ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three

Usually not-yet-debuted TV shows struggle to generate heavy interest at Comic-Con. That won’t be a problem for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which probably has more buzz going into its first season than any show since AMC’s The Walking Dead. After all, it’s Marvel characters plus writer-director Joss Whedon plus a hit film — it’s almost like it was brainstormed by Comic-Con fans camping in line at Hall H last year.

So though ABC is being very secretive about their plans and the pilot itself, here’s what we’ve dug up so far about the show and next week’s panel.

1. The pilot hints at how mild-mannered kick-ass bureaucrat Agent Coulson (Clarke Gregg) was resurrected to lead the team after being killed off in The Avengers (his S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues say he must “never know the truth” about his death). Yet you’ll have to keep watching to learn the full story. “We can’t wait to pull the curtain back on that,” says co-creator Jed Whedon. “[But] we’re going to take our time.”

2. The S.H.I.E.L.D. story will work in tandem with the Marvel films, both past and upcoming. In fact, the first episode will pick up a storyline that’s familiar from one of the Marvel hits — and it’s not The Avengers. “We plan on trying to weave in between the films and try to make them more rewarding on both ends,” says Jed Whedon, who points out the trick is to make the audience not ask a certain fanboy-bar-fight-style question: “In any of these [episodes], you can always ask: ‘Why don’t they just call Iron Man?'” Yeah, that would be annoying! So our next question is: Why don’t they just call Iron Man? “They are aware of each other,” Whedon says of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team and the metal-suited Malibu playboy, “but they do have to have their own lives.”

3. Here’s a question from the Internets that will be addressed in the pilot: Does J. August Richards play Rage? Expect that and other revelations at the Comic-Con panel, just not a ton of them. “We’ll finally be able to answer some questions,” says co-creator Maurissa Tancharoen. “Though I’m sure we’ll have to stay on the vague end of the spectrum.”

4. Which leads us to wonder: The panel is from 1:45 to 3 p.m. on Friday. Hard to imagine the Q&A going on that long — how many ways can Whedon say, “I can’t tell you that. Stop asking!” So expect some video to fill the time. Perhaps even … the pilot itself? Announced guests currently include Joss Whedon, Marvel’s head of TV Jeph Loeb and “more guests” (presumably writers and a few cast members). And speaking of the pilot…

5. S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t look like a $200 million dollar Marvel movie, but it won’t look like the infamous boat scene in Ringer, either. “When fans see this pilot, they’ll be pretty astonished by what we pulled off and the challenge is to do it every week,” Loeb says. “The magic of television is that it’s about characters, and fortunately that’s also what Marvel is also about. We’re not built around a cape and a cowl.” Oh if this blog were a comic book, you’d see a “SMACK!” on the page right now.

Episode Recaps

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.

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