Thursday, August 25, 2016

Potential New Spinoffs for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Part 1

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Unfortunately, back in April word broke that ABC had decided to pass on the Marvel’s Most Wanted spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This was extremely disappointing news since this show looked like a really good and interesting change of pace from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which would expand on two really good characters.  At the time the powers that be didn’t explain their reasoning for passing on the spinoff (they have since stated that it “wasn’t as strong” as other ideas), but a rumor did surface shortly thereafter that this was part of a major shakeup at ABC.  The old executive was trying to market shows with the “Marvel” logo which did not connect directly with the movie universe—essentially using “Marvel” to boost ratings.  The new executive did not want to do that and instead wanted to focus on Marvel shows that would expand on and connect directly to the Marvel movies.

Personally, while the idea of just using the “Marvel” logo to boost ratings is problematic, I also think it’s a stupid idea to focus on just connecting to the movies (if it’s true).  In my opinion, what’s interesting about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (excepting the Winter Soldier tie-in, which belongs in its own category) isn’t the 2-5 episodes each season which directly connect to movies.  What’s interesting about the show is the interesting characters and the plots which expand the movie universe in ways that the movies would not be able to (due to time, scope, and the like).  Agent Carter was interesting specifically because it could expand on things like the origin of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra infiltration, and initial experimentation with Darkforce, things which help to give the movie universe depth.  Marvel’s Most Wanted would have been interesting because it could expand on the “seedy underbelly” of the MCU in ways that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the movies really can’t.  Just because a show doesn’t directly tie into the movies doesn’t make it bad; just look at Netflix and The Defenders shows.


However, that being said, it seems that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in need of a new spinoff to set up this year.  For the sake of argument, I will introduce these spinoff ideas under the assumption that they need room to make direct connections to the movies.  Considering the number of ideas involved, I decided to break them up into 2 groups.  This week’s ideas are the “easy ones” (meaning that they use characters/concepts already on the show).  Next week’s ideas will use new characters and themes.

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Shadow Initiative or Shadow Warriors


  • Bobbi and Hunter

Introduction:  Coulson and the Director have to bring in specialists dissociated from S.H.I.E.L.D. for a special black ops mission

This is a concept which has been explored numerous times in the comics:  a covert team of superheroes (or other powered people) who take on missions too dangerous or politically messy for the more public/official teams.  The name “Shadow Initiative” comes from the Avengers: The Initiative comic series, in which Tony Stark founded a camp to train young heroes for deployment as part of the Fifty State Initiative (superhero teams for all fifty U.S. states).  A small number of the recruits (mostly former criminals) were held in reserve as a Suicide Squad-like “wet-work team” which the camp director (Henry Peter Gyrich) could deploy as needed.

When Coulson pitched the idea of the Secret Warriors to Daisy, he actually intended that team to serve as just such a covert operations unit, so you may be wondering why S.H.I.E.L.D. would need a second covert superhero team when they’ve barely filled out the roster for the first one.    I think that the situation in Russia (“Parting Shot,” 3x13) is a perfect example of why S.H.I.E.L.D. needs a powered black ops team, particularly now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been re-legitimized by the U.S. Government.  Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. had to disavow valuable agents when a mission on foreign soil went south.  Because Bobbi and Hunter had official connections with the U.S. Government and S.H.I.E.L.D., it nearly turned into an international incident.  However, a team without any official connections to S.H.I.E.L.D.—people S.H.I.E.L.D. would never associate with—would be able to operate in that situation without risking an international incident.

If Marvel and ABC choose to go in this direction, this could give them an opportunity to recycle some of the elements from Marvel’s Most Wanted, specifically the characters of Bobbi and Hunter.  Considering that they have already been disavowed by S.H.I.E.L.D., I can’t think of anyone better to lead a team of reformed criminals getting their hands dirty in dirty situations.

