Clark Gregg's new character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a combination of several Marvel Comics characters. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows a team of agents in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who deal with unusual cases, including alien threats to Earth. Although Gregg's character, Phil Coulson, initially died in The Avengers film, he was brought back to life with Kree DNA for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.
However, in season 4 of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson takes on the form of Ghost Rider to defeat an artificial intelligence. The presence of Ghost Rider burned through the Kree DNA that previously saved his life, leaving him to die slowly. The team doesn't learn about this until season 5, and although they attempt to save Coulson's life, he ultimately leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. to die peacefully on the island of Tahiti. However, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 trailer clearly showed that Gregg is still a part of the series, but it became clear quickly that his character is not Phil Coulson. In interviews, Gregg has hinted that this is a new mysterious character, but as to who he is exactly is anyone's guess.
In an interview with Collider, Gregg offered a few more details about his new character on the series. The character he is portraying has something to do with several Marvel Comics characters. He said:
“That’s kind of one of the things I think has made the show even stronger is the way they take material and turn it into our own. So this one they really ended up taking some things that will seem familiar to comic book fans, but then really inventing their own new template for this year.”
One thing that fans won't get to see in season 6, though, is any tie-in to the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Although early seasons of the series did have connections to the MCU films, the later seasons have mostly shied away from events happening in the movies. Marvel fans were surprised when season 5 didn't feature anything related to Thanos' snap, which destroyed half of the universe's population. Season 6 will air after the story wraps up in Endgame, leaving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to do their own thing without that hanging over their heads. It might seem weird, as the series is still considered part of the MCU, but as it moves forward, it continues to separate itself from the movies.
For a while, many fans believed that season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be the last, but then it got renewed for two more seasons, suggesting that season 7 could offer its swan song. However, Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb feels that S.H.I.E.L.D. might have many more stories to tell beyond that. Still, it remains to be seen if fans want to watch an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. without Coulson. This season could provide an answer to that when it returns.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 premieres Friday May 10 on ABC.