Did 'Agents Of SHIELD' Just Drop An Alpha Flight Easter Egg?

Yesterday, Marvel and ABC released the first 17 minutes of the season five premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD online and the footage may contain a reference to the Marvel Universe’s top Canadian superhero team.

In the footage, Coulson and his team are frozen and taken in by a mysterious strike force led by what appears to be an alien in a human suit. They are they placed in a room with one of the mysterious cosmic teleportation artifacts called a monolith, which teleports them all to some kind of derelict ship or station in outer space.

The team is separated and confused and begin trying to reunite and piece together what’s happening. There are other humans, or at least humanoids, on board the structure and they rummage through one of the human’s belongings. They find a postcard from Lake Ontario, which seems to confirm that these humans are originally from Earth, but also may be a reference to Alpha Flight.

Created by John Bryne, Alpha Flight is a Canadian superhero team in the Marvel Universe formed by a government organization called Department H. Wolverine was a member of Alpha Flight until Professor X sought him out and invited him to join the new X-Men.

The Lake Ontario postcard may be a reference to Alpha Flight because Department H had a headquarters in Toronto, which is located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Alpha Flight #14 even has the cover teaser text of “What lurks in Lake Ontario?” The story inside the issue, “Biology Class,” reveals that it is an alien from the Plodex species, of which Alpha Flight member Marrina is also a part.

Some may wonder what a Canadian superhero team would have to do with outer space. Beside Marrina being an alien, Alpha Flight has also taken on a much larger role in the Marvel Universe as of late. Now led by Captain Marvel, Alpha Flight is the organization tasked with defending the entire Earth against cosmic threats.

However, it should be noted that the film and television rights to Alpha Flight aren’t entirely clear. The team was introduced in the pages of X-Men #121, has deep ties to Wolverine’s history, and two of its original members – the twins Aurora and Northstar – as well as several later additions are mutants. That all suggests that 20th Century Fox would have the rights to Alpha Flight included in their X-Men package, which is backed up by an Easter egg in Deadpool 2, a previous Easter egg in X2: X-Men United, and the fact that producer Simon Kinberg specifically mentioned Alpha Flight as a team being considered for development into a new film.

That said, Fox and Marvel Studios have engaged in character trading somewhat frequently as of late. Perhaps 20th Century Fox decided not to develop an Alpha Flight movie after all and offered the rights back to Marvel in exchange for something else, allowing Marvel to use group in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. That’s all just speculation, but it would be fun to see Alpha Flight in movie or television form one way or another.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returns to ABC with a two-hour season premiere on Friday, December 1st at 8 p.m. ET.