As far as movie connections go, this series may actually be freer to work within the movies than even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is.  A movie like Black Panther does not offer many tie-in opportunities for a U.S. Government-sanctioned organization like S.H.I.E.L.D.  However, the “Shadow Warriors” (if they go with the “_____ Warriors” moniker to coordinate with the “Secret Warriors”) could tie-in by undertaking a mission within Wakanda which the U.S. Government could never officially sanction.  A tie-in similar to “The Dirty Half Dozen” (2x19) in which a S.H.I.E.L.D. team infiltrates a base to gather intelligence would work just as well—if not better—with an off-books team, depending on the mission.  An ultra-covert team can be right in the thick of the movie action without ever being shown on-screen.

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Potential New Characters:

  • Crystal (member of the Inhuman Royal Family with the ability to control the four classical elements)
  • Karnak (member of the Inhuman Royal Family who can see weaknesses in people, objects, and situations)

Introduction:  The Inhuman Royal Family sends Crystal and Karnak to investigate reports of new Inhumans, bringing them into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D.  In the end, Daisy convinces the two sides to work together for mutual benefit.

We’ve already been introduced to the Inhumans on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:  results of Kree experimentation on early humans, they have latent superpowers which can be activated by the Terrigen Mist.

Up until very recently, there was an Inhumans movie set for release in July 2019, and even following its removal from the schedule Kevin Feige has remained adamant that the Inhumans are still an important part of the MCU’s future.  Given this—and given that the AoS season 2 finale unleashed Terrigen into the ecosystem, which is scheduled to cover the Earth by about the middle of season 4—why shouldn’t the Inhumans get a little more publicity via TV before their inevitable movie debut?  This holds doubly true now that Marvel Studios is giving Marvel TV a little more freedom to incorporate “classic Inhumans characters” (which most likely means the Inhuman Royal Family).

If Marvel and ABC go this route, the series would begin laying the groundwork for Attilan and the Royal Family.  Crystal and Karnak could serve as easy stand-ins for the rest of the Royal Family as they gather, train, and lead a group of newly-transformed Inhumans.  If this is the case, the series could follow the concept of the All-New Inhumans, in which Crystal and Gorgon lead a team of NuHumans.

I don’t think I need to point out the potential for this series to connect with the movies.  Even if the rest of the Royal Family does not appear, Attilan (and the Attilan-Inhuman society) could be explored.

Secret Warriors


  • Daisy, Yo-Yo, and James (a.k.a. Hellfire)
  • Eden Fesi, a.k.a. Manifold (Inhuman with the ability to teleport)
  • Sebastian Druid (magic user)

Introduction:  Near the end of the season, Coulson gives the Secret Warriors a specific mission for the coming year

I’ve talked about the spinoff possibilities of the Secret Warriors quite a bit.  In fact, when it was first rumored that there would be a spinoff I thought this was the clear choice, considering how much the Secret Warriors plot has taken over Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since it was announced at the end of season 2.  Spinning them off into their own series would be a good way to free up time and allow AoS to focus more on the espionage elements as well as the concept of non-powered people living and working in a world of superheroes.  This would pull Daisy (arguably one of the two main characters of the show) away from AoS, but as a tradeoff we could get a lot more development from minor characters on both shows.

Obviously the Tie-In potential with this series is about the same as that for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself.  The Secret Warriors team can participate in ancillary battles/events parallel to those in the movies.  The series can also show the aftermath of movie events (like AoS).


All of these spinoff possibilities have definite potential to build naturally from the foundation that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has already laid and offer a change of pace from the stories that AoS tells.  Likewise, each offers major tie-in possibilities for the upcoming MCU movies.  If Marvel and ABC were to green light one or more of these series, I would be really excited.  If I had to pick just one of these, I think Secret Warriors makes the most sense, looking at the show as it currently stands.  However, Inhumans may actually be the more likely, considering that it offers the most change-of-pace from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Which of these spinoff options has you most interested?  What would you like to see as an AoS spinoff?  Do you think they should revisit Marvel’s Most Wanted?  Let me know in the comments!

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