'Agents of SHIELD' Season 5 Premiere Has an Avengers Easter Egg

Between all of the game-changing revelations in the fifth season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the two-hour event also managed to sneak in a reference to the Avengers that Marvel Comics fans should appreciate.

SPOILERS for the Season Five premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD follow.

In the Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season Five premiere, titled “Orientation,” the SHIELD team find themselves transported to a space station of some kind inhabited by humans, Vrellnexians, and Kree. After surviving their first encounters with the Vrellnexian “Roaches,” they find a guide in the human named Deke, who welcomes them to the bunker known as the Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse is actually a space station name taken straight from the Marvel Comics universe which served as the base of operations for the Avengers black ops team featured in the pages of Marvel’s Secret Avengers series.

The concept of Secret Avengers was created by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato Jr in 2010. The team was originally an off-the-books Avengers squad put together by Steve Rogers, who had recently returned from being lost in time and took over as high commander of the Avengers while Bucky Barnes was still acting as Captain America.

However, the Lighthouse did not become the team’s base of operations until after Steve Rogers left the team to reclaim the mantle of Captain America. The leadership of the black-ops squad then fell to Hawkeye. Several more of the team’s members left when Rogers did, and so Hawkeye assembled a new roster that included Giant-Man (Hank Pym), who helped build the Lighthouse, Valkyrie, Beast, Black Widow, Captain Britain, Venom, the original Human Torch, and Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady).

Having a space station came in handy when the Avengers vs. X-Men event broke out and the Secret Avengers squad – along with some powerful core Avengers like Vision and Thor – were made the first line of defense against the oncoming Phoenix Force. The team wasn’t able to destroy the Phoenix Force like they had hoped, but they did manage to prevent it from destroying the Kree homeworld of Hala.

The team also went up against the Descendants, a race of robots created by Father, a scientist who worked for Weapon Plus, the same program that created Captain America, gave Wolverine his adamantium, and birthed Fantomex.

The Lighthouse hasn't been seen since the first Marvel NOW! era began and the Secret Avengers book was relaunched with a focus on Hawkeye's SHIELD team.

The purpose of the Lighthouse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is unknown, but considering the state of things when the agents of SHIELD arrive there, its fair to wonder if the Avengers had some hand in building it as the last line of defense against some great threat.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.