The Promise of Spinoffs
Aside from keeping a steady and stable show around in the face of failing new prospects, the other big reason Disney could be keeping SHIELD around is to furnish spinoffs. That was certainly the idea with Most Wanted, and even Damage Control was first referenced on SHIELD. With four seasons of material, SHIELD is the perfect vehicle to spin out new shows that could take its place or boost its success. And there’s no shortage of characters to use.
We’ve already seen Yo-Yo get a webseries with the show Slingshot, and she could easily be part of a larger show focused on the Secret Warriors and the non-royal Inhumans of the MCU. Even more likely is a show involving Ghost Rider. Robbie Reyes’ debut was met with a strong reception, and fans have been calling for him to get his own series. While Netflix would certainly allow for a darker show, and a potential Thunderbolts spinoff, ABC could be in the market for a supernatural comic book series.
Like The CW has done with Arrow, SHIELD is the perfect incubator for testing new characters and ideas. And while nothing has taken off so far, there are still plenty of opportunities. We recently learned that Marvel is still very interested in comedy and also has plans for an ABC series akin to Jessica Jones. There are a number of possibilities for what that series could be, and it’s not hard to imagine Quake or Yo-Yo leading their own show.
It’s All Connected
The final reason for Disney sticking with SHIELD even in the face of defeat ties into the idea of spinning out new content. But while setting up new shows seems likely, SHIELD can also help bring new concepts into the MCU on the film side. So far, we haven’t seen any TV show referenced in the films, despite the sprawling reach of the narrative in SHIELD and other shows. Still, characters like Coulson and Agent Carter provide a strong bridge to the world of the Avengers. SHIELD also allows Disney and Marvel to more quickly set up ideas that could be run within the films. After all, the Kree first appeared on the show before debuting in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Inhumans arrived even before plans for their movie.
This season on SHIELD, the action is heading to space. That could mean an organization like S.W.O.R.D. is coming to the MCU. While the rights of the group seem to reside with Fox, we broke down the legalities of Marvel using them instead earlier this year. If Marvel have their sights set on SWORD in the movie universe, we could easily see SHIELD stake its claim to keep the group away from Fox.
There’s also the chance that the Skrulls could make their first appearance on TV. It seems like a stretch, but again, the Kree were already rolled out in this way. It’s not hard to imagine the shape-shifting aliens making their presence known on SHIELD before Captain Marvel brings them to the big screen in 2019.
Regardless of the reasoning, Agents of SHIELD will be back sometime this winter after Inhumans wraps. And while it’s easy to see this season as the last one, there’s more and more evidence that ABC and Disney aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to their first Marvel TV show.