Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been renewed for a 13-episode sixth season, EW has learned.
The super series, which follows the exploits of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent-turned-director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) after his death in Marvel’s The Avengers, has been averaging 3.6 million viewers and a 1.1 in the 18-49 demo in its fifth season.
With the show on the bubble until the very last moment — the season finale airs Friday — S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producers Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jeff Bell wrote the finale as a series finale. “Right now, we’re writing a series end,” Bell previously told EW, “because as far as we know, this could be it.”
In season 5, S.H.I.E.L.D. underwent yet another creative resurgence, initially setting the show in space in a future where the Earth has been destroyed, and now returning to the present to save the planet. ABC boss Channing Dungey said during the Television Critics Association press tour she was “cautiously optimistic” about the fates of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon a Time, though the latter was later announced as now being in its final season.
The question remains whether S.H.I.E.L.D. will close out its fifth season with the jaw-dropping twist depicted in the latest Avengers film, Infinity War. SPOILER ALERT: Half of the universe’s population disappears with a snap of Thanos’ Infinity gauntlet-wearing fingers. The show has dropped a number of hints that the events of Infinity War are happening concurrent with the show’s final episodes, which means the season finale could theoretically see half of the show’s beloved agents turning to dust.
Another lingering question: Will Phil Coulson be included in season 6? As revealed earlier this season, Coulson is dying, once again, from his injury in Marvel’s The Avengers. (tldr; he was healed by a Kree serum, which burned off when he temporarily took on the powers of Ghost Rider.) Cast announcements for next season are expected at a later date, but viewers will get to see even more of Phil Coulson soon. Gregg will appear in the upcoming Captain Marvel film, which is set in the 1990s, before Coulson’s death in The Avengers.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was Marvel’s first TV show, followed by the Hayley Atwell-starring Agent Carter. ABC also aired the short-lived Marvel’s Inhumans this season, though it was critically panned and ultimately canceled. Marvel also has a number of series at Netflix, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher, as well as Hulu’s Runaways and Freeform’s upcoming Cloak and Dagger.
The season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air Friday, May 18 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.