Bringing The Television Universe Together
Speaking of Inhumans, it seems that, although the show has yet to be officially cancelled, Marvel is going to attempt to forget that the poorly-received series ever happened. However, there are plenty of other television properties that could be ready to move away from their current platform and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would provide the perfect conduit for these characters to enter the wider MCU.
The Marvel contingent on Netflix is continuing to grow, with new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage due for release this year, but taking into consideration the somewhat muted response to crossover series The Defenders, there is perhaps only so long these characters can continue to exist solely within their own world.
Perhaps the most likely figure to make the switch is Daredevil. While the adventures of Matt Murdock were critically acclaimed in their debut season, review scores took a dip in season two and The Defenders arguably lowered Daredevil's stock further. However, the character is an important element of the Marvel world and the studio won't want the hero's popularity to fade too drastically.
Tellingly, actor Charlie Cox has confirmed that he is contractually obliged to appear as the blind crime-fighter in MCU movies, suggesting that elevating the character from Netflix to the big screen is certainly a possibility. Should Marvel Studios decide to press ahead with this, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may present a suitable bridging point, as throwing Murdock straight into the next Avengers installment may feel somewhat jarring. It's not unrealistic to think that the New York-based hero might've got the authorities' attention by now and S.H.I.E.L.D. may just come calling as a result, with the long-term plan being to introduce the character - and possibly others from the Netflix bunch - onto bigger things.
Phil's Deal With The Devil
While the idea of franchise crossover is inherently exciting, there's a strong chance that any potential sixth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will have to work entirely with what it already has. In such a scenario, perhaps the most obvious and appealing story to follow would be delving deeper into the character of Ghost Rider.
Robbie Reyes' flame-skulled petrolhead was one of the highlights of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4, but the show merely scratched the surface of the mythology behind his character. Moreover, the season finale saw Agent Coulson himself take on the Ghost Rider power, and a conversation between himself and Reyes heavily hinted that Coulson would pay the price for this arrangement further down the line.
Despite its unrelated story and space setting, there is still a chance that this plot point could be wrapped up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s current run but if not, there is certainly a season's worth of material to be gained from the world of demons, other realms and Coulson's personal battle to escape whatever grim fate awaits him. And if season 6 were to be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s final run, what better way to go out than with its main character desperately fighting to avoid death... again.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues January 12th with "Together Or Not At All" on ABC.