In a first for the series, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD will not address in the latest Avengers movie in its new season. SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame follow.
Agents of SHIELD's fifth season finale took place at the same time that Thanos's army was attacking Earth in Infinity War. The season ended before the Mad Titan wiped out half of all life in the universe. Agents of SHIELD Season Six jumps ahead one year, which should set it during the five-year gap between Thanos's snap and Iron Man's reversal.
The show won't depict things that way in the new season. For all intents and purposes, Agents of SHIELD takes place in a pre-snap universe. The decision was one of practicality since Marvel Television wasn't aware of how the Infinity War cliffhanger would resolve in Endgame.
"It's just the safest way for us to do things," Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb told reporters on Friday (via The Wrap). "Just looking at it from a very practical place, which is, what the world looked like post-snap, [it] was not something we had seen yet. We were already shooting."
Also, Loeb didn't want to steal any thunder from Spider-Man: Far From Home. In July, that film will become the first to take place in the post-Endgame Marvel Cinematic Universe. It will have to deal with the repercussions of Peter Parker's disappearance from the universe for five years.
"We don't want to ever do something in our show which contradicts what's happening in the movies. The movies are the lead dog. They're setting the timeline for the MCU and what's going on. Our job is to navigate within that world," he said. "The only way for us to tell our story is to do them pre-snap. Whether or not you can figure out [how the timeline works], we'll let 'timelords' figure out."
This feels like a departure from how close-knit Agents of SHIELD was with the Marvel movies in its earlier seasons. It's first season twist centered on the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was planned from the start. It had an episode that served as a lead-in to Avengers: Age of Ultron and a tie-in with Thor: The Dark World. As mentioned, it even acknowledged the pre-snap events of Infinity War. Being so distant from the events of Endgame feels like a shift.
Co-showrunner Jed Whedon notes that the SHIELD team knew "a fair amount" about the plot of Endgame while working on the sixth season. They did not know when the new season would debut. If the show returned any earlier, it ran the risk of spoiling Endgame's twists.
"If they moved us up by two months and we based our show on [Endgame's] storyline, then all of a sudden we'd burn down a huge story point for them," he said. "So we had to dodge all of that."
Endgame added some new wrinkles to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that can help Agents of SHIELD find its place in the canon, especially with the show already renewed for another season. The film involved time travel, as Agents of SHIELD did in season five. There's also the potential of a multiverse existing within the MCU. Whedon says, "We have a logic in our head that makes sense," but would rather fans "enjoy the ride."
That may be a new mantra for fans of Marvel's television projects. It's unlikely that Cloak and Dagger or Runaways will ever address the events of Infinity War or Endgame. That kind of epic storytelling doesn't fit into what those shows are about. In a way, this makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe more like the Marvel Comics universe than ever.
What do you think of Agents of SHIELD not crossing over with Avengers: Endgame? Let us know in the comments. Agents of SHIELD returns to ABC on May 10th.
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