then the characters NEED to remain consistent, if at all possible.

    Runaways – Is possible because, as was mentioned, Whedon has been involved in this plus this franchise has been close to reaching the production stage so they have fleshed out material.

    My issue with this idea is, it’s a show based around a bunch of kids and feels more like MMPR (Mighty Morphing Power Rangers), so better suited for the juice box crowd on the cartoon channel. I just don’t see the over 20 demographic being interested in watching this and not suited for primetime TV.

    Heroes For Hire – THIS was my bet because it has a lot of positive things going for it:

    - Whedon is familiar with the street level action format (Angel and Buffy) but can also work with larger casts in a TV format (Firefly)

    - The main characters can function completely independent of SHIELD or The Avengers but still be a part of the same universe should someone decide to drop in for a random cameo.

    - Focuses on two characters that require very little in the way of big budget FX to bring them to life (Martial Artist with glowing fist and invulnerable/strong guy). A very attractive selling point for those bean counters ;)

    - They can then rotate in and out a lot of Marvel’s lesser knowns that have little to no chance of getting their own movie; Moon Knight anyone? She-Hulk, White Tiger, Collen Wing, Humbug, Brother Voodoo and anyone else they want to add (or even make up). It would be similar to how a later Smallville worked.

    So if it is indeed SHIELD, I would really like to know how they are going to deal with my questions about it’s use.

    • I agree mongoose.
      I think it is dissappointing that the show isn’t Heroes for Hire. I was looking forward to seeing some Misty and Colleen, Punisher, Blade, Dr Strange (if he doesn’t make it on to film), Moon Knight and Daredevil, and of course Iron Fist and Cage.
      We still might get to see some of that.

      • If ‘SHIELD’ is a success, who knows! Maybe we’ll get Heroes For Hire next.

        • i freaking hope so Heroes For Hire would of been a great tv series.

          • There is so many possibilities with this show. They can bring in so many characters even ones that won’t make into the Avengers movies. I’m sure they could bring in Heroes for Hire plus many others. I am definitely excited for this. For me I would love to see Spiderman to make it on the show and team up with S.H.I.E.L.D to take down Norman Osborn. Not sure if the rights issue has anything to do with tv series or not. One can hope that it doesn’t though :D

  18. So had George Lucas produced a TV series based in the Star Wars universe waaaay back in 1977-78, our anticipation for the next movie would NOT have dampened…?

    Of course it would have. A S.H.I.E.L.D. television cannot sustain the production values of the movies, nor will it avoid over saturation of the Marvel brand. It’s just another example of executives not looking at the bigger picture.

  19. So I’m guessing that the Avengers TV show is now not going to happen? I don’t necessarily know if having a TV series set in the Marvel universe is absolutely necessary, but if it’s going to be about anything, it should be SHIELD, because you can better adapt SHIELD to the nature of a TV series in terms of its scope and storytelling pace better than the Avengers. An Avengers series would really dilute the movies. Also, has there ever been a really successful TV/movie tie-in effort? I suppose X-Files, but the movie came out much later. We’re talking about the reverse, a TV series working to support a movie series. It’s going to be tricky to make sure everything lines up right. Or otherwise, the storylines in the SHIELD series will be so remote and unconnected to the movies as to make them irrelevant. Marvel/Disney clear want you to watch the series in hopes that there is a cross-over. But they can’t give away too much.

  20. The next question is how do the agents of SHIELD that we already know play into the series? My bet is Maria Hill becomes director of SHIELD eliminating the need for Samuel L. Jackson and giving Cobie Smulders a new vehicle (a helicarrier to be exact) since How I Met Your Mother is ending. But will the rising star of Jeremy Rener want to go back to doing TV, can anyone afford to have Scarlett Johansson do a TV show, and technically the star spangled man with a plan himself is an agent of SHIELD at this point, so would he be included? Theres no doubt that they have plenty of other options for SHIELD characters without these considering the importance they have in the Marvel Comics and how many of them have actually become Avengers at some point.

    • Um they haven’t made an said that How I met Your Mother is ending.
      I envision Cobie Smulders possibly having a reacurring role like in 7-8 episodes a season or even less maybe but that is just me

  21. Awesome I was hoping the tv series being developed was based on S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m really excited and can’t wait for the premier.

    • Woah! Easy there man ;)
      It’s a long while yet till we get to the premier.

      I’m just hoping it’ll get passed pr-production (all the other Marvel series’ like Incredible Hulk, AKA JJ, Cloak & Dagger, etc. haven’t exactly made it passed that point yet…)

  22. Michael Chiklis should be the lead role.

  23. Watch if this show succeeds, Universal and other companies will look like retards by turning down Stephen King’s and Ron Howard’s Dark Tower film/tv series proposals.

  24. I am so excited for this. Finally Joss Whedon back on televison and helming a series based on one of the things I love most in the world Marvel!
    Excited to see how it links into the core of the cinematic universe but also how it stands in its own right. The potential is practically limitless with SHEILD playing parts in almost all corners of the Marvel world.

    But the link with the films is the major draw, think of all the times we have said that plot would feel rushed, they cant do that their isnt enough time etc etc. Not anymore plot points can be built in episodes. I for one hope we see Ultron appear as an army of passive guards in the sheild helocarrier or subtle hints to secret invasion which could gradually lead to the big plots in the films

    I have a question though, do the rights for using characters in Movies extend to TV shows? ie since Fox owns the rights to X-Men on Cinema and Marvel can’t make their own movies based on our favoutite mutants. However, is TV a different matter? can Marvel use characters on a TV show even though they dont have the rights to said characters in a movie?

  25. hmm i wonder whos gonna be in charge. They better use hill from avengers and not recast her same with fury

  26. I would care if Agent Coulson was alive. Such a reckless waste of life.

    • I agree. IMO they should make the show as a prequel, kinda like what happens before (or inbetween) the movies. Or they could start with Howard Stark in the 50s (since Fury says in IM2 that he was a founding member of SHIELD). The possibilities are infinite.

  27. They can portray SHIELD as a huge organization, so they can have stories that don’t involve the characters from Avengers. It would be interesting to have characters and story lines in the show itself that have little to no crossover.

    I still think that Whedon is the writer Del Toro is referring to for Hulk. I think they want to make sure the show jibes with the rest of the universe. He wouldn’t be writing, but overseeing and suggesting ideas.


    Joss Whedon is the man and this should be awesome.
    I can’t wait.

  29. So, it isn’t the Thor and Hulk buddy cop show idea that I pitched? I called it Thorsky and Hulk starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Snoop Lion.