It seems unlikely that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and members of the Avengers are going to team up for an office karaoke outing any time soon. But there’s no question that Marvel intended to intertwine their television and cinematic universes. These characters all exist in the same world, and acknowledge each others existence – admittedly, with a little more subtlety in Netflix shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones than in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.. From its debut season onwards, the ABC show was wholeheartedly interconnected with the happenings on the big screen.
It began with the fall of the spy agency in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and continued with the aftermath of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which planted the seeds of distrust between humans and superhumans. This season, those seeds will take root in the show’s dealings with super-powered Inhumans among us that falls completely in line with events of the forthcoming Captain America: Civil War, including the Superhero Registration Act.
“It’s something that’s gone on since the end of last season when Coulson made Mack and Daisy partners,” reflects Clark Gregg, who plays Phil Coulson. “She’s an Inhuman and he seems to be the most suspicious of aliens and Inhumans. That division is very much manifested in our team. Our show is looking at this Inhumans outbreak, and that’s really where the concept of a civil war, our own version of it, is happening.”
Executive producer Jeph Loeb concurs, pointing out that from the start of the show’s third year they’ve been telling the story of how powered people interact with non-powered people. It’s something that was done on a very “grounded level”, by having the character of Skye become Daisy Johnson and develop powers.
“This is a show that started with the idea that not all heroes are super," he says, "and now it’s very much part of it. That feeling of whether or not you’re gong to be tolerant of someone who is different is really, at the end of the day, what is at the heart of Civil War and what is at the heart of what we are doing for the rest of the season and possibly going into season four.”
This is a show that started with the idea that not all heroes are super.
Chloe Bennett, who portrays Daisy (aka “Quake”), feels that in year two when she transformed, there was a split between how people felt about her personal powers and not having any of their own. “As that’s grown,” offers the actress, “we’ve complicated it with the fact there are people who have powers and who are also, like, ‘I’m not sure I want to have powers,’ versus people who are feeling, ‘This is my God-given right.’ We’re sort of playing that internally.”
Gregg feels that their focus is much more on the series than the events of Civil War, while admitting that it “seems logical” that events of the film will tear up what they’re doing. Notes Henry Simmons, who plays Mack, “If things come to this registration act, the team is going to be divided. It’s inevitable.”
Insofar as Loeb is concerned, Marvel really shines when things in the real world are put through a prism from which you come back out the other side.
“I don’t remember a time,” he states, “when feelings about race and religion and gender and tolerance towards man, and man’s intolerance towards man, has been so much on the front burner. We are going to have to figure out how to get along. We are going to have to figure out how to understand that just because people are different, doesn’t mean that they aren’t our friends. That in its heart and core is what we are dealing with in the show.”
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D season 3 is currently airing on ABC in the US and E4 in the UK.