The sixth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will premiere summer 2019 on ABC. Ever since the series began, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a wavering property at ABC. While ratings declined after The Avengers hype wore off, the quality of the show continues to improve. That hasn't made it any easier to predict what future - if any - the series will have as it is perennially a bubble show. After plenty of concern over whether this coming week's episode would be the last, the network finally made it official that S.H.I.E.L.D. was renewed for season 6.
The announcement makes the impending season 5 finale easier to take for fans as there is now an assurance this won't be the end. However, there's still plenty of mystery surrounding the next season with the season 5 finale teasing a major death. The next season will also feature just 13 episodes, and it's now official that they won't debut for a while.
EW reports that ABC is holding the shortened sixth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back and will wait to debut it until next summer. While that doesn't come with an exact return date, it does mean that it won't be among the rest of ABC's fall debuts. Instead, S.H.I.E.L.D. will return during the summer of 2019, pushing the premiere until after Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3, 2019.
A late start is nothing new for S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore as this current season didn't launch until December 2017. The late launch was due to Inhumans taking its time slot during the fall, but that wouldn't be a problem this next year as the Inhumans was officially canceled. Considering this season still had a full 22 episode order, the December premiere allowed for the show to take very few breaks along the way. The schedule was especially beneficial this year as S.H.I.E.L.D. dealt with two pods: the first being the space setting and the second being the current fallout.
With S.H.I.E.L.D. returning next summer, holding back the series directly puts the show on a collision course for Marvel Studios' 2019 slate. Captain Marvel comes out in March and will feature a younger version of Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson. If he's still around for the sixth season, the possibility for a bigger crossover than the one S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently having with Avengers: Infinity War is possible. While fans may not like waiting over a year for the return, it may be best for the show as it looks to avoid getting in the way of whatever happens in Avengers 4.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 concludes Friday, May 18 with 'The End' at 9pm on ABC.