Where in the universe is Agent Jemma Simmons? That’s the question on everyone’s mind after last night‘s Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 premiere. Simmons hasn’t been seen since she was swallowed by the mysterious Kree monolith, but the tag to last night’s premiere showed her surviving somewhere out there in the universe. But where?
We don’t know, but there are plenty of theories going around out there. Let’s talk about a few of them, starting with some that are probably not true. Then we’ll talk about what we actually know and can assume about Jemma’s situation.
Stop it. I enjoyed Greg Pak, Aaron Lopresti, and Carlos Pagulayan’s Planet Hulk story as much as the next comic book reader, but fans are willing to jump at anything and claim it as proof the story will be adapted. There is nothing in the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere to suggest that Simmons is on “Planet Hulk,” which is actually called Sakaar, besides Simmons’ location being sandy.
Some fans seem to think that Simmons is going to meet up with Bruce Banner somewhere out in space and buddy scientist hijinks will ensue. The thing is, Bruce Banner never left Earth. Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon has gone on record saying that he never intended for Hulk to leave Earth, but that Marvel made him edit Bruce’s flight scene to remove any stars from the sky in order to make absolutely sure that nobody believed Bruce’s craft had left the atmosphere. Unless Marvel is hilariously overcommitting to a poorly kept secret, Banner is still on Earth.
Even if Banner did leave Earth’s orbit, he was in a manmade ship. Simmons was confirmed by Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeff Bell to no longer be in our solar system. Maybe a creature like the Hulk could survive that trip – which would take more years than I can count – but there’s no way he’d arrive in time to meet Simmons, who has been on the planet for six months. Sure, Banner’s ship could have found a randomly occurring wormhole in space in fallen in, only to pop out on the other side of another randomly occurring wormhole right in the same solar system Simmons showed up in, but the chances of that or so infinitesimally small that Marvel would be committing to some horribly contrived storytelling. It’s not a good option.
Mark Ruffalo has said himself that he’s not interested in doing Planet Hulk. Marvel went out of their way to edit a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron to avoid hinting at the possibility of Planet Hulk. There have been so many rumors back and forth about the Hulk’s solo film rights that I’m not even sure Marvel can make a Planet Hulk movie if they wanted to. On top of that, the Sakaarians already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as stand-ins for the Badoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. You know why Marvel was okay with that? Because they don’t care about Sakaar or the Sakaarians.
If she is on Sakaar, or another vaguely Roman Empire like planet that will substitute for it, that still doesn’t mean that Hulk is there with her. And it’s not really Planet Hulk if the Hulk isn’t on the planet.
Just let it go.
We’ve been down this road before. We all thought that secret city Coulson’s team discovered in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 was going to be Attilan, but it turned out to be just some other Inhuman city in ruins. I think those hoping to see Simmons in Attilan will be similarly disappointed this season.
It’s important to note that Attilan is a city, and not a planet. That city is typically hidden away on Earth, and that is definitely not where Simmons is. Attilan has been relocated off planet a few times, but they were to more recognizable locations that the barren landscape we found Simmons in last night, the Blue Area of the Moon and Hala (we’ll talk about those locations here in a minute).
It is possible that some Inhumans, presumably led by the Royal Family, walked through the monolith to another planet and built Attilan there in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s actually a pretty cool scenario, but it feels a bit like wishful thinking. Fans are eager to see the Inhuman royal family on screen, and so they’re hoping for Attilan, but I think this is contingent on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.being more directly tied up with the Marvel films than it actually is. I also think it’s pretty unlikely that Marvel would have gone about casting the royal family without so much as a rumor creeping out to the press.
Attilan seems like a plausible answer, but not a probable one.
The Blue Area Of The Moon
I admit that the Blue Area of the Moon was the first location I thought of when I saw Simmons’ scene. The Blue Area is a region on the far side of Earth’s moon that has a breathable atmosphere and gravity, thanks to some leftover tech from the Kree Empire’s time mucking about on Earth. That sure looks like a moon’s landscape in the scene we saw Simmons in last night, and she certainly seems able to breathe and to be held down by gravity.
The problem is that it’s definitely not Earth’s moon. Earth only has the one moon, and there is clearly another between whatever cosmic mass Simmons is running around on and the big planet seen so prominently in the sky. Also, again, Simmons is not in our solar system
However, Blue Area technology may be relevant, which leads us to our own theory.
Here’s what we actually know about the monolith. It’s Kree in origin. The Inhumans say it was used to kill them. It ate Simmons and dropped her off somewhere across the universe, and hasn’t done anything since then. The scroll Fitz found that supposedly describes the monolith had only one word: “Death.”
Two possibilities spring to mind. One is that this was transport used by the Kree Empire. The Kree are known to have a great empire and possess superior technology, so it makes sense that they would have a means of easy Interstellar transport. They could have dropped the monolith off on Earth, and allowed Kree soldiers to march through and bring “death” on the Inhumans. The planet on the other side – or moon given atmosphere and gravity by Blue Area technology - may have since been abandoned, either because it had served its purpose or as part of the treaty with Nova Empire to end hostilities. However, this doesn’t explain why the Monolith sealed itself up after Simmons walked through.
Another possibility is that the Inhumans, upon capture, were forced through the monolith to their “death.” Simmons seems to be running from something, so perhaps there are creatures there meant to kill prisoners. Or maybe it’s just a prison colony, and there are still survivors (this could feed the Attilan theory). There’s a logical gap here though. Why wouldn’t the Kree just kill the Inhumans themselves, if they already had them subdued to the point that they could be marched through the monolith? And why wouldn’t the Kree just warp the Inhumans to a planet with a less hospitable atmosphere, or into the vacuum of space itself, instead of letting them survive arrival on the other side of the monolith’s transport? Perhaps they were planning to enslave them? Is Simmons then running from the MCU version of the Alpha Primitives?
If either of these theories are true, then Simmons could be anywhere in the Kree Empire, and that’s a lot of planets. Hala, the home world of the Kree, springs to mind. She doesn’t seem to be on Hala now, but perhaps that big planet in the sky is the Kree capital and Simmons is on one of its moons. Considering how entangled the Kree are with the Inhumans, and the Inhumans are with S.H.I.E.L.D., paying a visit to Hala could make some narrative sense.
Fans will have to watch the mystery unfold as Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights on ABC.