Ahead of Marvel Television's lone panel at San Diego Comic-Con later this afternoon, news surfaced earlier today that ABC's Agents of SHIELD would be ending with its seventh season. In just a year and some change, the flagship show for Marvel Television for the better part of a decade will shut its doors for good. When that time comes, it won't just mark the closure of another television show at Marvel — it will signal the end of an era, an end to one of the properties that helped mold the Marvel Cinematic Universe into what it is today.
When ABC first aired the pilot episode of the series, the MCU was just a shell of its former self. At the time, just seven MCU films had hit theaters and the "Infinity Saga" has just found its first step with the first cameo of Thanos. Then Agents of SHIELD comes along and gives us the interconnected universe the likes of Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb had promised.
The arrival of Agents of SHIELD proved to fans the House of Ideas really meant business. Having an interconnected film franchise wasn't revolutionary by any stretch of the word at the time, but few had dared to create properties that crossed over between film and television. Yet here comes Marvel, using A-list actors from the films like Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders in cameo roles on television — and it didn't stop there. Storylines and plot devices from films released in theaters just months before found their way into a television show, continuing arcs touched on the silver screen by talents like Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle.
Agents of SHIELD took Hollywood to a place rarely toyed with. Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and team adventured into the great unknown and despite some early hiccups, went on to execute their plans flawlessly. And think about the incredible actors we all got to meet thanks to the show. Sure, we all already knew about Clark Gregg and the always badass Ming-Na Wen — but we got to see the show launch careers for actors like Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Iain de Caestecker. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to the delightful Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, and dozens of talented guest actors. Hell, you could even through Jeff Ward into the mix if you're in a good enough mood.
I think there has been a consensus of late the show would be best to end sooner rather than later. If you're like me, you thought the Season Five finale was about as good of a series finale as one could get — but that still doesn't stop the sting of a cancellation officially coming across the news desk. Whether or not you were prepared for the cancellation, I think we can all take relief in a proactive announcement, rather than finding out the network pulled the plug on an open-ended finale.
To Jeph, Jed, Maurissa, and the rest of the team that helped make Agents of SHIELD possible over the past six years: thank you.
What's been your all-time favorite episode of Agents of SHIELD? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!
Agents of SHIELD airs Friday nights on ABC beginning at 8/7 p.m. Central.