Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the fourth season 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. has been off the air for only four months, but a lot has changed.
For one, there’s a whole new S.H.I.E.L.D. In light of the Sokovia Accords, the organization once again is being run under government purview. There are a ton of new faces and protocols, while the original ragtag crew has been separated. Simmons is a special adviser to the new director (Jason O’Mara), whom we didn’t meet in the premiere; Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Mack (Henry Simmons) are off tracking enchanted individuals; Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) is now secretly working on a proto-Life Model Decoy, AIDA, with Dr. Radcliffe (John Hannah); and May (Ming-Na Wen) is in charge of training the strike teams.
The real question mark, though, is Daisy (Chloe Bennet), whom the public deems a vigilante. But Coulson still has hope, secretly tracking her down to Los Angeles thanks to a tip from May. In truth, Daisy’s working to stop the Watchdogs and those they’ve recruited to work for them. But she stumbles upon a flame-licked serial killer, otherwise known as Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna), who slays those he deems villainous. When Ghost Rider gets the upper hand in a battle with Daisy, she’s ready and willing to die, but he interestingly doesn’t mark her for death.
Reprimanded by Simmons for providing Daisy intel to Coulson, May and her strike team are forced to go to L.A. to bring him back, crossing paths with the gang that Daisy was tracking. The gang had opened a mysterious box that caused them all to go a little crazy thanks to an angry apparition — another spirit of vengeance, perhaps? We’ll soon find out since May, too, was affected by whatever was in the box. Seriously, what’s in the box?!
The powers that be are staying mum, only teasing that it will have ties to the upcoming Doctor Strange. “We are introducing a different supernatural element of the MCU, which happens to coincide with the release of Doctor Strange,” executive producer Jed Whedon said at a fan screening of the premiere on Monday night, moderated by this reporter. “So that’s what’s in the box — we can’t tell you, but something along those lines.”
For those who watch the show each week and see Doctor Strange when it hits theaters, Whedon added, “I think you will be rewarded for that. Some of the questions that we’re asking right at the top will be answered by the film and directly after the film. We’re starting to explore some of the same worlds.”
Ahead of the panel, executive producer Jeph Loeb also told EW that whatever is in the box “will provide an awful lot of the answers as to why it was inevitable that S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ghost Rider were going to collide.” Bennet, meanwhile, dropped a clue as to what’s in the box: “Daisy thinks it’s some sort of weapon in the first episode, and she’s not wrong.” Playing off that Doctor Strange theme, Henstridge also added, “Fury [Samuel L. Jackson] is scared of it, and not much scares Fury, so who knows? There are certain movies coming out that could be in the same vein.”
Now the question is how the contents of the box will mess with May in the coming episodes. “It starts to affect May’s perception of things,” Wen says. “It’s almost like being on LSD, but worse. It’s not good. You never want May out of control. You don’t want her to be paranoid.”
Suffice it to say, viewers should be really worried for Agent May. “You can assume that what happened to those other people might happen to her,” Whedon says. “It’s not good.”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.