It's safe to say the consensus right now is that ABC's Agent Coulson-resurrecting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently going stronger than ever before. With exciting developments like the rebirth of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rise of Inhumans, the show has gone from reacting to Marvel Studios' film releases to laying the groundwork for future releases years ahead of their big-screen debut.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two finale raised just as many questions as it resolved, and it looks like the ABC series is gearing up for big changes when it returns for season three. We've already heard that Luke Mitchell - who played an Inhuman named Lincoln in the second half of season two - will be bumped up to a series regular next year, and now we have confirmation that another familiar face will likewise have a larger role to play.
Marvel has announced that Henry Simmons has also been promoted to a series regular for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three. The actor joined the show in season two, where he played Mack - a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who (along with Adrianne Palicki's Bobbi Morse) worked with a splinter faction of the organization behind Coulson's back. The character has been continually mistrustful (and with good reason) of the alien technology S.H.I.E.L.D. has been meddling with, and the season two finale saw Coulson putting him in charge of supervising the organization's storehouse of unexplainable objects.
It's been well-documented that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. nearly received a spinoff that would have centered on Morse and Nick Blood's Hunter. However, the unsung hero of their storyline has undoubtedly been Mack, as his character was just as integral to the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." subplot as those two. The fact that the proposed show never happened is a testament to the strength of these three season two newcomers and the desire to keep actors like Simmons - who was previously a series regular on NYPD Blue and Shark - as closely involved in the show's current momentum as possible.
Despite reports that the film and television divisons of Marvel Studios are at odds, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is arguably in the best place it's ever been, and performers like Simmons are a big part of the reason. It truly does appear that showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen have hit their stride and are running at full speed now. In other words, all signs are pointing to even higher highs for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three will air on ABC in Fall 2015.