Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 6 could be an essential tie-in to Avengers: Infinity War. Recent seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have abandoned the explicit tie-ins, but retained thematic ties to the larger MCU. When Doctor Strange introduced sorcery to the MCU, S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced Ghost Rider. Now, in Season 5, the series has taken on a cosmic edge just in time for Infinity War. But should the series be renewed for a sixth season, a far more direct tie-in could greatly benefit the MCU as a whole.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. currently sits in "the bubble," with ABC unsure whether or not renew it. ABC boss Channing Dungey has said she's "cautiously optimistic" about the show's future, but the showrunners clearly aren't so sure. They've deliberately written a potential series ending, but still hope to continue the story. Infinity War - which Jed Whedon has said "opens a new playground" for the series - has the potential to give Marvel a strong pitch for a sixth season.
Marvel could easily take a tip from the comics. The comics typically operate in a cycle of Summer Events, which transform the entire franchise's status quo; the monthlies then explore the ideas set up by the Summer Event. Probably the best example was 2008's Secret Invasion, which ended with Norman Osborn replacing Nick Fury as head of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It opened up a year-long "Dark Reign," in which the world's heroes struggled to deal with this new, adjusted status quo. Infinity War is something like that; it radically changes the MCU's status quo, setting up a new context that really needs to be explored. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could be the perfect tool to do that.
Infinity War's Cliffhanger is too Big
Nothing has ever happened to the MCU like the cliffhanger ending of Infinity War. The scale of it is both horrific and breathtaking. Half of the human race has vanished from existence overnight - and it happened at random. Thanos cares nothing for occupation, wealth, skin color, tribe, language, or gender, meaning the disappearances will have been without rhyme or reason. Some nations will have lost their leaders, some teachers will have watched as their classes disappeared before their eyes, some mothers will have cradled their newborn children as they faded from existence. Planes will have lost their pilots, and dropped from the skies; cars will have crashed, driverless; emergency services will have been left in chaos. Some countries will fall to civil war, with uprisings and acts of attempted genocide. It's impossible to imagine the chaos.
And here's the catch; it's also impossible for Avengers 4 to do justice to that. We know that Thanos's actions will be undone; Marvel is about to start production on a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and both Doctor Strange and Black Panther are both expected to get sequels, too. While the opening scenes of Avengers 4 are sure to give a sense of how the world has changed, the movie will then move on. The scale of Thanos's horrific deed simply can't be realized on the big screen without sidelining the rest of the story.
Compounding this problem is the way the Russo brothers have chosen to tell the story. The stakes may be cosmic in scale, but the Russos excel at character-driven plots. As a result, they only showed the disappearance of characters the viewers already had a connection with - heroes like Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and of course Spider-Man's emotional death. While that worked in terms of creating powerful character moments, it didn't demonstrate the scale of it all. That was left to a brief post-credits scene, one really concerned with setting up Captain Marvel. The Russos have always preferred a fairly tight focus on characters, and there's no reason to expect this to change in Avengers 4. As a result, the films themselves are unlikely to truly demonstrate the magnitude of Thanos's act.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019