The Avengers writer-director and architect for "Phase 2" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joss Whedon finished shooting the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series pilot last week. Once editing is done, the executives at ABC will have a look and decide whether or not to give the show a full order (though, odds are in its favor).
In the meantime, we have more insight from Whedon about what everyone should expect from his Marvel show, including how it stands apart from what else is available on television (in the action department, anyway) and how it overlaps with the larger MCU - specifically, in terms of movie characters crossing-over.
ABC President Paul Lee has spoken in the past about S.H.I.E.L.D., generating hype for a show that will "bring the whole family around it" - by appealing to both men and women, going across the age bracket. Whedon reinforced that idea while speaking with TVLine at the 2013 Steamy Awards, by emphasizing the content and optimistic worldview of the show.
“I’m excited about the show because it’s a very hopeful show... It’s not about murder, and it’s not about crime, and it’s not people looking into their own belly buttons. It’s about people who are trying to help each other, and that’s one of the things I loved about comic books. They had costumes and the villains were cool [but] they stood for something, and I like doing a show that does that.”
The main cast features Chloe Bennet (Nashville), Iain De Caestecker (The Fades), Elizabeth Henstridge (Hollyoaks), Ming-Na Wen (Eureka) and Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln) as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, who are expected to interact like a family on the series, similar to the characters from Whedon's TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. How they go about protecting the world in a post-Avengers setting remains to be seen, but Whedon assures that:
“We’re trying very hard to be true to [Marvel's] ethos and also to the structure of their universe... So it is definitely a Marvel show.”
As for MCU crossovers, well, that's a bit trickier. The cast of Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D. show includes Clark Gregg returning as Agent Phil Coulson (the explanation for him still being alive is currently under-wraps), but there's been nothing official to report about Samuel L. Jackson appearing as Nick Fury. Similarly, although Whedon is not ruling out the possibility of superheroes in the MCU showing up eventually, that's not going to happen in the foreseeable future.
That said, Whedon says to expect “not a ton” of familiar faces from the Marvel-verse, though “there’s a little bit of talk of that” for any possible future the project has in primetime. “Right now, I want to involve people in the characters that we’ve created for the show,” Whedon said, “and then we’ll worry about [the other stuff].”
Lastly, while Cobie Smulders has confirmed "definite talks" about her reprising Agent Maria Hill and insisted her commitments to How I Met Your Mother aren't much of an issue, Whedon is saying her overall schedule - which includes a handful of movie projects, including Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier - will be restrictive “but if we can get a hold of her anytime, we will.”
S.H.I.E.L.D. remains on-course to debut in the Fall 2013 television season.