Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has returned after its mid-season break, launching our intrepid but conflicted band into the "LMD" arc. With the Watchdogs planning their retaliation, and Professor Radcliffe pursuing the power of the Darkhold, we can expect this next arc to be a tremendous one. But in a series of interviews, insiders at Marvel and ABC have given us a hint of the show's future beyond "LMD"!
A Third Arc
Each season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is traditionally broken into two parts; one before Christmas, and the other after. With Season 4, #Marvel Television took the unusual approach of splitting the season into thematically distinct arcs; the one before Christmas was "Ghost Rider", and it's now been followed by "LMD". It turns out, though, that there'll actually be a third act! At the TCA Winter Tour, Jed Whedon revealed:
"This year there’s three [story arcs], It’s based on our schedule of how we’re airing. We like to run continuous, if that's possible, so this next [LMD] chunk will be a section and then we’ll be off for a while and there’ll be a third part."
We already have a sense of how this plays out; "Ghost Rider" and "LMD" have overarching narrative ties (such as the Watchdogs and the Darkhold), but a distinctive focus. The question is: what will the distinctive focus of the third act be? It's most likely that we'll see one of these overarching plots move to the forefront, just as the "LMD" arc was prepared for in "Ghost Rider".
The most likely candidate is the Darkhold itself, which has been an important element in both arcs to date. The Darkhold was discovered in "Ghost Rider", where it was used to fuel Eli Morrow's insane experiments; we know that the focus of the "LMD" plot is Radcliffe's pursuit of the Darkhold, with his aim to conquer death. In the comics, the Darkhold has the power to unlock some terrifyingly powerful evils — its evil magic gave the Marvel Comics universe vampires and werewolves, for example. Going further back, it was created by the demonic Chthon, a being who seeks to enter — and conquer — our reality. Is it possible that the third arc will spin out of the Darkhold, perhaps unleashing vampires, or even pitting S.H.I.E.L.D. against Chthon itself?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5
Looking beyond Season 4, though, fans have been wondering for some time whether or not we'd get a Season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Viewing figures have been mixed, and Season 4 has seen lower numbers of viewers than previous seasons. On the other hand, it's actually been performing tremendously well for its new 10.00pm timeslot!
Worse still for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., last year ABC's new leadership — headed by President Channing Dungey — passed on Marvel's Most Wanted and cancelled Agent Carter. Dungey is clearly willing to set Marvel shows aside if they aren't performing as well as she expects.
Excitingly, though, EW has just gotten an opportunity to ask Dungey about the future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. She praised the show's performance, declaring it "creatively the strongest season we've had yet". She then added:
"I’m very bullish on S.H.I.E.L.D. and we’re also really excited about our production with Marvel, ABC Studios, and IMAX, which we are working on for next fall as well."
Although Dungey is giving a nod here to The Inhumans, it's delightful to hear that she's "bullish" about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well. It seems that we've got a good chance of seeing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 launch later in the year — an arc that would undoubtedly take the series up to the events of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. Although it's seriously doubtful we'll see the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appear in the movie, Season 5 is sure to feature at least some sort of tie-in!
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Right now, the future looks very bright indeed for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Season 4 has seen the show go from strength to strength; "Ghost Rider" was a fan-favorite, and "LMD" has launched to tremendous acclaim. Given this series has indeed been the strongest season yet - that hopefully means the best is still to come!
Do you want to see 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' renewed for a fifth season?
(Source: EW; Poll Image Credit: ABC)