Why 'Agents of SHIELD' Went to Space for Season 5

The fourth season of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD was packed with epic storylines, mind-bending twists, and the MCU debut of Ghost Rider. But that cliffhanger ending of Phil Coulson in space was one of the most shocking moments.

During the show's spotlight panel at WonderCon, showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon spoke about the unexpected direction for Season 5, revealing why they decided to make such a drastic shift for what could be the end of the series.

"Last year was a real kitchen sink year," said Whedon. "We had a lot of stuff going on. We did alt world. We did Ghost Rider. We did LMDs. So we did two different versions of alternate versions of ourselves, and so we were thinking 'Where can we go that's different?'"

Tancharoen echoed those sentiments and referenced a very self-aware moment from the fifth season premiere.

"Mack's line sort of reflects what we were thinking in the writer's room," said Tancharoen. "He turns to Coulson and goes 'We're in space. It's the one thing we haven't done yet.' So it was definitely an area that we had been contemplating for a while."

The series didn't just make the leap to space, it also made a quantum leap. Setting the series in the future changed the dynamic and the scope of the mission, as Coulson and his team now had to figure out how to get to the present day AND prevent this future from occurring.

"Then when we were talking about how to do it and how to pull it off the idea of it being the future was the one," Whedon said. "As soon as we came up with that idea everybody kind of went 'Oh I see what that story is,' and we ran with that."

Though the agents managed to get back to the past, they've yet to figure out how to break the time-loop they've established for themselves and prevent the destruction of the planet.

We'll see if the team can save the world one more time as the show barrels toward its potential series finale.

Agents of SHIELD airs Fridays at 9pm ET on ABC.

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(h/t CinemaBlend)