In its sophomore season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. earned its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for the first time took a step forward in distancing itself from the movies in introducing an important new element within the franchise. We asked repeatedly if the clues of season one were leading do an eventual introduction of Inhumans and it actually did.
The midseason finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two made major revelations about the show, and with the first 10 episodes answering our questions from season one, the new questions on our minds have shifted quite a bit. How will Coulson's team deal with the revelation of Inhumans and Skye's super powers? What secret is Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) holding onto? Will Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) really show up on the TV series and does he/will he have a relationship with Mockingbird like in the comics?
These questions tie directly into the upcoming films which brings us to the biggest question of all; Will Coulson and his team appear in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (it was confirmed by producers that there will be connections to the film in the series), Captain America: Civil War, or another Phase 3 movie so Coulson can reveal that he and the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization are still alive and operational?
Speaking to CBR, Clark Gregg spoke to the idea of Coulson returning to the movies where it all began for the character.
"It's funny: the membrane between me and the character is so thin, I really want to explain to the Avengers, that I didn't just lie to them. So I would really like it for that reason, yes. But I'm having an awfully good time where I am."
Now that the show is embracing the super-powered nature of Marvel Comics, how will that affect Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. going forward?
"Hard to say. I don't know yet. We haven't shot enough that I really have a good answer for that. What I like about it is, it's not your typical origin story. All along S.H.I.E.L.D. has kind of been about protecting people from what they don't know about, which often means people who are on the index -- people who have powers because they've been kind of mutated or given powers by technology or Hydra or various alien artifacts. Inhumans represents a different chapter.
At least in the comics, the Inhumans, they're a race of people who've been transformed. They're mutants, more or less. I've always loved that part of the comics. They're people who have evolved differently, and that generates a lot of fear. Some people want to annihilate them. Some people want to lock them up. Some people want to register them. Some of them become superheroes. Some of them become monsters. I find that particularly germane. Are we going to accept the people who are different, or are we going to try to wipe them out?"
Some of Gregg's hints at stories could feasibly tie into the plot of Captain America: Civil War and of course, Inhumans, but the latter doesn't hit theaters until 2018, towards the end of Phase 3. What does it mean for the series to be introducing Inhumans rather than waiting that long and holding back story for the movie (a la Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Hydra reveal altering Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. towards the end of its first season) to come out first?
"I'm excited by it. I think the Inhumans is a big, cool part of the Marvel universe, a great story. And we'll set up something. We'll get to explore it. I'm glad they're entrusting us with it, and I think that they'll take what they're going to do with it, and it will connect. And yet, we'll have the freedom to kind of make our show be our show. I think our show's working better this year because it is what it is. People are less asking me "When is Tony Stark going to show up?" And stopping me on the street really worried about Leo Fitz. What happens on our show has to work for our show, and if at some point in the future, because they always think of cool stuff, it becomes something that crosses over with the movie, fantastic."
Gregg pays respect to the show's writers and what they've done this season, especially given the challenges of the first season where the writing team was held back in what characters and stories they could utilize from the comics. They have far more freedom and leeway now, Gregg explains, and he's excited to see what they do next with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. As for what's next, he teases that Coulson and Mockingbird have some neat stuff coming up together.
There's also of course the death of Triplett and the transformation of Skye and Raina. Thse will have a profound effect on Coulson's team. Gregg teases that there could be a wide range of reactions from his colleagues depending on who he's known and trusted for a long time, and those who are newer to the team this season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns to ABC on March 3rd, 2015.