As Marvel Phase Two concludes on the big screen this summer, so Marvel TV concludes its own "Phase Two" initiative on the small screen, with a host of success stories that should help kill the stigma of TV being Marvel Studio's red-headed step-child. The Agent Carter spinoff series debuted to solid acclaim, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. overcame its own bad stigma with better storytelling approaches, and Daredevil added some new and darker flavor to the MCU, via the Netflix binge-watch model.
Now that we know that Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been renewed for new seasons, we're starting to get first details about what said new seasons will entail. Today brought information on the network TV side of the MCU; first details on Agent Carter's second season, and reasoning behind why the Hunter/Mockingbird Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoff was canceled.
Peggy Goes to Hollywood
It was revealed during ABC's 2015 - 2016 schedule announcement that Season 2 of Agent Carter will once again fill the slot while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on hiatus; this time the show's setting will be post-WWII LA, not NYC.
So far, Hayley Atwell has been confirmed as returning to play Peggy Carter; however, other cast members like Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark), Jarvis (James D'Arcy) or Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) have not yet been confirmed for season 2 (at the time of writing this). A "sinister threat" was credited as the antagonist for season 2 - time will also tell exactly what that means (more iconic Marvel villains?).
Check out the Agent Carter season 2 synopsis:
Dedicated to the fight against new atomic age threats in the wake of World War II, Peggy must now journey from New York City to Los Angeles for her most dangerous assignment yet. But even as she discovers new friends, a new home – and perhaps even a new love – she’s about to find out that the bright lights of the post-war Hollywood mask a more sinister threat to everyone she is sworn to protect.
It'll be interesting to see if the change in locale offers much in the way of a new dynamic. Without more casting news, it's hard to judge whether this is simply 'Peggy Carter vs. Misogyny: LA Edition,' or truly something of a soft reboot (or new anthology, more accurately), with Peggy being one of the only constants between seasons.
As ComicsAlliance points out, seeing characters like Howard Stark and Jarvis on the West Coast would still make a lot of sense, depending on the reasoning for Peggy being there. However, people like Agents Thompson and Sousa, or Peggy's perky friend Angie, are harder to see making the jump; and based on season 1, they honestly don't seem all that crucial to the series.
Hopefully the showrunners are done with the clandestine slinking Peggy had to do last season, and can just have her be out in the open with her heroism. The whole outwitting her fellow (male) S.S.R agents - or swapping indirect girl talk about it with Angie - didn't exactly add important dimensions to the character or series beyond on-the-nose pontificating about the sexism of post-WWII American culture. With some new characters and situations, and a compelling love interest, Agent Carter might just be all the better.
Goodbye and Hello Mockingbird/Hunter
Just a month ago, we were getting word that Marvel and ABC had developed an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff about espionage exes, Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood). With the announcement that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 is a lock, came word that the Hunter-Bird spinoff was dead. Since then, fans (not exactly incensed about the cancelation) have wondered: what happened?
ABC entertainment president Paul Lee revealed to EW exactly what happened to the series - HINT: it's pretty much the reasoning most fans had weeks ago:
“We absolutely love those characters on S.H.I.E.L.D.We think S.H.I.E.L.D. hit its creative stride this year. We thought the right time now is to leave them on S.H.I.E.L.D.because S.H.I.E.L.D. is so strong on the moment.”
A lot of fans indeed reacted to word of the spinoff with disdain - not because the show wasn't a solid idea (it's noted that Lee and Co. are keeping it in their back pocket for now), but rather because it would sacrifice what has become a stronger dynamic amongst the core AoS characters.
Season 2 got a lot of things right by adding characters like Bobbi, Hunter, Mack and Tripp to regular positions. Not only were the characters better drawn and portrayed than the season 1 core team, they also (respectively and collectively) worked to bring out new and more interesting (or just cool) dimensions of the established characters. Fitz bro-bonding with guys like Mack and Hunter still remains a S2 favorite moment, as does the Simmons/Bobbi dynamic, or Hunter/Coulson - I could go on. Bottom line: ABC made the right call keeping things intact with the cast, instead of spreading things thin.
With the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 finale hours away from airing (at the time of writing this), it remains to be seen how the show bends itself to fit the next Phase of the MCU. The Inhumans and "enhanced" people are all now on the game board - and since we learned Skye's true identity, we've been pulling hard that Coulson and Fury's secret enhanced people initiative is leading us to a Secret Warriors scenario.
Meanwhile, waiting in the wings, Oscar-winning writer and American Crime showrunner John Ridley is still working on his yet-to-be-revealed new ABC/Marvel show.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air its two-part season 2 finale, "S.O.S. pts. 1 & 2" on Tuesday, May 12th @8pm on ABC; AKA Jessica Jones airs season 1 on Netflix this fall; Agent Carter will likely air early in 2016; Daredevil season 2 will air in 2016, and Luke Cage and Iron Fist are expected on Netflix that same year. We'll keep you updated on the new show Marvel and ABC are developing, as well.