Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. aims to re-invent itself with its forthcoming season 3, much as did between its first and second seasons. The Marvel Studios/ABC TV show will expand the mythology of Inhumans - super-powered human/Kree individuals that the series incorporated during the back-half of season 2 - while introducing a task force known as the 'Secret Warriors' (inspired by the Marvel comic book team of the same name), headed by Daisy Johnson/Quake, formerly known as Skye (Chloe Bennet).
The AoS season 3 synopsis also establishes that S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his agents (Daisy included) will be opposed by two dangerous enemies: the revived Hydra, with Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) now the leader of the insidious terrorist organization, and the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU), a group that threatens Coulson and Daisy's efforts to maintain stability in this new world of humans and Inhumans alike.
AoS executive producer Jeff Bell spoke to TVLine about the show's impending season 3, saying that the emergence of more Inhumans and the ATCU (not to mention, the return of Hydra) forces the members of S.H.I.E.L.D. to leave behind their 'Civil War' from season 2 and band together:
"These 'aliens' are popping up all over the world, without anybody to guide them, so there's a lot of fear and paranoia. [The ATCU] really are against us, which forces our team to come together, whereas we were splintered last season."
It's not clear if ATCU has any basis in the Marvel Comics Universe or if this organization was created solely for AoS, though its ranks will include at least one familiar face to comic book readers. That would be Lash (ex-National Football League player Matthew Willig), an Inhuman who - after he receives 'the gift of Terrigenesis' - hunts down other Inhumans who have transformed, to judge if they are worthy of their 'gifts' or not. It would appear that Lash is going to be on a similar quest during AoS season 3; his outlook towards humanity will no doubt provide plenty of material for conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secret Warriors (while any loyalty he has to the ATCU is "ambiguous," as the AoS synopsis phrases it).
Other points touched upon by Bell, with respect to AoS season 3 include the following:
- The mystery of what happened to Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) after she was swallowed by the Kree Stone in the AoS season 2 finale post-credits scene will be explained, with Bell simply teasing that the answer is "fun stuff."
- Ward will evolve from the confused, allegiance-shifting, ex-agent he was in season 2 ("a vessel of somebody else's wrath," as Bell puts it) into a formidable baddie himself.
- Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) will be off spending time with ex-husband Andrew (Blair Underwood) when season 3 begins, but any rumors of her having a smaller role on AoS this season are an "exaggeration," says Bell.
The splintering and rebirth of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a global policing force of the MCU post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the main subject of both AoS season 1 and season 2, so it should be refreshing to watch Coulson, Daisy, and their forces get to focus on making the (increasingly dangerous) world a safer place, rather than having to fight amongst themselves. Similarly, after two seasons of significant development, characters like Skye/Daisy and Grant Ward have come miles from the two-dimensional archetypes they were when AoS began - something that will make their difficult choices and actions all the more compelling to watch in season 3, as the ATCU enters the equation.
AoS isn't done evolving yet, either; S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Mockingbird/Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) will be starring in their own ABC TV show pilot called Marvel's Most Wanted, sometime in the foreseeable future. Bell has said the setup for that spinoff shall come "down the road" on AoS season 3. That suggests dramatic developments are on the horizon, given how essential Bobbi and Lance currently are to not just Coulson's team, but AoS' success as a show in general; the spinoff's title alone seems to foreshadow big changes lie ahead for the agent couple.
In the meantime, the show will better reflect the impressive growth it underwent during season 2. End result: something that resembles a blend of X-Men and espionage/spy action (set against the backdrop of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), in the episodes that lie ahead. Sounds cool, no?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC. Agent Carter season 2 is expected to air during the mid-season break in early 2016.