In the world of the Marvelverse, ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was always "The Little Show That Could." It survived a rating crash in the first season as fans tuned in to the premiere but then tuned back out when the plot moved too slowly. The show has by turns, been a show about Inhumans, a show about Ghostrider, a show about Hydra, and a post-apocalyptic adventure in space. It's outlived every single one of Marvel's more prestigious offerings on Netflix. But finally, Marvel TV has called it a day. Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7 next year will be it's last.
This announcement preceded the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel at San Diego Comic-Con by only a few hours, so when the audience filed in they'd already heard the news. Emotions were already running high, as the cast and production team walked out, in one of the most extensive panels of the day. All of the main cast were in attendance: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, and Jeff Ward, and the crowd cheered every last one of them. For Gregg, who started playing a small part in the Iron Man films as Agent Coulson, this trip has been going for nearly a dozen years. He told the crowd: "I am very moved about the end of this journey."
In fact, the journey has been so long, Gregg technically isn't playing Coulson anymore. The character, who died in 2012's The Avengers, was one of the show's many mysteries when it started in 2013. How was he still alive? The answer to that is convoluted, but what matters is that his resurrection was never going to last, and by the end of Season 5 in 2018, Coulson had weeks to live.
Gregg admitted that the show had not been renewed for a sixth season when he filmed those goodbyes and treated it like the end of the show and his character. But miraculously, ABC didn't just greenlight the series for one more season, but two.
But after next year's Season 7, the show will be no more. As moderator Jeph Loeb played sizzle reel after sizzle reel of seasons past, actress Chloe Bennet sighed that it was like she was on This Is Your Life.
As for what will happen next, everyone was mum, refusing to even hint much at the final episodes of Season 6 still to come. But Gregg did give one small hint when asked how his new character, Sarge, relates to the now late-Phil Coulson. "Watch Friday's episode."
S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally bringing its seven-year journey to a close, and most likely ending Marvel's run on broadcast TV. But fans won't be bereft. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff, Ghostrider, starring Gabriel Luna, who played the character on S.H.I.E.L.D., premieres on Hulu sometime next year.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 6 finale airs on Friday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Season 7 is expected to air next summer.