While the introduction of life model decoys, or LMDs, into Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD was exciting, it posed a small continuity issue for the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tonight’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, “Hot Potato Soup,” fixed that issue.
Spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Episode 12, “Hot Potato Soup,” follow.
The first mention of life model decoys in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was not in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, but it was in a scene featuring Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). That scene was in Marvel’s The Avengers. The scene shows Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), enjoying some alone time with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in the penthouse of the newly built Stark Tower. Coulson shows up with news of Loki’s arrival on Earth in the hopes of recruiting Iron Man back into the Avengers now that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were needed.
Stark tried to avoid the conversation by claiming that he was a Tony Stark LMD and not the real Tony Stark. The line was just a throwaway joke reference to the Marvel Comics Universe, but that changed when Dr. Holden Radcliffe seemingly invented the life model decoy at the end of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season 3. If Radcliffe only then invented the life model decoy, then what was Tony Stark referencing years earlier?
“Hot Potato Soup” solved that conundrum by revealing that there was a life model decoy project that existed at SHIELD before Radcliffe’s began his experiments. The Agents Eric, Sam, and Billy Koenig – each played by Patton Oswalt – worked on the original SHIELD project. Many fans had speculated that Agents Koenig themselves were LMDs, which would explain why there were so many of them that looked identical. However, Agent LT Koenig, the sister of the other Koenigs, explained that Eric, Sam, and Billy were only technicians on the project and not LMDs themselves. The reason the brothers are identical is that they, along with their comedian brother Thurston, are quadruplets.
It is reasonable to assume that Tony Stark, being the son of SHIELD co-founder Howard Stark and having worked closely on weapons and technology projects with the organization in the past, would have some knowledge of the previous life model decoy program, and that would explain how he was able to reference LMDs while trying to dodge Agent Coulson in The Avengers.
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Marvel's Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.