Most Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans can remember the moment when the little ABC drama that could turned into a series with very real implications for the Marvel universe. It took a long time getting there in season 1 (with many people giving up on the show halfway), but by episode 17, appropriately titled 'Turn, Turn, Turn,' fans learned that Hydra had heavily infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and, most importantly, Grant Ward. The reveal first seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier a week before, tied into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a big way.
Some other connections to the MCU in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were a bit more subtle. The episode 'The Well' takes place directly after the events of Thor: The Dark World; the episode 'T.A.H.I.T.I.' introduces the alien race the Kree, which played a significant role in Guardians of the Galaxy; and even Lady Sif from Thor has appeared in episodes 'Yes Men" and "Who You Really Are".
Meanwhile, season 3 has brought a number of big changes to the series that seem to fortell of storylines coming up in the MCU. Inhumans were introduced last season (perhaps prepping for the film in 2019), but this season presented the Secret Warriors, new Inhuman characters partially inspired by the comic of the same name. Yet all this prep work could be leading to something even closer on the horizon.
TVLine has the scoop on possible connections between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and this year's Captain America: Civil War. As Clark Gregg coyly points out, the first half of the season "set up… the beginning of Secret Warriors, and some stuff that miiiight connect with Civil War — although I don’t know that!" Then he goes further to explain how it could all tie in:
"But with the Inhuman outbreak, you have people with powers suddenly all over the place. And there are those who feel that people who evolve differently need to be eradicated. And there are those who remember that those people are also humans. And there are divisions among those people.”
All these things together sound like a recipe for a Civil War between those with powers and those without. And it also sounds as though the drama surrounding this issue will truly begin March 8, when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns from its winter hiatus with the episode 'Bouncing Back.' The synopsis tells us a lot about how it will start to go down:
BIGGER THREATS LOOM AHEAD AS THE TEAM TRIES TO STRIKE DOWN HYDRA, ON THE MIDSEASON PREMIERE OF “MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.” ON ABC
In the midseason premiere, “Bouncing Back,” in the aftermath of his trip to Maveth, Coulson is more determined than ever to get to Gideon Malick and put an end to Hydra once and for all. Meanwhile, Daisy and the team encounter more Inhumans who have powers like they’ve never seen before, but will they be friends or enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
No longer able to keep powered people out of the public eye, Daisy and Mack press forward to find more Inhumans, building a team of secret warriors whose mission is to train and protect powered people. However, the growing presence of Inhumans proves to be a polarizing issue, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team must face conflicting public opinions and defend their team from groups who have a more extreme ideology.
The divide between those who want to protect Inhumans and those who seek to destroy them is constantly widening, and Hydra, now strengthened by Grant Ward, looms once again. However, Ward is no longer the same villainous traitor that they once knew, and the team faces an all-new enemy, whose motivations, goals and strengths are unclear. Uncertain about who (or what) they are facing, the stakes for S.H.I.E.L.D. and their assembled group of Secret Warriors are higher than ever, bringing some members of the team closer together and driving others apart. Will S.H.I.E.L.D. be able to stop one of the most powerful Inhumans to walk the Earth?
Guest starring are Juan Pablo Raba as Joey Gutierrez, Spencer Treat Clark as Werner Von Strucker, Powers Booth as Gideon Malick, Natalie Cordova-Buckley as Elena Rodriguez, William Sadler as President Ellis, Mark Dacascos as Giyera, Paul Lincoln Alayo as Francisco Rodriguez, Vance Valencia as Turkish old man, Yancey Arias as Colonel Victor Ramon, Gabriel Salvador as Lucio, Jamie Alvarez as lead officer, Ronnie Alvarez as uniformed officer and Eric Thomas Wilson as Hydra guard.
For once, it sounds as though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will actually be setting up a Marvel film, instead of reacting to the events after the fact. What may have started with so many superhumans destroying New York City in Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron will really take shape as the world reacts to an increase in Inhumans brought on by the events of season 2. It's an exciting time to be a fan of the MCU, as we count down these last two or so months until Civil War.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 at 9pm on ABC.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.