Marvel Studios continued its box office success in theaters this year, with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World having accumulated over $1.8 billion worldwide between them (despite an observable division in fans' opinions of the films). Yet the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series hasn't become an equally massive ratings success. Of course, as much as we harangue the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, it's worth remembering back to two years ago - before Joss Whedon's The Avengers made all these "Phase 2" ventures possible - to realize just how much Marvel's shared universe experiment has evolved since then.
Jeph Loeb, the Head of Marvel's TV division, recently indicated that more Marvel comic book characters shall appear on future Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes, and today we have additional confirmation that this will happen.
The 'special guest star' in question is supervillain Blizzard - specially, the Donnie Gill version of the character. In the comics, Donnie is a professional thug (if also an under-achieving criminal who is prone to being manipulated) hired by Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwel in Iron Man 2) and given a cryogenic suit to carry our his evil deeds. For the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, Dylan Minnette (Labor Day) will tackle the Donnie Gill in the upcoming 12th episode, "Seeds."
Here is the official description for the "Seeds" episode:
"Coulson and May uncover startling information about Skye’s past, while the team is swept into a storm at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy."
With the MCU's version of Hammer having been locked away since the conclusion to the second Iron Man film, we don't anticipate Rockwell making a cameo; that doesn't rule out the Blizzard suit being a piece of Hammer Industries' hardware that was leaked out to the public, though. Regardless of the backstory for Gill, it sounds as though this supervillain will only have tenuous connections to the large Marvel universe at best (see: the flimsy connection between Thor: The Dark World and the Asgardian staff featured in "The Well"); though, Blizzard could at least have ties to the shared universe, and not be a standalone villain, a la the show's version of Graviton (introduced in "The Asset").
The whole shared universe doesn't come without its drawbacks, as the ongoing attempts to link Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the Marvel Studios' movies demonstrate. Indeed, the issue of how to fit all these disparate properties together (with regard to their content) was something that led Scarlett Johansson - who plays Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the MCU - to presume that the first Avengers movies was an ill-advised project, ahead of time.
The actress confessed as much, during a recent interview with Total Film (via CBM):
“The idea of ['The Avengers' movie] is ridiculous! When they told me that was the next step, I said, 'Oh, no! That is a disaster! You saw Thor, you saw Captain America, you saw Iron Man - those things don't go together!'”
Of course, what connects these Marvel movies - be it Shane Black's subversive Iron Man 3 or the Thor sequel by way of a Star Wars prequel - is the light-hearted and optimistic tone, which shall also link together the next two installments - the political-thriller Captain America: The Winter Soldier and kooky intergalactic adventure Guardians of the Galaxy - despite their significant differences. That said: it's easier to argue that these properties fit together, with the benefit of hindsight.
As for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Johansson admitted to Total Film that "[We the cast are] so out of the loop. I'm expecting delivery of the script any day now. When it comes you can guarantee it'll be read in 25 minutes.” That should happen sooner than later, with the Avengers sequel due to begin filming by the first third of 2014.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns with episode 11, "The Magical Place", on ABC on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters on May 1st, 2015.
Source: Total Film [via CBM]