If there's one thing Marvel loves, it's Easter Eggs — little nods that are there for the fans, sometimes to point to the future, and sometimes just to raise a smile. Right now, Marvel is playing the long game, and in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 episode "The Man Behind The Shield", they may have just dropped a fascinating teaser. If I'm right, this could hint at the future of one key character — Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man!
A Convenient Name-Drop
The episode opens with Director Jeffrey Mace in the hands of the Watchdogs, and S.H.I.E.L.D. working to get him back. When they track the Watchdog leader down, though, Coulson puts together a strike-team, featuring all the key names, and a couple of extras — one of whom is referred to as "Agent Morales".
Now, it's worth noting that there is one Agent Morales over in the comics — a woman who notably crossed paths with X-Force, and became an ally of X-23. But given the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the episode was male, and the character hasn't cropped up since the mid-2000s, I think it's safe to rule Alisande Morales out.
Instead, let me point you to Brooklyn-born Jefferson Davis, who got involved with street gangs and was bailed out by none other than Nick Fury. Jefferson became Fury's mole in New York's crime scene, and stayed on the fringes of S.H.I.E.L.D. for years — even as he met and fell in love with a woman named Rio Morales. They had a son together, but ultimately Jefferson's criminal activities became an inseparable barrier between the two, and he headed off. Although he dearly loved his son, Jefferson's life choices often made him something of an absent father-figure, especially as his ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. deepened in recent years.
Could This Be Setup For Miles Morales?
Let's be honest; this is a very tenuous link. That said, Marvel love to play the Easter Egg game, and I find it impossible to believe they threw a surname like 'Morales' in there without a grin. At the least, this is a subtle Easter Egg that will never be developed; but like all the best Easter Eggs, it also has the potential to be revisited further down the line.
While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become darker in tone, Marvel Television is broadening out its range by working on shows to appeal to younger viewers. They've started filming on both Runaways and Cloak and Dagger, both of which star fan-favorite teen characters; given that's the case, it's only a matter of time before Marvel consider adding Miles Morales into the mix.
The real question, of course, is how Miles Morales could possibly fit into the #MCU. Spider-Man: Homecoming may well be broadening Spider-Man's universe out, with Tiffany Espensen playing a character named 'Cindy', believed by many to be Cindy Moon, a.k.a. Silk. But we've not had any hint that Marvel Studios is showing interest in Miles Morales right now.
Marvel Television has a history of picking up Marvel Studios's rejects; both Inhumans and Runaways originally started out as movie ideas, and only became TV projects when the studio passed on them. So if Marvel Studios has passed up on Miles Morales, it would be no surprise for Marvel Television to step in. That said, in this case there would be an added layer of complexity, given that the rights are owned by Sony and Marvel Television would need to make their own deal in order to use the character.
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Right now, it's best to view this as nothing more than an amusing Easter Egg — but one that's rich in potential. There's no doubt in my mind that Marvel knew some fans would pick up on this, but whether or not it will ever come to mean anything in the grand scheme of the MCU? Only time will tell.
Do you think 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' just started setting up Miles Morales?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)