*The following contains HUGE SPOILERS for Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The villainous prowess has being gradually increasing every season in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In Season 1, the team went against the first phase of Hydra and the Clairvoyant. In Season 2, the stakes were higher with the introduction of superpowered individuals. The team not only had to face Ward, Daniel Whitehall and his Hydra collective but also Daisy’s mother, Jiaying, and her army of Inhumans. In Season 3, apart from Hydra’s last human leader, Gideon Malick, the villainous prowess reached god-level with the introduction of Hive, Hydra’s false god and ancient Inhuman. With no more Hydra (as I’ll explain below) and a god defeated, who or whom will Coulson and his team of agents face in this upcoming fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
The Fall Of Hydra
Before we start, we need to understand that there is no more Hydra. First, by the final episodes of Season 3, Gideon Malick was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. Afraid for his life and with nothing to lose after Hive killed his daughter, he gave Phil Coulson a drive that contained every single detail and secret of Hydra. Malick was then killed by a Hive-controlled Daisy. Later, in Episode 18, Coulson received a message from ATCU director Glen Talbot. Along with Agent May, Coulson watched on screen how every Hydra facility was being bombed or raided by the ATCU and the US government, bringing Hydra’s rule on Earth to an end. Lastly, Hive was killed. He is the source for the creation of Hydra in the first place. Hydra’s whole faith, devotion and cause, was to Hive.
So, that’s it, Hydra has been finally eradicated. Of course, someone could start a cult and start calling it Hydra in devotion to the fallen organization, especially since there is one key person who is technically still alive (Arnim Zola's mind), but the organization as a whole has been eliminated completely, down to its false god. With that being cleared, let’s explore who the villains of Season 4 could be.
Ian Quinn And Graviton
We last saw Quinn in the finale of Season 1. While Raina and Grant Ward were speaking on the matter of the Clairvoyant (who was going mad), Quinn took the Gravitonium and put it in a vehicle. That was the last time we saw him. With Hydra out of the picture (including all their subsidiary companies), we could assume that Quinn was also apprehended in Season 3. What is unclear is if Quinn was ever part of Hydra. Quinn’s only goal was to attain the Gravitonium and earn money for his company, so he sided with the Clairvoyant to achieve this. Let’s say Quinn’s company was independent from Hydra and he is still in business as of Season 3. This could potentially place him in the center of the action in Season 4, especially since he is still in possession of the Gravitonium, within which is Dr. Franklin Hall, who in the comics eventually becomes the villain Graviton.
6 Months Later
In the final scenes of the Season 3 finale (“6 Months Later”) we learn that Daisy has gone rogue. As I discussed in my article, Daisy And The Ghost Rider, at second 0:08 of the video, the newspaper columns reads that Daisy supposedly has been demolishing banks and bridges throughout the country. If she’s working as a vigilante — doing it in classic Quake style — what if she is fighting Ian Quinn and Graviton? Stay with me on this. I’ve taken a snapshot of the newspaper columns from the video so you can better read it.
When you read the one about the bridge (Specifically the red above and on the left), several civilians explained how first there was a shake, but quickly after there was nothing, no crash and no sounds of a bridge collapsing. Based on that description, we know that Daisy is not alone, as she can’t both destroy and contain a demolition, especially for an object as massive as a bridge. It’s either one or the other — destroy or contain. So someone had to have contained the destruction. My guess is Daisy is not destroying any buildings or bridges, she is actually protecting them and keeping people out of harm's way. Additionally, Daisy is not a bad person in nature. She won't go around hurting people or causing mayhem for the fun of it; that's simply not who she is. So then, who could be our villain?
He is able to destroy almost anything, big or small, due to his powers to manipulate gravity. The reason why S.H.I.E.L.D. might not know of this is because it looks obvious that Daisy is the one doing it, and everyone basically forgot of Ian Quinn and the Gravitonium after the events of Season 1. Quinn could be using this for his advantage, framing Daisy on the go.
A Mystical Villain
Of course, there won’t just be one or two villains. With the upcoming Doctor Strange this November, my guess is that the main villain will be someone with mystical abilities, maybe a being from another dimension. That would give reasons for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to introduce Ghost Rider, probably Robbie Reyes. But who then could this mystical villain be? I don’t think it’s Mephisto. Primarily because it’s more probable that he will appear in Netflix’s The Defenders. Additionally, The Hand, the evil ninja organization from Daredevil, could be unknowingly worshiping Mephisto. So then, who could the villain be? It would probably have to be one from Ghost Rider’s rogues gallery, if Robbie Reyes does indeed appear on the show. That will be an article of its own, soon! The mystical aspect will definitely be explored in Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. though, because of Doctor Strange.
Every time a movie comes out, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. always finds a way to tie itself in, thankfully. In Season 1 they did it with Thor: The Dark World when they went to England to clean up Malekith’s mess and heavily did it again with The Winter Soldier’s Hydra-infiltration plot, which was carried out throughout the entire season. In Season 2 they did it with Raina’s Inhuman ability to see into the future. She saw Ultron and the destruction in Sokovia. In Season 3 they mentioned the Sokovia Accords from Civil War and how Daisy and other Inhumans had to register. It’s fantastic when the show does this and I don’t doubt they’ll do it in Season 4 with Doctor Strange…or Crossbones?
Crossbones In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Crossbones is another villain we could potentially see in Season 4. Frank Grillo is eager to return to the MCU after he went “boom” in Civil War, but hey, no one is never ever dead in the Marvel Universe. There are several ways he could return after his supposed death, and since Grillo has appeared many times on television (and currently stars in a TV show), why not speculate that his Marvel contract extends to television as well? If Ian Quinn is back for Season 4, what if he was the one who hired Crossbones to steal the bioweapon in Lagos in Civil War? Even more, what if he runs A.I.M. now? A.I.M had connections with the US government, so that could benefit Quinn. What if, during his absence during Season 2 and 3 of the show, he was actually doing all of this? Slowly rebuilding his reputation and fortune, just to hit S.H.I.E.L.D. back with vengeance.
So, what do you think? Will we see any of these villains in Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Leave it down in the comments!
Season 4 starts filming on July 12th. The season is set to premiere this September, airing from 10–11PM on ABC.