Agents of SHIELD Introduces Tech Version Of Doctor Strange Portals?

James Baker as Malachi in Agents of SHIELD and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

Agents of SHIELD season 6 has introduced a new set of villains who use tech with a distinctly magical flavor, reminiscent of Doctor Strange's magic. Currently, Agents of SHIELD's narrative is structured into two distinct stories: a team on Earth investigating the arrival of a man who looks exactly like Phil Coulson, and a team in space attempting to locate and rescue Fitz, who placed himself into a cryogenic freeze back in season 5. Naturally, the intergalactic scenes have allowed for all manner of futuristic, science fiction fun including alien drugs, depressed androids and a far more deadly version of Las Vegas.

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Viewers have also learned a lot more about the Chronicoms. Agents of SHIELD introduced these seemingly all-knowing synthetic beings back in season 5 and during Leopold Fitz's adventures in Outer Space, he's been accompanied by a (mostly) faithful Chronicom companion, Enoch. Season 6, however, has cracked the lid wide open on the Chronicom race, as the species sent a team of Hunters after Fitz, hoping to capture him and learn the secrets of time travel so that they might save their home planet - just like how the SHIELD team saved Earth last season.

Related: Agents Of SHIELD Is Finally Bringing A Secret Invasion To The MCU

The Chronicom Hunters are formidable opponents, with their augmented bodies allowing for superhuman physical feats, and the race also boast an impressive arsenal of advanced technology, even by Agents of SHIELD's standards. One item first used by Malachi, the Hunter who ultimately succeeds in capturing Fitz, is a device capable of instant long-range teleportation. The user tosses their machine onto the ground and a circular orange portal is created, enveloping anyone who stands within its rings and whisking them instantly to a faraway destination.

This isn't the first time circular, orange portals have been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as this has (quite understandably) overtaken the car as Doctor Strange's preferred mode of transport. Strange and his fellow mystic arts practitioners harness magic as a means of power and Strange's abilities include using an item called a Sling Ring to create portals in space, facilitating travel over great distances.

As far the audience knows at present, there is no connection between the Chronicom portal machines and Sling Rings, but there are noticeable consistencies between the two. Both devices generate circles of the same shade of orange, with the portal itself taking form within the circle's inner, and it could be theorized that there is a reason behind those similarities. As a species, the Chronicoms are supremely intelligent, technologically superior and, more importantly, primarily function to "watch" over the galaxy. Agents of SHIELD has already established that the Chronicoms observe the Earth and other planets, and therefore it's entirely plausible that they would know about the mystic arts.

After seeing the likes of Doctor Strange and the Ancient One zip through space using these chunky rings, the Chronicoms may have used their advanced knowledge to replicate the power using only technology - without any requirement for the user to be proficient in sorcery. This would explain why, just as Doctor Strange would select a portal's destination via pure thought, the Chronicoms don't appear to manually calibrate their devices before jumping inside and disappearing. If they had managed to harness magic within technology, it would make sense that the Chronicoms are picking their own locations using the same method.

In previous seasons, there has been a close connection between Agents of SHIELD and the MCU movies, with characters such as Nick Fury and Lady Sif appearing, and storylines being developed from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Recently, however, the ABC series has drifted apart from the MCU, with Thanos' snap being ignored entirely so far. Consequently, it's likely that there won't be any further developments regarding whether Doctor Strange inspired the Chronicoms' technology, but it would certainly be interesting to find out whether the design similarities were purely coincidental or an intentional nod towards a potential connection to the wider MCU.

More: Agents Of SHIELD Is Setting Up The Framework As A Villain For Season 7

Agents of SHIELD season 6 airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC.

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