Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was probably THE most talked about freshman TV series of 2013 - but a lot of that talk wasn't the good kind. After a turbulent first half, AoS managed to get a new lease on life thanks to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and gained back some of the fan trust it had squandered so quickly, so early on in the game.
That leaves Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 with the task of keeping a good thing going and not backsliding into the stumbles of season 1. In order to do that, the showrunners are pulling out all the stops, throwing new characters - and some familiar faces from around the Marvel Universe - into the mix.
We've already heard reports that Marvel characters Mockingbird, Lance Hunter and Absorbing Man, are joining the mix - along with new characters like Agent Isabelle Hartley (Lucy Lawless), Bakshi (Simon Kassianides), and a "Doctor" who may be Skye's father (Kyle MacLachlan). But there's also a group that fans of the Captain America movies may recognize...
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That's Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) and The Howling Commandos in the photos above; Atwell has already been confirmed for the season 2 premiere, which is almost certainly when we'll see Cap's WWII combat squad, as well.
The Agent Carter spinoff series is coming in January, so it makes sense for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to start laying down connective threads between the two shows; Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt) is also the descendant of Howling Commando Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), creating a solid connection between Coulson's squad and early days of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s formation. Finally, given what we know about Peggy Carter's fate in Winter Soldier, a flashback cameo is pretty much the only way the AoS showrunners CAN go.
Speaking of the showrunners - Jed Whedon (Joss's brother) and Maurissa Tancharoen - they had a lot to say about what kind of connective tissue may exist in the future of the MCU - especially in regards to iconic characters like Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki):
Tancharoen: Well, we're very excited to have the beloved character, Mockingbird, on the show. Adrianne Palicki was a perfect fit for the role. She was someone we pictured from the beginning. It's thrilling to have a nice, sort of skilled, sexy spy in the mix. And I think with the handful of characters that we have added to the show, it's just to illustrate what the new S.H.I.E.L.D. may look like. Coulson is operating with limited resources, so he has to bring people into the fold. So it may feel like we're expanding a lot, but really, the people that you will see are basically the people we have at our disposal.
Whedon: Well, obviously, we all exist in one universe, and if we didn't, we could have any character we wanted. We could kill them and do what we wanted with them. It is nice that we're all in one universe, so when we get something, it does have weight. It does exist in the Cinematic Universe and we're in constant communication with features, and there's a database of what they're using, what they plan to use, what we can and can't use. We just try to carve out our little spot, and Mockingbird's a good example of someone who we can really lean on as a major character.
Tancharoen: Right. And in the Marvel Universe everything is fluid. The show was basically born out of what has been already established in the Cinematic Universe, so as much as we have benefitted from having characters that you've seen in the film[s] appear on our show, there is always a possibility for the reverse. So we do think that all our characters have potential to crossover at some point and there's always that possibility, and Mockingbird is a nice, exciting new character for us to have that does have crossover potential.
For more, check out their full interview on CBR.
It's already been rumored that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be appearing in Avengers 2, so what Tancharoen and Whedon are alluding to is more than just a possibility; the crossover avenue will likely run in BOTH directions; movie characters on the TV shows, TV characters appearing in the movies.
It's not a big surprise to hear any of this; the MCU is a shared universe, after all, and all sides of it are connected. Even though Tancharoen and Whedon indicate that the Guardians of the Galaxy connections to AoS are thin right now, you can bet that even that wide-divide is being sewn together with strategic threads (see: Blue Man). One day, we'll probably all look back and marvel at how it all came together.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two begins with “Shadows”, which airs on ABC on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET.
Agent Carter debuts on ABC in January 2015.