The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 first look photo reveals Mack (Henry Simmons) will step up to be the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director, filling the hole left by the departure of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) at the end of season 5.
It doesn't look like Coulson will return any time soon (unless you count Gregg as an episode director) - the last we saw of the former director, he was vacationing in Tahiti with Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) to relax while waiting for his impending doom. Coulson was previously replaced in season 4 by Jeffrey Mace (Jason O'Mara), before his heroic death in the Framework near the end of the season. Mack seems to be the most qualified of the team to take on the role - despite his beginnings in the show as a mechanic, his grounded and empathetic nature allowed for him to be the temporary director during a few episodes of season 3.
TVLine released the photo, which marks fans' first look at season 6, and reports Mack will be in charge of a more "robust" S.H.I.E.L.D. team after operating with scraps in a skeleton crew during the second half of season 5. Check out the photo below.
Promoting from within has the advantage of Mack's familiarity and chemistry with his fellow team members, with Simmons telling TVLine, "Personally, I love the challenge of being the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Mack has worked side-by-side with the people he now leads, and that works to his advantage — he’s one of them." On the other hand, that very empathy and grounded nature could be his undoing, with Simmons adding, "But the one thing that can hinder Mack’s ability to lead is his reluctance to put the people he loves in the line of danger. As a result, this may lead to Mack’s toughest decision as director. What sacrifices will be made?"
One advantage that Mack has is his contrarian view on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s study of the supernatural and extraterrestrial, with Mack being quite averse to such elements. It was that attitude that led Coulson to put Mack in charge of such extraterrestrial objects under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s observation back in season 2. On the other hand, this mindset has put Mack at odds with Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet), who favored more aggressive methods in season 3, to Mack's disdain. Additionally, Mack is in a romantic relationship with team member Yo-Yo Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), which may add an unstable element to Mack's leadership ability. It will be curious to see if Mack will have to contend with the events of Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, as Marvel TV has mostly ignored it up to this point.
Whatever the case, fans of the popular show will have to wait a long while to see how Mack will fair as the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fans can rest easy knowing that the show has a future, unlike recently canceled shows like Daredevil on Netflix - S.H.I.E.L.D. was renewed for a seventh season by ABC. Until then, MCU followers can enjoy seeing a younger Phil Coulson in Captain Marvel, which will have a new trailer tonight.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 will air on ABC starting July of 2019.