Credit: Jennifer Clasen/ABC
ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is venturing where the ABC super series has never gone before: the final frontier.

After being abducted by mysterious agents in the season finale, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team will find themselves in space. Yes, seriously, the new season will take place in space. It’s not a trick. It’s not the Framework. Team S.H.I.E.L.D. truly is out of this world, and it’s for one very simple reason — the show hadn’t yet done it.

“Partially, it was a decision based on all the things that we had already done and the things that we have not yet done,” executive producer Jed Whedon tells EW.

In fact, Mack (Henry Simmons) makes a meta-joke in the two-hour premiere pointing out that space is, quite literally, the one place the series hasn’t explored. “For a show where we’ve tried to reinvent it every year, this felt like a good stretch,” executive producer Jeff Bell says. “It felt like we hadn’t really gone full sci-fi.”

The show will certainly be leaning into those sci-fi aspects this season in a number of ways — one of which is being kept tightly under wraps. Those less guarded are the apparent villains this season, the cosmic comic book antagonists the Kree. Well, that’s what the promos seem to indicate, anyway. The mystery behind those fundamental questions — who, what, why, when, where, and how — is part of this season’s allure.

“We spend a lot of our reboots each year dividing our team and then bringing them back or letting the audience play catch up,” Whedon says. “Our goal this year was to put them and the audience all on the same page and in the same boat and send them on the craziest adventure we could think of.”

The team’s trip to space comes less then 24 hours after they escaped the Framework, so viewers can expect many of the characters to be a bit thrown by their new locale. “It’s reflective of their personalities and their previous experiences,” Whedon says of their reactions to space. “Part of the fun of sending them on an adventure together is instead of the conflict coming from internal strife in our team, it comes from all of their different reactions to the tense situation that they’re in, which was fun to shoot and fun to write, and hopefully will be fun to watch.”

Whether the team will actually stay in space all season remains to be seen. Much like prior seasons, the show will be split into different story arcs. “There are a couple of different pods this year,” Bell says. “Those tend to be based on our schedule and how we’re aired. We were aired in three different runs last year [Ghost Rider, LMD, and Agents of Hydra]. The way it appears this year is we have two separate runs. Though the whole season will have an arc that will pay off, there are two different pods with different emphasis.”

“This pod would be S.H.I.E.L.D. in Space,” Whedon says with a booming voice. “But they didn’t let us do that.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for season 5 with a two-hour premiere Friday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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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