We'd been promised an exciting reveal as part of yesterday's mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and we certainly got one: the promise of a fantastic new web-series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot! Starring Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Yo-Yo Rodriguez — or Slingshot in the comics — it looks to be a fun miniseries to tide us over until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns. But it's also a radical new approach for #Marvel...
What Is 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot'?
Traditionally, the weeks after the mid-season break were when fan-favorite Agent Carter aired. Sadly, this year ABC canceled that series, but it seems Marvel Television isn't willing to just leave us with no superhero action over Christmas. Instead, next week we'll see the debut of Slingshot, a six-episode digital series! Here's the synopsis:
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot takes place shortly before the beginning of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4. The digital series features Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez, an Inhuman with the ability to move at super-speed. As a person with powers, she must sign the Sokovia Accords. However, the restrictions of the Accords are in direct conflict with a personal mission she’s desperate to fulfill, one that will test her abilities and will include tense encounters with S.H.I.E.L.D. team members.
The premise makes perfect sense. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, Yo-Yo was introduced as a Colombian Inhuman who chose to remain in her homeland in order to fight against government corruption. To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, here in the real world, Colombia's struggle against corruption is ongoing, involving paramilitary groups, drug trafficking, and harassment of whistle-blowers. The country ranks 83rd of 168 in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, tied with Benin, China, Liberia, and Sri Lanka. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Yo-Yo initially chose not to go with Quake's team, instead focusing on the war against corruption in her home country.
The Sokovia Accords will have changed everything. As a registered Inhuman, Yo-Yo's actions are now ultimately reviewed by the United Nations — and, through them, by the Colombian Government. The Sokovia Accords make Yo-Yo accountable to the very system she's trying to overthrow and essentially end her one-woman crusade against corruption. By the time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 begins, it's pretty clear that she's somehow resolved that conflict, and either made her peace with her new limitations or found a creative way around them. Slingshot will explore how she's come to this new way of being.
A Radical New Approach
Marvel has always been interested in launching spinoff shows from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it's hard not to see this as another attempt. Agent Carter was successful, but sadly not successful enough. Last season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. saw Adrianne Palicki's Bobbi Morse and Nick Blood's Lance Hunter written out of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in preparation for Marvel's Most Wanted, but ABC sadly passed on that particular spinoff.
Slingshot is subtly different, though. Where both Agent Carter and Marvel's Most Wanted follow the traditional Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. structure — human stars in a world of superhumans — Slingshot inverts that formula, starring an Inhuman. That may make it a more attractive proposition to ABC, whose interest in the superhero side of the #MCU is pretty clear.
The test of Slingshot's success will be whether or not the show manages to expand Yo-Yo's world enough to make a new series attractive. If Slingshot is to flourish, then Marvel will need to develop a strong, unique background cast; we know regular cast from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be cropping up, but we also need Yo-Yo's Colombian roots to be solidified.
Given Season 4's "Uprising" showed Yo-Yo living a lie in Miami, we need that part of her world to be fleshed out. We need to be left caring about the characters we saw Yo-Yo interacting with in Miami, giving "Uprising" a whole new level of emotional punch when we rewatch it, and making us wince as we see Yo-Yo become close to people we know are eventually going to reject her.
The good news is, even if Slingshot doesn't inspire a spinoff show, it's still a tremendously exciting and innovation. Occasional Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff miniseries could become the new norm, and they don't even have to be released in the mid-season break. I for one would be delighted to see a Deathlock miniseries aired between Seasons 4 and 5 — and who knows, maybe the concept for Marvel's Most Wanted will become become a brief digital series instead?
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I love when Marvel throws us a curve-ball, and Slingshot is certainly that! The character of Yo-Yo Rodriguez has always seemed to have so much potential, but so far in Season 4 she's been largely a secondary character. That's about to change — it's time for Slingshot to take to the spotlight!
Are you excited about 'Slingshot'?
(Poll Image: ABC)