Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the two-hour premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Read at your own risk!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. heading to space was not the most shocking reveal of its two-hour premiere.
After being sucked into a monolith, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the team found themselves in outer space, where they desperately tried to send a message back to Fitz on Earth. But that proved difficult because the monolith actually dropped them far off into the future.
It turns out, sometime in the future, a cataclysmic event caused by Daisy leads to the destruction of Earth, after which the Kree restored order by subjugating the rest of humanity on a nearby space station, where they experiment on humans and use them as slaves.
So no, the team wasn’t taken by S.W.O.R.D., but their arrival was foreseen as a prophecy, with some worshipping them like saviors. Alas, Fitz was not on the list, hence he was left behind to try to get them back. What’s next? EW turned to executive producers Jed Whedon and Jeff Bell to get the scoop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How far into the future are they?
JED WHEDON: We’ll say definitively how far they’re in the future in a few episodes, but the idea is 70+ years in the future.
JEFF BELL: Between 70 and 100 years from now.
It’s said that Daisy caused the destruction of Earth. Should we take that as truth or should we question that?
WHEDON: There’s no question whether or not you’re going to question it. I think everyone should take it as truth, sure.
BELL: We’re X number of years in the future, and this is what this person knows, and this person presents a certain amount of evidence that seems to support that, so I think there’s truth in that, but that doesn’t mean that’s the whole story.
Is the driving force of this season whether they can actually prevent the destruction of Earth?
WHEDON: That would be interesting. Yeah, what we’re seeing is a horrible future that no one wants to have exist, so the first problem is trying to repair it, but maybe there’s a bigger question of Does it ever need to happen?
How will Daisy handle knowing she supposedly caused the cataclysmic event that led to the end of the world?
BELL: I would say she’s going to question everything about herself because she would say, “I didn’t do it.”
WHEDON: “I don’t believe it because I didn’t do it.”
BELL: “I didn’t do it, I would remember it if I had done it,” but he’ll say, “Yeah, but that’s because you came to the future, what if you hadn’t? The you that didn’t, or whatever, could’ve done that.” Also, she’d say, “I’m not nearly powerful enough to do that, so that couldn’t be right.” So she’s going to push back, but at the same time, she has to start paying attention to what’s happening around her.
WHEDON: She’s someone who blames herself already for every death that occurs around her, so that’s a natural inclination for her, just magnified at a grand scale.
Are we actually going to see the destruction of Earth sometime in the future, this season or otherwise?
WHEDON: Don’t know. Wait and see.
Will the show be delving into where Fitz is and what he’s doing to try to get them back?
BELL: Yes, we will dramatize everything. We cannot talk about it.
Can you talk about his mindset at least since he’s now alone trying to save them?
WHEDON: His mindset was clear at the end of last year that it doesn’t sit well with him, everything that happened in the Framework, so we’ll see that affect his emotional state and his decision making.
Speaking of the Framework, will we see more of it this season? Might it be a way Fitz can communicate with them?
BELL: This is a remnant of it. This guy has, in the same way that people have glued together aspects of past lives to meet current needs, taken something that was a very literal alternate reality and turned it into a joy palace for people to escape the drudgery of being stuck on a space station.
WHEDON: Right now we’re using it to say more about the world and this character than as a plot point necessarily.
Simmons has now become one of the chosen. What does that mean exactly?
BELL: It sucks.
WHEDON: I don’t think she’s stoked.
BELL: I would say chosen seems sort of slavish to me.
Can you talk about Kasius’ motivations? How is he a different villain than we’ve seen on the show before?
WHEDON: We don’t want to spoil anything yet, but I will just say he’s definitely one of the most different villains we’ve had.
BELL: He’s been great. Dominic Rains, who plays him, has made very interesting, specific choices that we’ve loved, and has made this peculiar man complicated and interesting and grounded as much as you can have a Kree—
WHEDON: Kree devil guy do that. He nailed it. We’re really excited with what he’s doing with this role.
What’s the team’s next move now that they’ve basically been enslaved on this space station?
WHEDON: The first order of business is survival. It was made very clear in the two-hour premiere that this isn’t an easy place to navigate or even survive, so they have to make sure that they can keep their heads above water before they start swimming in any direction.
BELL: And then they’ve got the problem of they don’t know what’s happened to Simmons, and trying to solve that.
WHEDON: And they don’t know why they were brought here. They’ve got a lot of questions. Truthfully, they have the same questions you have.
BELL: Which is fun for us. We show up and there’s a guy saying, “Thank God you’re here, we’ve got great plans, we want you here because—” and he dies, so that leaves Deke [to figure it out]. Deke knows he was supposed to get them to a floor and give them those devices, and there’s us who know nothing. Our characters and the audience have to piece it together going forward. What are the rules here? Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Who’s in charge? What happened to Simmons? What happens when you do this? Those are all things for us to explore in this new world.
Will the show connect to the Marvel movies at all this season or is that too difficult since you’re so far into the future?
BELL: The literalness of it is logistically impossible. Last year, because of Doctor Strange, that allowed us to expand our universe to include Ghost Rider, and other dimensions, and the Darkhold.
WHEDON: And more magical aspects.
BELL: The Guardians movies have also now allowed us to expand into worlds that we really couldn’t before. So having aliens, having ships, having these other aspects does resonate with the movies, but the next movie doesn’t come out until May, which is after we’re done.
What’s the overall theme of the season?
WHEDON: This year, as with every year, we’re exploring the nature of humanity. Is humanity something that can be saved? Is there an innate evil or goodness to mankind? That’s reflected in our characters.
BELL: The other thing we talked about is legacy. Coulson is so closely associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. and here they’ve shown up in the future and these people are expecting S.H.I.E.L.D. to be their savior. Meanwhile, Daisy, who is supposed to be the next generation of S.H.I.E.L.D., is also possibly a destroyer of worlds. May shows up and the first thing that happens to her is she gets a pipe through her leg, so she’s struggling a little bit. Back on Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been demonized, so what is the meaning of your life’s work? What is the meaning of keeping those things going? What matters in terms of the work you do? How do you treat people? Those are a lot of the things we keep coming back to.
WHEDON: Every time they’ve run up against something, something else arises, so it’s that question of Will the fight ever be won, or is our legacy to just keep fighting?
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.