As any comic book aficionado (and movie geek, at this point) knows, San Diego Comic-Con is right around the corner. Much of the talk thus far has centered on the upcoming films that will be highlighted at the annual event, but it will also be the closest look yet that fans will have at Marvel's first attempt to bring their interconnected world of larger-than-life heroes to the small screen.
As previously announced, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be the focus of its very own panel presentation at next week's Comic-Con. Co-creator (and Phase Two overseer) Joss Whedon is expected to attend, as will Marvel's Head of Television, Jeph Loeb. However, other details regarding the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot and its accompanying Comic-Con panel remain scarce.
Now Entertainment Weekly has landed a bit more information regarding what fans can expect. As previously discussed, the pilot will NOT reveal the truth behind Agent Coulson's mysterious resurrection. However, it will hint that the full story regarding his death is unbeknownst to even Coulson himself. In fact, S.H.I.E.L.D. (and the series' creators) are actively keeping that secret… for now, at least.
Here's what co-creator Jed Whedon had to say on the matter:
"We can't wait to pull the curtain back on [Coulson's return]. But we're going to take our time."
Considering that much of the buzz surrounding the show has revolved around Clark Gregg's reprisal of the fan favorite character, this approach makes perfect sense. What better way to draw fans than to dangle that lingering mystery throughout the course of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s maiden season? Here's hoping that the eventual reveal is worth all the hype and doesn't suffer from the same kind of underwhelming reveals that frustrated fans of Lost.
The Avengers will likely be the entry point for many viewers, and it seems that the show will stay true to previous reports which declared that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would steer clear of previously established superheroes like Iron Man and Captain America. However, this doesn't mean that the series will attempt to ignore that these characters exist, as some fans feared. Said Jed Whedon:
"We plan on trying to weave in between the films and try to make them more rewarding on both ends. In any of these [episodes], you can always ask: ‘Why don’t they just call Iron Man?’ They are aware of each other, but they do have to have their own lives."
Add to that comment the news that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot will allude to a storyline from a previous Marvel film, and it's becoming more and more apparent that the series will finally answer the mysterious "plot hole" surrounding S.H.I.E.L.D.'s complete absence during the events of Iron Man 3.
From a business standpoint, this is a brilliant move on Marvel's part, as Tony Stark's third solo outing will be hitting DVD and Blu-ray around the time of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s premiere. Plus, it would give the show's creators the chance to set the groundwork for next spring's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Cap continues his work with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Another popular question surrounding the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot has been about the character played by Angel alum J. August Richards. The show's creators have announced that his identity may be revealed at the upcoming Comic-Con panel, lending further credence to the belief that Marvel may be planning to screen the pilot next week.
The studio has said that fans should expect a number of surprises at the event, and the 75-minute panel planned for Comic-Con seems to be too long for a mere Q&A. Gregg and perhaps some other members of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast are probable additions, but Marvel is certainly missing an opportunity to drum up support for the pilot if they don't screen it for hardcore fans.
Do you think Marvel will screen the entire Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot at Comic-Con? How do you hope the show ties in to the Phase Two lineup of films? Sound off in the comments section below.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC in September 2013 on Tuesdays @8pm.