Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't technically a part of Phase 2 for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given that the series will air on ABC - rather than screening at your local theater - starting in Fall 2013. Nonetheless, Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show may pave the way for additional Marvel ventures on the small screen in the future, if it proves to be a large-enough success. Who knows, maybe even Guillermo del Toro's defunct Incredible Hulk TV show will be resurrected - if things work out, that is (but don't hold your breath).
On that note: Whedon's been preoccupied with promoting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. of late, during the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour. While the Avengers writer/director and the bigger-name S.H.I.E.L.D. cast members mostly just restated what they've said in previous interviews from the past year, the former (again) touched on one of the more interesting subjects that reporters keep asking him about: will Earth's Mightiest Heroes be showing up at all, in the show's future?
The focus in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be regular humans (read: no super-powers) - who are employed by the eponymous organization - as portrayed by people like Ming-Na Wen (SGU Stargate Universe), Ian De Caestecker (How to Catch a Monster), Chloe Bennet (Nashville) - and, of course, the formerly presumed-dead Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Hence, it's appropriate that the down-to-Earth S.H.I.E.L.D. company men and women get to share the newly-unveiled poster together.
Check out the full Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. poster below (via EW):
[Click for Full-Sized Version]
The "A New TV Series" tagline here is presumably to help avoid creating any confusion, for those who aren't up to speed on what Marvel projects are (and are not) part of the movie slate for Phase 2. It's nowhere near as self-explanatory as the previous tagline ("Not All Heroes Are Super"), which alluded to the very issue that Whedon has said will be examined in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "What are the rest of us worth when there are people that are so extraordinary?"
As part of the TCA promotion (via IGN), Whedon addressed the possible inclusion of Avengers cast members on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
"I'm not going to go begging, and I'm not going to use up favors I need for The Avengers 2. As I say, the DNA of the show is the show. Those guys would be a delightful bonus, but we're not building our arcs around them."
This gels with previous claims made by Whedon: that although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is aiming to provide optimistic and uplifting (but also intelligent and thoughtful) answers to the questions it raises, MCU crossovers will not be a core ingredient for his storytelling approach. Having said that, it's already been acknowledged that people like Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark) and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) are game to make cameos on the series - assuming they can find time in their workaholic schedules, that is.
Fortunately, Whedon's game plan for Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. will make it easy for Avengers cast members to come and go as they please (assuming they can find the time to show up at all):
"The good thing about the ['Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'] universe is that [The Avengers are] superstars in that universe. So if they showed up, if they overbalanced it slightly, that would actually make sense. That's how people would react to them in the universe of the show, so I don't think that's problem. I do think it's a problem if you have them too regularly and people are just wondering, 'When do I get to see a movie star again?' Instead of concentrating on these guys."
Fingers crossed, whenever (or, rather, if) any Avengers show up during an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., their presence will be organic and beneficiary to that episode's self-contained storyline and the over-arching proceedings of the show. In the meantime, Whedon's show will acknowledge that the "superstars in that universe" have bigger fish to fry most of the time - lest, viewers start to wonder about why Thor and Captain America don't led a helping hand more often.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 @8pm on ABC.