Fans who’ve followed along with the development of “Phase Two” of the Marvel cinematic universe, especially since the reveals this summer at Comic-Con, have a good idea of what to expect from the rosters of characters appearing on screen over the next three years. For the television side of things when it comes to the live-action S.H.I.E.L.D. series, the picture isn’t so clear.

Joss Whedon is developing the Marvel series for ABC with the help of his brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen and may even direct the pilot should scheduling permit. According to Whedon however, the show will feature all-new characters to avoid continuity issues arising from using existing characters from the films and even the comics. Today, we learned a little about four of them.

E! Online has the scoop on four of the agents who will be introduced in the SHIELD pilot episode – we’ve broken the descriptions down into bullet-point lists for a general idea of what to expect:

Agent Grant Ward

  • Bad temper, but calm and collected in sticky situations.
  • Slightly anti-social.
  • Strong Morals.
  • “Deadly”

Agent Althea Rice

  • Also known as “The Cavalry”
  • Quiet.
  • Proven veteran pilot and soldier.
  • “damaged” from previous combat experience.

Agent Leo Fitz & Agent Jemma Simmons

  • Also known as “Fitz-Simmons”
  • Inseparable like siblings.
  • Attractive nerds.
  • Fitz is weapons/tech specialist.
  • Simmons is science buff.

All four agents are original characters for the television series and, like Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) from the films, are not from the comics. While Ward, Rice, Fitz and Simmons are all new to the Marvel cinematic universe (the show is separate but reportedly tied to the universe) that doesn’t mean there will not be familiar faces showing up in the series on occasion, despite Whedon’s claims to the contrary.

From chatting with Louis D’Esposito the other week in anticipation for the release of The Avengers on home video – which includes D’Esposito’s Item 47 Marvel one-shot – he made it clear that the SHIELD characters from the short are “absolutely” likely to make an appearance in the series. The most obvious choice of the four stars of Item 47 would be Agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) who made his second appearance in the short. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Bradford and Titus Welliver show up somewhere down the line either.

As for the higher profile characters like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, while it makes sense for Marvel Studios and ABC to get them involved in some capacity for at least the pilot, Jackson appearing on TV is a stretch at best and it’s a better bet to have TV veteran Smulders show up. That would also service the desire to have the series to tie-in with the films without forcing any major crossovers. Hill could be the “glue” so to speak, to bind the television world to the films.

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: E! Online