The announcement back in October that Clark Gregg would be reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson for the ABC pilot Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. raised a significant amount of questions. After appearing in the films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Thor, Agent Coulson died in last summer's mega-blockbuster motion picture The Avengers, uniting the superhero squad and inspiring them to victory.
Although many have speculated that the potential television series would serve as a prequel to The Avengers, ABC president Paul Lee has denied that claim and stated that S.H.I.E.L.D. will occur in a post-Avengers world. "There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe," Lee said during the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York."
Elaborating on his answer, the ABC exec pointed out that S.H.I.E.L.D. will have to build its own mythology without infringing upon the cinematic universe. "This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They're following their own particular stories," Lee noted. "There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it's part of the world, but we're going to be very, very careful that we don't tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that's what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He's built a world for us."
While it seems like a foregone conclusion, Lee stressed that S.H.I.E.L.D. has yet to officially be picked up as a series and will begin filming the pilot next week. "It's the early days. We don't know if it's going to be everything we hope it's going to be," he said. "We know the script is great. That's all we know at this point. And we know Joss is the best!"
The CW's Arrow has successfully introduced lesser-known characters from DC Comics lore who have yet to make the transition to the big screen. Could S.H.I.E.L.D. serve a similar function for Marvel? "I think if we're lucky enough to have a great series, we're obviously having fun with that," Lee responded. "At this point though, we have a number of characters at the heart of the script who are real characters, who are the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the first task is to make those guys great and relatable and everything that a great show needs. Beyond that, fingers crossed!"
Speaking to MTV this week, series creator and Avengers director Joss Whedon compared the scale of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the big-budget Marvel films. "You've got to bring a bit of spectacle to it. It's got to be bigger than your average cop show. But at the end of the day, it's about the peripheral people," insisted the writer/executive producer. "It's about the people on the edges of the grand adventures. The whole point of the show is that even with all these big things, the little things matter. So it's about people who don't have super powers. There will be some people with powers, there will be FX, there will be the spectacle of science-fiction storytelling, but all played on a very human, small level. That's the appeal of the thing."
Sounds good to me. Are you signing up for S.H.I.E.L.D.?