Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 should continue in the show's recent cosmic vein. S.H.I.E.L.D. was recently renewed for an abbreviated sixth season, which will air in summer 2019, pushing the premiere back until after Avengers 4 hits theaters in May next year.
It's important to understand that, in the aftermath of Avengers 4, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be entering a whole new period - one where Marvel visionary Kevin Feige has suggested the studio may be abandoning its traditional phased approach altogether. The first post-Phase 3 movie is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and that was a deliberate choice on Marvel's part. As Feige asked, "What better person to hold your hand and lead you into the next incarnation of the MCU, in a grounded, realistic manner, than Peter Parker?" Now, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be entering the post-Phase 3 era as well, albeit on the small screen.
The showrunners of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. deliberately designed the season finale so it could serve as a close to the entire series. But in order to get a renewal, they clearly had a strong pitch for a sixth season, one that ABC decided to green light. And while the agents have had plenty of exciting Earthbound adventures, the next season should really continue to explore the cosmos.
- This Page: Why Space is the Best Place for S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Page 2: How Could Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Go Cosmic?
The Future of the MCU is in Space
Until this year's Avengers: Infinity War, the cosmic and Earth-bound sides of the MCU had existed in a degree of isolation. Now, they've been brought together in a head-on collision, and the MCU will never be the same again. James Gunn is currently working on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will release in 2020, and he's stressed that this film "will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It's going to really expand the cosmic universe." Gunn is an important figure in Marvel Studios, and he's working closely with Kevin Feige to establish "the next iteration of cosmic characters." The scripts are already in the works, with rumblings about both The Eternals and Nova.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began as a tie-in TV series, with the first two seasons featuring explicit tie-ins to Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and most notably Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Recent seasons have dialed back on the tie-ins, though, instead opting for a thematic link. When Marvel Studios introduced magic in Doctor Strange, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featured Ghost Rider. In the build-up to Avengers: Infinity War, S.H.I.E.L.D. tackled a time-travel plot involving an alien Confederacy.
Given the future of the MCU clearly involves the cosmic, it would be very much appropriate for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to stay in space. That would allow the series to continue feeling as though it's loosely connected to the movies, existing within the same world.
The Mythology of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may exist as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but over the last five seasons the show has built its own distinctive mythology. All that really began back in season 2, when the series introduced into the Inhumans into the MCU, and since then the series has reinterpreted Hydra's history, added Kree Monoliths and principles of spacetime into the mix, and even introduced a new incarnation of Ghost Rider. Every season has built on what was established in the ones before, and the overall direction has been to send S.H.I.E.L.D. into space. Just look at the show's narrative thrust:
- Season 1 lays the foundation for everything that will follow, setting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. against the backdrop of a world that's just discovered aliens and super-soldiers exist.
- Season 2 reveals ancient Kree experiments, the Inhumans, and ultimately releases Terrigen into the world's water supply. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team even wind up fighting a Kree at one point.
- Season 3 dove into the cosmic, with Simmons stranded on the alien world of Maveth. By the end of the season, the Inhuman being known as Hive had launched a terrifying attempt to transform the world's humans into Alpha Primitives. As part of that plan, he even drew the Kree back to Earth. The episode "Spacetime" established the show's "laws" of time-travel
- Season 4 saw S.H.I.E.L.D. deal with inter-dimensional energy unleashed through the Darkhold.
- Season 5 sent the S.H.I.E.L.D. team into a dystopian future; returned to the present, they wound up dealing with an alien Confederacy.
Laid out like that, it's easy to see the pattern: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become increasingly cosmic in scope over the course of the last five seasons. That needs to continue.