Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has to be one of the most ambitious television series to date. Tuesday's episode just set up an entire season of fantastic stories to play out, especially thanks to Jason O'Mara, who debuted as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. His role had been kept quiet, up until just recently when it was discovered that his character would differ slightly from the personas of previous S.H.I.E.L.D. directors, and now we know why.
Spoilers for the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: Civil War follow.
The New Director's Major Reveal
Past directors of S.H.I.E.L.D. have always brought with them a particular gravitas, and O'Mara is going to have to be just as powerful in his new position. Speaking of power...
The most interesting reveal was the director being revealed as an Inhuman. His actions proved he's quite strong when the time calls for it. And an exhibition of strength proved that he's even capable of restraining a deranged Agent May — who, being skilled in all types of martial arts and badassery, takes down almost everyone, but not the new director. During the aforementioned scene, a deranged Agent May was easily overpowered by new S.H.I.E.L.D. director Jeffrey Mace (name will be explained). Restraint of May was required due to her being under some unknown influence.
We can expect the director's origins to be fully explored sometime this season. All we know so far is that he's tied to the 1940s era of Marvel Comics. Trying to determine which of many characters he could be related to is nearly impossible. However, noting the director's exhibition of superhuman strength and the aspect of his character being tied to the 1940s in some way, he is definitely being set up for a major character arc on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Right now, the director is trying to get S.H.I.E.L.D. re-legitimized, and to do that he needs to make sure every component of S.H.I.E.L.D. is running efficiently. With that in mind, the director has a very important task in front of him if he wishes to gather the funding he needs to relaunch S.H.I.E.L.D.
Can S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Public Image Be Revived?
In the latest episode, we witnessed the director giving a tour to a group of trustees and patriots willing to contribute to the S.H.I.E.L.D. cause, if they liked what they saw. By the end of the episode, the group of trustees appeared quite satisfied with the tour of the S.H.I.E.L.D. base — but the director's task isn't quite over yet. He still has the obligation of proving to the world that S.H.I.E.L.D. is returning to its roots, and how the new S.H.I.E.L.D. will move past the organization's past mistakes.
However, if the new director wishes to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. back into the light of day, he's going to have to revive some of the symbols of S.H.I.E.L.D. that made people believe in the organization in the first place.
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Proud Symbols Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Yes, for S.H.I.E.L.D. to appear as it once stood in the light of day, the agency is going to need to recruit a powerful figure for the public to admire — someone like Captain America or Nick Fury. But with Steve Rogers going AWOL during Captain America: Civil War, we're left without a Captain America. And with Nick Fury on a sabbatical from Marvel, the vacancy for a patriotic hero is still open. Who knows, maybe the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be groomed in the ways of Captain America?
We've already witnessed a sample of the new director's abilities, and he appears to have more hidden talents beyond that superhuman strength. Along with that, the director appears to be taking the reins of S.H.I.E.L.D. by force in becoming the proud front of the agency.
Being the face of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't mean he's just the face. The new director has already shown that he's proud to be on the front lines of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he's willing to step up in situations that call for him to use his abilities, as well as being able to exercise his Inhuman abilities without exerting excess force.
Does The New Director Have What It Takes?
S.H.I.E.L.D. would greatly benefit from a new hero/patriot taking up the mantle of Captain America, so the new director will have to look for a suitable replacement to stand as a symbol people can rally behind. Considering how the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a fairly strong Inhuman himself, he could easily make a run as a super-powered patriot while restoring belief in S.H.I.E.L.D. in the eyes of those watching.
Regardless of whoever the director decides to recruit for the role, it's up to him to prove to the public that there are good Inhumans who are willing to stand up for the sake of all mankind (not just humans or Inhumans). To accomplish this feat, the director might need to suit up for action or he may even need to don Captain America's costume — either scenario is very possible within the context of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, Comicbook.com suggests he may even be Jeffrey Mace, which makes perfect sense, since Agent Coulson calls him "Jeffrey."
Yes, you heard right, the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. could very well be a known Marvel hero. Jeffrey Mace is a patriot hero who has some close ties with Captain America.
Could Steve Rogers Come Into Play?
Of course, we do have to think of how Steve Rogers would feel about someone else taking up the mantle of Captain America. He might not have the right to say anything at the moment, but his approval would definitely be appreciated by whoever takes up the mantle next. And according to Marvel comics, the shift in Captain America's mantle is fast approaching.
For some time now, it's been presumed that Bucky Barnes would take up the mantle of Captain America. Along with Steve Rogers clearly leaving his superhero identity of Captain America behind at the end of Captain America: Civil War, it presented a perfect opportunity for someone new to step in to the shoes of Captain America.
Then there's also the matter of the MCU timeline aligning perfectly with the Civil War event of Marvel Comics, the same event which saw Steve Rogers apparently assassinated and as a result, Rogers' assassination lead to Bucky Barnes becoming Captain America. Since the comic and MCU timelines are lining up perfectly, it's only fitting for Bucky to take over as Captain America.
However, the Barnes' Captain America dynamic might not come to fruition just yet. Considering that the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been revealed as an Inhuman with superhuman strength, he may be the next to take up the mantle of Captain America. Although, the fact needs to be stated in affirming how the director's superhuman strength or durability aren't what make him worthy of becoming Captain America, it's his connection to Marvel Comics' Jeffrey Mace.
Who is Jeffrey Mace?
In the comics, Jeffrey Mace is a 1940's era superhero by the name of the Patriot. The Patriot later went on to become Captain America in a retconned Marvel universe where the original Captain America, Steve Rogers was frozen during World War II. With the mantle of Captain America vacant, it presented an ideal time for a successor to stand in for Rogers and that's what Jeffrey Mace did. Mace traded in his Patriot identity for that of Captain America.
As to how Jeffrey Mace/Patriot's comic origins pertain to Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is because S.H.I.E.L.D. director Jeffrey Mace ("Mace" now confirmed from the subtitles provided with the episode) has already been confirmed to have a connection to the 1940's as well. All those connecting points are leading to one inevitable conclusion - perhaps two. Out of the two possible conclusions, the biggest result of all these connecting points will see Jeffrey Mace go from S.H.I.E.L.D. director to becoming Captain America.
The prospect of Jeffrey Mace becoming the next Captain America would surprise every Marvel fan, especially after so many Easter Eggs hinting at Bucky Barnes taking up the Captain America mantle. When in fact, a completely unassuming past iteration of Captain America (Jeffrey Mace) turns out to be the perfect successor to Steve Rogers of the MCU. But then that drives another concern regarding Jeffrey Mace. If the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director is revealed as Jeffrey Mace and decides to take up Captain America's mantle, will he transition to the MCU after his time on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is over? For now, we have to wait until an announcement confirms what we all expect to happen, Jeffrey's transformation into Captain America. He already has the superpowers, he just needs a costume.
When word does get out on Jeffrey Mace becoming a pivotal character on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., along with his comic-book origins foreshadowing a major transformation for him, Mace is very likely going to become the next Captain America - or at least some version of him; possibly melded in with the Patriot identity to give Mace a unique superhero identity.
What do you think will happen this season on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D? Will the director take up the mantle of Captain America or is it possible he'll become a different hero like the Patriot or the Guardian - both Marvel heroes which the new director could channel if he were to become an active Enhanced out in the field? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres Tuesdays at its new time of 10 P.M.