Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a healthy mix of characters originally created for the screen and characters adapted from comics. Phil Coulson, for example, was created for the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before spinning out into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and appearing in comics. Though Skye appeared to be an original screen character, she was actually an adaptation of Marvel comics’ Daisy Johnson. Agents May, Ward, Fitz, and Simmons debuted in the pilot episode as creations for the show, but all made their way into comics.
Leopold Fitz has been a mainstay in the series since it premiered, but also featured as a main character in both S.H.I.E.L.D. centric comics released since the television show debuted. Because the comics were written independently of the TV series, the stories featured have no bearing on the plot of the show. There are also quite a few differences compared to the character TV fans love.
10 Changed: Fitz Romanced Agent May
In the television series, Fitz always had his heart set on Simmons. His partner in the lab eventually became his girlfriend in the third season. They later married in the fifth. In the comics, however, Fitz had his eyes on a different teammate.
Fitz and May frequently sparred together in the comics. During their sparring sessions is when Fitz first began hitting on her. He pursued a romantic relationship when they were paired up for missions. It was quite a big change for TV fans reading the comics.
9 The Same: He’s A Level Five Agent
When Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. first premiered, the different levels of the agency were an important part of how information was dispersed. The higher level the agent, the more information they had access to. When Grant Ward was introduced, he was Level 6, but joining Coulson’s team promoted him to Level 7. The same wasn’t true for Fitz and Simmons. They were introduced as Level 5 agents.
When Fitz and Simmons made their debut in the 2015 S.H.I.E.L.D. comic book, the same was true. Fitz introduced them as a gadgeteer (Fitz) and a xenobiologist (Simmons), as well as Level 5 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to their allies. The classification changed over time in the show, but not in the short comic book series.
8 Changed: He Was A Triple Agent
The television series featured a lot of undercover work. Ward was a Hydra operative within S.H.I.E.L.D. in season one while Simmons was a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative within Hydra in season two. Fitz masqueraded as a space marauder in season five. The comic series, however, saw him as a triple agent.
Fitz worked to uncover a traitor within the government under Coulson’s orders. To do that, he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who “flipped” to help a military official get intelligence they weren’t supposed to have. Fitz, however, didn’t report his findings back to S.H.I.E.L.D., but solely to Coulson, who he was spying for independently of the agency. He got caught as a traitor by Elektra and was pursued, though eventually the truth came out.
7 The Same: His Loyalty Is To Coulson
One thing MCU fans have learned about Phil Coulson is that he inspires staunch loyalty. Even S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who want to leave the agency completely have stayed out of a sense of loyalty to Coulson and the way he helps people. Fitz’s loyalty to Coulson, like the rest of the team, has meant that he’s broken S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol numerous times to do the right thing. That’s true on the screen as well as the page.
When Fitz was ousted from S.H.I.E.L.D. in the show, he met up with disgraced Director Coulson and Agent Hunter to continue their work. When he was pursued by Elektra in the comics, he allied with Daisy Johnson and Coulson. Fitz always knows he can count on Coulson, no matter the adaptation.
6 Changed: Fitz Lets People Call Him Leo
Fitz’s full name is Leopold Fitz. Typically, he goes by his last name. In the Framework storyline, Ophelia had a penchant for calling him Leopold while everyone else knew him as The Doctor. He was only addressed as Leo twice in the course of the television series (so far). Once was when Jemma Simmons was “mad” at him, and encouraged him to leave during the S.H.I.E.L.D. schism. The other time was while arguing with Daisy. He clearly doesn’t like it.
That’s not true in the comics. Coulson regularly calls him Leo instead of Fitz. Perhaps it’s simply the perk of being an authority figure in Fitz’s life? After all, Simmons and May still call him Fitz.
5 The Same: He Loves Monkeys
Fitz’s love for monkeys comes from Iain de Caestecker’s love for monkeys. The actor joked in season one about wanting a monkey sidekick for Fitz and it made it into the show’s story. Fitz even has monkey figurines on his desk in early seasons.
That love translates to the comics. Fitz has a punch card he earns from missions. Every time he does a spectacular job in the field, Coulson adds another punch to the card, getting one step closer to Fitz getting a monkey. He also has an artificial intelligence that he works with in the guise of a monkey named H.E.N.R.Y.
4 Changed: He’s Worked With Members Of The Avengers
In the television series, the only Avenger Fitz works with is Coulson. While Coulson wasn’t an enhanced superhero, Nick Fury dubbed him an Avenger when T.A.H.I.T.I. protocol was used to save his life. In the comics, Fitz and his team have been up close and personal with a few Avengers.
He went on missions with Valkyrie, Black Knight, and Scarlet Witch, to name a few. Other team members also worked with Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Ms. Marvel. The first issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. even kicked off with Coulson’s team backing up the entire Avengers roster when they were in a fight!
3 The Same: Fitz And Simmons Are A Team
Fitz and Simmons were presented as a unit in the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series. That’s true for comics too. Together in the lab, finishing one another’s sentences, and working out the properties of strange discoveries, they’re a united front on both the screen and page.
As the series has progressed, they’ve both gone on their own adventures. Just like Fitz leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. temporarily in the TV series and turning “traitor” in the comics, Jemma also went undercover at Hydra in the show, and worked with Deathlok for a while in the comics.
2 Changed: Fitz And Simmons Are Not Romantic
One of the most organic storylines of the television series has been the journey Fitz and Simmons took from friends to romantic partners. It was clear from the start of the show that there was something more between them, even if neither of them knew it. The comics haven’t gone there.
Instead, fans did get one hint that Fitz and Simmons could potentially head that direction if they appear in comics again. In one memorable issue, Fitz teamed up with Howard the Duck to do a little dimension hopping. One of the dimensions he saw featured himself and Simmons in a romantic embrace, which appeared to throw him for a loop.
1 The Same: He’s One Of The Smartest People On The Planet
Fitz has the kind of intelligence that could rival Tony Stark’s. In the MCU, the audience sees Tony regularly inventing new technology or fixing the parts of other people’s technology that didn’t work. Fitz does the same on TV. In fact, they both solved a “time travel problem” in their respective stories. Fitz is also just as smart on the page.
In S.H.I.E.L.D., one story arc featured Dormammu spreading a “virus” to make humanity a mindless horde. He did it by working from the most intelligent of the species down. The first affected were the likes of Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Jemma Simmons, and Leo Fitz, confirming just who the intellectual heavyweights are in Marvel.