With the shocking twist that ended season four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., fans will have plenty to occupy their minds while they wait for the new season. Thanks to the premiere of Inhumans this fall, season 5 of SHIELD won’t debut until January of 2018. When it does, it will be picking up after its most well-received and consequential season so far. With the expansion of science-magic and the lore of Ghost Rider, the show is more connected than ever to the likes of Doctor Strange, and the exploration of space opens up even more avenues for the show - including potential ties to Avengers: Infinity War.
While SHIELD has almost always referenced the films and other shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s mostly been a one way street. With the very idea of the Inhumans not only introduced on SHIELD but factoring into the bulk of the series so far, it seems nearly impossible for the two shows not to connect. The jury is still out on whether that will happen, but the new direction teased in the tag of SHIELD’s finale hints at some possibilities. Even more exciting, but it may just set up Coulson’s return to the film side of the MCU and tie SHIELD to Avengers: Infinity War. Until each property premieres, we can’t be certain what the future holds. There are, however, a number of hints about how Agents of SHIELD could connect to Inhumans and Infinity War.
Following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, SHIELD received a narrative shot in the arm that pushed it past a light tie-in and made it essential viewing for superhero fans and those invested in the MCU. In the years since, it’s introduced a number of major concepts from the comics, including a few that have ramifications for the MCU as a whole. Back in season two, the seeds were sown for the introduction of the Kree and their creations the Inhumans. Despite the Inhumans that was on the horizon at the time, the ABC series nevertheless introduced the concept into the MCU with a number of prominent characters. In the years since, they’ve never really pulled back, and the movie soon morphed into another TV show on ABC.
The narrative so far has pointed towards all involved in both shows interested in connecting threads, but no one has confirmed when or if that will happen. It seems as though the first season of Inhumans will be a self-contained story, but it’s hard to imagine it existing on entirely its own. For one thing, there’s no way the Inhuman Royal Family won’t be familiar with the rash of NuHumans that have gone through Terrigenesis across the globe in the past few years. Furthermore, they’re likely well aware of the villainous Hive, a centuries old tool of the Kree. There have also been a few set photos which have shown the mysterious writing that popped up in season 2 of SHIELD and led to the discovery of the Terrigen Crystals and the awakening of Daisy as an Inhuman. As if all of that weren’t enough, Coulson’s appearance in space may just provide us with our biggest connection so far.
Aside from the celestial origin of the Inhumans as experiments by the Kree, the comics have seen them spend considerable time in Earth’s orbit and on the moon. While it’s unclear where their city of Attilan will be based in the new show, it’s not hard to imagine they have some affiliation with space. Then there’s the mystery of Ellen Woglom’s character.
Out of all the core cast, her character has yet to be revealed. It stands to reason, however, she’ll be playing a human, likely a liaison between her people and the Inhumans. There have also been rumors that she’ll in fact be Abigail Brand, the leader of S.W.O.R.D. (aka SHIELD in space). While the rights to Brand and SWORD are in question, there’s a strong case to be made that the intergalactic cop will be very aware of the Inhumans and the Kree.
If Brand does appear on Inhumans, it further lends credence to the idea that Coulson is now working for SWORD. It also provides a strong connection between SHIELD and Inhumans. The first season of the latter show may indeed stand on its own, but there’s no way season five of SHIELD won’t address the fallout of whatever happens on its sister show. With that in mind, we could see hints of a connection this fall, before 2018 fully ties the shows together on season five of SHIELD and a potential second season of Inhumans.