Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seen Phil Coulson’s team dealing with an outbreak of Inhumans — humans who are suddenly granted superpowers after exposure to the mysterious Terrigen Crystals. The show’s Inhumans are set up as outsiders or freaks who suddenly find themselves hunted for something they can’t control. Sound familiar? It should, to any Marvel fan; the show’s use of Inhumans heavily resembles the way mutants (such as the X-Men) have been portrayed throughout Marvel comics. So when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Clark Gregg took the stage at New York Comic Con to answer fan questions alongside Marvel Head of Television Jeph Loeb, one enterprising fan finally asked the question on everyone’s mind: Will the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents ever encounter actual mutants? Loeb danced around the question, but Gregg had an eager response at hand.
“We’d like to talk to some mutants, but they’re in a terrifying realm,” Gregg said, to mass applause from the audience. “I grew up reading comics about mutants on the subway, but they’re in this terrifying copyright zone. Maybe someday we’ll live in a peaceful world where all fandoms can interact.”
Loeb quickly stressed that these were “solely the opinions of your friend Clark.” Because unfortunately for completist Marvel fans, the movie rights to the X-Men (and all their characters and concepts) are still held by Fox. Long a Sony property, Spider-Man is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with X-Men: Apocalypse on the horizon, Fox appears poised to continue making enough X-Men movies to retain the rights for the foreseeable future.
For now, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have plenty of Inhumans to work with. Loeb said that this season will use them to delve into what it means, exactly, to be human.
“If there’s anybody in this house who watched the opening episode when Fitz is banging on the monolith and screaming, if you didn’t bring a tear to your eye, you gotta have yourself checked,” Loeb said. “I think really what’s important this season is we’ll be exporing humanity, in that we’re looking at Inhumans and the way we deal with people who are different. We don’t know who any of our team is, and that’s a thing that’s gonna be exciting for you guys to catch as we go thorugh our season.”
Fans at the panel were treated, to an exclusive screening of next week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode and a short clip of season 2 of Agent Carter (in which Jarvis shows Peggy one of Howard Stark’s gadget-laden cars). Agent Carter is currently shooting in L.A. (find out who’s new and who’s returning here), so stars Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy weren’t able to make the panel, though they did send a playful video message to fans.
Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently airing Tuesdays on ABC. Season 2 of Agent Carter will premiere during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s winter hiatus.