Today at the theater inside of Madison Square Gardens, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb moderated the New York Comic Con 2017 panel for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5. After a recap video from the big moments of season 4 (Ghost Rider, LMDs, The Framework, etc.) and a Q&A with the cast which included fan questions, the first 20 minutes of the Agents of SHIELD season 5 premiere was screened exclusively for attendees.
Like season 4, season 5 will be structured into several large story arcs and at least the first one is entirely in space as hinted at with the season 4 finale cliffhanger. Below is the most detailed description of this footage available online, and includes everything I saw in the footage.
Opens with quick replay of final scene of season 4 with Agents in diner, enjoying last meal before they know they'll get apprehended.
Then pop music plays for a long sequence from the perspective of the mysterious bald man in the suit who apprehends Coulson and the team. It's a flashback to before the arrest. He's seemingly enjoying "normal" life, swimming in a pool, taking some strange beverage from his fridge (the fridge is packed with tons of bottles of that one thing so we know he's probably not a human) - there are crayon drawings stuck to the fridge, then we see him take clothes off for a shower, and as the clothes get thrown onto a bench, the last piece is the human skin suit. He's an alien, hence the weirdness and his weird expressions.
We see the silhouette of him in the shower and he's tall, slightly hunched over, and skinny (definitely not Kree who we know will factor into this season in a big way).
Then this alien dude is back in bald human form, wearing a suit, driving to "work" and he's bobbing his head to the music. He pulls into a large empty hangar where there's a white cargo truck parked. A man steps out of the truck with a tablet device to greet him and swipes through logo pattern options they want displayed on the side of the white truck as a disguise. As he's swiping through options - they're appearing live on the truck itself through some advanced tech. Bald alien dude then goes in the back and there awaits his SWAT team and we see their perspective as they raid Rae's Diner at night and apprehend Coulson and the team.
As they arrive, they setup large lights on the perimeter of the diner. They then shut the power down to the diner and blast the bright lights in through the windows and proceed to breach. We only see the perspective from the two guards outside as this is happening though and they use this opportunity to inject some humor. The one guard tells the other that he told his wife he's at a friend's place for a fantasy sports draft that evening, mocking his wife for not knowing they're halfway through the season. While the bald guy and some of their tech is clearly alien, the SWAT team could very well be human. They certainly seem to be.
As bald man and his team leave the diner with the agents individually bagged and on carts, one of the SWAT units tells their bald leader that there's still one of the characters still seated in the diner and Bald guy responds in his Agent Smith-esque voice "Yeah, not on the list." It's unclear who was left behind. We only know it's not Coulson because he was carted out first.
The next scene begins with the team waking up, gasping for their first breaths, in a dark room (no walls are visible) and ahead of them, they see a familiar object - a Kree teleportation obelisk (similar to what sent Simmons to the alien world previously in the show). This one however is white in color and we see it's solid structure before it converts to liquid form.
In the next scene, we see a cosmic background while eerie space music plays. Coulson is not with his team here as he walks through a scene seemingly frozen in time, featuring human mechanics being sucked out the room through a hold on the side of what must be a space vessel or space station. The sound all of a sudden picks up and we catch up to regular time flowing and everyone is being sucked out the hole. Someone hits a button and the window seals. There's dialogue between the two unknown humans who were just previously floating in the air (and time) and they are yelling at each other for blowing the window. One responds saying it was the only way to get rid of that "thing." It seems like they had to flush out an alien but we don't know how Coulson was able to walk around while time was frozen for a moment. Was it just an effect for the viewers?
Coulson has no idea what's going on, but the two strangers know Coulson. "My god, you're here," one states with glee. They know he's Coulson and they say he's there to save them. Every time Coulson inquires about where they are, who they are, what's going on, they get cut off by some major distraction - other sounds, specifically an alien monster who grabs one of the two.
Coulson starts demanding answers from the remaining one then Mack shows up punching the stranger and knocking him out, right after he revealed his name was Virgil. There's quite a lot of levity and quips to break up the weirdness and horrifying elements of the situation.
Mack: "You okay? What the hell is going on?"
Coulson: "I was about to find out!"
Mack: "My bad. I see a dirty looking dude hovering over you with a crazy looking gun. I acted on impulse... Where'd that box send us?"
