With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 moved to a Friday timeslot and reports that Disney forced a renewal from ABC, we break down whether this is the last season of the Marvel TV series. Prior to ABC renewing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for season 5, there was a great deal of speculation about whether the network would actually give the show another season. Months after the renewal was announced, it was reported that Marvel parent company, Disney, stepped in and saved Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from cancellation, pulling rank on ABC and forcing a renewal. Though there are plenty of reasons Disney saved Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's likely strong ratings weren't one of them since the show never matched its record-breaking series premiere.
Now that the show has returned, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kicking off season 5 with a major twist that effectively reboots the series - or, at least, sets in motion a storyline unlike any the series has tackled before, one that's separate from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has set the stage for a season that could be better than all its previous seasons, this may be the show's last hurrah. The fifth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be the show's final season.
As of now, we don't know for sure either way whether ABC will renew Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a sixth outing - or if Disney will step in again to save the Marvel TV series, though it seems unlikely the Mouse House would play that card twice. That said, considering ABC likely would have cancelled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after season 4 if Disney hadn't stepped in, and the network moved the Marvel TV show to a Friday night timeslot, it seems incredibly unlikely the series will get another season.
In terms of the numbers, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 premiere scored a 1.1 demo rating, with 3.4 million live viewers - though the season 4 premiere ratings increased when the Live+3 numbers were calculated, with the episode scoring a 2.0 with 5.549 million viewers. However, since the show moved from its Tuesday 10pm timeslot to Friday at 8pm for the season 5 premiere (the show will air at 9pm on Fridays for the remainder of this season), the ratings dropped dramatically. According to Deadline, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 premiere scored a 0.7 demo rating and 2.6 million viewers. Of course, it's possible those numbers will jump when the Live+3 ratings are calculated, but for now, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s future on ABC looks bleak.
Considering the signs, it's likely season 5 will be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s last, which may explain why the show is going bigger with its storyline than ever before. Even Mack states in the season 5 premiere, "[Space is] the one thing we haven't done yet." Given what happened behind the scenes of the show's season 5 renewal, it's possible the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writer's room already knows this will be their final season and are planning accordingly - or, at least, that it's very likely to be their last. As such, they may be pulling out all the stops to give fans a truly exciting and compelling adventure this year.
Of course, fans of the series are no doubt hoping ABC picks up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for season 6, and if the show manages to garner ratings comparable to season 4 despite its change in timeslot, it's possible the Marvel TV series does get a renewal. It's still too early to say for certain whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 is the show's last, but the signs aren't exactly hopeful. Still, fans can keep hoping - and, if nothing else, Disney is launching a streaming service in 2019, which may offer Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a platform to continue beyond its ABC run.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 airs Fridays at 9pm on ABC.