Agents of SHIELD season 7 has all the makings of being Marvel's version of DC's Legends of Tomorrow - and that's a good thing. The flagship Marvel TV series just wrapped up season 6 with a huge shocker: in order to fight off the takeover of Earth by the alien Chronicoms, SHIELD will have to time travel throughout its own history. This premise for Agents of SHIELD's final season is one that is definitely familiar to superhero fans since that's essentially what Legends of Tomorrow is all about.
Legends of Tomorrow was the second Arrowverse spinoff that began in 2015 (Supergirl was on CBS and wouldn't officially join The CW's Arrowverse until season 2). Because there were already enough superhero characters populating Arrow and The Flash, popular ones like Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Ray Palmer (The Atom), Heatwave (Dominic Purcell), and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) were originally assembled by Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to stop the time-traveling villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Legends of Tomorrow was a problematic series at the start but it truly found its niche when it openly embraced its outright weirdness. Now heading into season 5, many fans feel Legends of Tomorrow has become the best show in the Arrowverse. However, even within that shared universe, the Legends remain outlier weirdos.
Turning Agents of SHIELD into Marvel's version of Legends of Tomorrow makes sense. Agents of SHIELD season 5 already dove headlong into time travel when Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team were sent to the apocalyptic future of 2091. By the end of Agents of SHIELD season 6, Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) unveiled the newly-improved Zephyr-One, which has been converted into a time ship thanks to a perfected ShawDrive. This means SHIELD now has a vehicle equal to Legends of Tomorrow's Waverider and, like the past and future of the Arrowverse is wide open for the Legends to explore, SHIELD can now leap anywhere and anywhen in their Marvel timeline to stop the Chronicoms.
Ironically, Agents of SHIELD and Legends of Tomorrow already had a great deal in common. Both series are spinoffs but they are also essentially the bastard stepchildren who are not necessarily part of the mainline events of their respective superhero universes. Neither was invited to the big crossover events of the past year; the Legends didn't take part in Elseworlds while SHIELD hasn't crossed over with the movies nor The Defenders. Of course, a big difference is the Legends of Tomorrow are still actively a part of the Arrowverse and they will be part of this year's crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Conversely, Agents of SHIELD has never been acknowledged by anything else in the MCU (besides Agent Carter) and that will probably remain the case when the series wraps next summer.
Since Agents of SHIELD is going head-on into Legends of Tomorrow's time travel territory, hopefully this will let Marvel's series embrace their own inherent weirdness. After all, Agents of SHIELD has only one season left and, at this point, they should be freed up so that anything goes. This isn't to say that SHIELD should have their own giant blue furry Beebo, Bollywood musical numbers, or that they should save Barack Obama from a homicidal talking gorilla like the Legends have, but Agents of SHIELD can certainly get weird. One of the best episodes of season 6 was "Fear and Loathing on the Planet Kitson" where Fitz (Iain De Caestacker) and Enoch (Joel Stoffer) were stranded on a seedy gambling planet while Simmons and Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) tripped out on alien narcotics. Speaking of weird, there was the whole Sarge-is-really-Coulson story that ended with a brand new Life Model Decoy of Phil Coulson joining the team.
Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 7 has nothing left to lose, there's no better show for them to emulate than Legends of Tomorrow to give fans one last unforgettable run of episodes as a final farewell.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 7 arrives summer 2020 on ABC.