One of the brightest spots during New York City Comic Con this weekend was the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel. Now heading towards their somewhat improbable fifth season this year, the fan cult favorite that mixes minor non superheroes from The Avengers movie series with X-men-esque terrigensized Inhumans (just don’t call them mutants!) was originally renewed for a spring 2018 half season, with Marvel’s The Inhumans to run in the Fall of this year. But with The Inhumans crash and burn arrival, their release date has moved up. So when does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere?
The news was announced at the comic con panel on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The series fifth season begins this December, in the new time slot of Fridays that The Inhumans now occupies. S.H.I.E.L.D. will make a splashy two hour return with episodes 1 and 2 played back to back starting at 8 p. m. on Dec. 1, 2017. After that, it will move to their regular 9 p.m. one hour slot for the duration of the full season run.
Fans were treated to the full cast being on hand for the panel, from newcomer Natalia Cordova-Buckley, who plays Elena “YoYo” Rodriguez, to Clark Gregg, who is the bedrock of the series as Agent Coulson. The once-head of S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Captain America: Winter Soldier, is now somewhat rogue after the events of last season.
Speaking of the events of last season, when we last left Coulson and company, they had just escaped a computer simulated version of our world known as the “Agents of HYDRA” plot. In it, the current head of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Patriot Jeffrey Mace, played by guest star Jason O’Mara, was killed off, which is going to require a lot of explanation this coming season.
Or is it? Because rather than being arrested and interrogated, instead Phil Coulson woke up at the tail end bumper of Season 4 to find himself… in space.
How did he get there? Is Phil Coulson alone? (Is Phil Coulson ever really alone?) What happened to the rest of the team? Is Coulson a prisoner? Who is responsible for this?
Fans won’t have to wait as long as we thought to find out the answers to at least some of these questions. The panel not only included the release date, but an exclusive 20 minute clip of the first episode, which answered… well not everything. But it gave us a good idea of the direction the show will be taking.
At least, the direction it will be taking at first. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was originally conceived as a prestige TV show on broadcast network, and has struggled since debuting the balance those two impulses, which are totally at odds.
The resulting compromise is the “pod” system, where the 22 episode season is split into segments, each of which would be their own season on say, a Netflix like streaming network. Last season’s pods featured “Ghostrider”, “LMD” (Life Model Decoys) and “Agents of HYDRA.” We don’t know the name of the first Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pod yet, but personally I’m dubbing it’s “SHIELD In Spaaaace” (Said like The Muppet’s “Pigs is Spaaaace”) until we get one.
As to what we saw in the twenty minute clip, those in the room were asked not to reveal anything we saw that might constitute a spoiler. But I would say, beyond the best use of a Talking Heads track I’ve seen so far this year, the entire clip can be summed up in one character’s line, upon learning that they were in space.
Of course we are. It’s the one thing we hadn’t done yet.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns to ABC this December, with a two hour premiere on Dec. 1, 2017, at 8 p.m. ET.