Coulson: "I don't have any details but I do know we're in space."
Mack: "Yeah, that makes sense. It's the one thing we haven't done yet."
In the next scene, we see Yo-Yo in a room with someone in a gas mask of sorts. Yo-Yo immediately attacks until realizing its Simmons. The mask is useless but Simmons put it on because there are dead, dehydrated humanoid bodies all over the floor. Something had drained them.
As they're analyzing and discussing the bodies, Coulson and Mack break in. We now have four of the agents together armed with one weird alien gun. They quickly share information, Coulson explaining that they're in space to which Simmons responds "not again." Simmons, using the scientific method as per usual analyzes the situation. They have no idea what monster the people on this starship (if that's what it is) are running away from and Coulson's more concerned with who brought them here in the first place and why.
Next scene, we see another shot of the cosmic background, a slightly colorful but spectacular asteroid belt of sorts. And figure flies into frame, looking like Star-Lord. Similar jacket but a different type of space helmet. He enters through the door from space and activates something to land on the floor.
Next scene, Agent May awakes is in a room to herself, leaning against a wall and she's got a metal curved rod that's attached to the wall but run right through her left leg. She's pinned. As she realizes the situation she's in, there's a scary noise and banging on the door to the room.
We skip back to the other four and Mack is super upset with the situation, vocally regretting ever joining SHIELD and especially for not really quitting the first time he quit. He's giving Coulson a tough time for not having his robot hand that has all the useful gadgets and weapons. Even a hook would be more useful than his regular hand says Mack. Yo-Yo lists a bunch of the abilities Coulson has conveniently used before, seeing if Coulson has any of them in this current hand model to which Coulson responds "I'm not Inspector Gadget!" There's a lot of funny dialogue here as they recap the crazy things they endured the last two seasons and what led them here.
Coulson is asked if Nick Fury ever had setup any sort of deep space outpost for SHIELD and Coulson says there was nothing about this sort of stuff in the Black Box. Yo-Yo chimes in with a meta-level joke to fans expecting something like this from the comics:
"So wait, SHIELD doesn't have a space division called SPEAR or something? I always thought you had people hiding on the moon."
Note: This is another meta reference to fans expecting SWORD (the space division of SHIELD) to appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or The Inhumans TV shows.
We skip back to May in her predicament. She reaches to a dead body on the ground and drags him a little closer with one arm and then undoes his belt. She wraps the belt around the metal rod to use it as leverage to break it off the wall unit it's attached to.
Back with Coulson's group, the unconscious Virgil finally awakens. They apologize for knocking him out and he recognizes all of the team. They're like legends to him. His people have studied them for years he reveals. Virgil says he always believed "the stories were true," and that Coulson's team would come to save them. From what, they ask, the alien monsters referred to as "roaches"? No.
Virgil: "Those roaches were an anomoly, a glitch in the plan. Don't be crazy, you're not here to save me."
Coulson: "Who then?"
Virgil: "Humanity. I'm sorry. This is a lot to dump on your plate but I need to know if I'm right. This'll make a lot more sense once I show you - "
Before Virgil can explain, he's attacked and pulled away by one of the roaches. Coulson and company flee out the room and down a corridor as they are pursued, Yo-Yo using that alien weapon they got from Virgil to fire back at it. There's a quick slow-mo shot of the roach running along the wall to dodge it and the weapon depletes of ammunition. Just when things look dire and they're at a dead end, the roach is vaporized and Daisy a.k.a. Quake comes into view her hand still in the air from blasting the roach, quipping "right?" in response to everything that's happening.
And just as she does, the door opens and space man - still wearing his mask - drags a body into the room. He then removes his helmet and pulls out a knife to cut out a black coin-looking object that embedded in the wrist of the body. While this is happening, Melinda is hiding behind a pipe, holding the metal rod to use as a weapon if need be. But the space man, who we see is a white human male, leaves and she breathes a sigh of relief. As she's about to leave cover, he appears and grabs her.
The mysterious, unmasked space man in an aggressive voice: "I've been looking for you." He seems like an antagonist but it's unclear.
Fade out and there ends the first 20 minutes of season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. What is Fitz up to? Thoughts?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5's two-hour premiere airs December 1, 2017 at 8pm on ABC.
For more, read CBR's take on the Agents of SHIELD season 5 footage.