Agents of SHIELD returns to the small screen in a couple of weeks, and fans are looking forward to a high octane second season packed with new and returning characters, many of whom were announced with the official synopsis today.
"Shadows" - Coulson and his team are now wanted fugitives with limited resources--but that's not stopping them from keeping the world safe from powerful and unseen threats everywhere. However, with new members they hardly know, will S.H.I.E.L.D. ever be trusted again? Watch "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," on the ABC Television Network.
Guest starring are B.J. Britt as Agent Antoine Triplett, Nick Blood as Agent Lance Hunter, Adrian Pasdar as Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, Henry Simmons as Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie, Patton Oswalt as Agent Billy Koenig, Lucy Lawless as Isabelle "Izzy" Hartley, Wilmer Calderon as Idaho, Reed Diamond as Daniel Whitehall, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Brian Patrick Wade as Carl Creel, Matthew Glave as Roger Browning, Simon Kassianides as Sunil Bakshi, George Stephanopoulos as self, Raquel Gardner as Carla Talbot, Ben Turner Nixon as Hydra Officer, Franco Vega as Military Leader, Rich Ceraulo as Soldier #1, and JB Tadena as Private Tilden.
Wait, Peggy Carter? That's an interesting move, but also a slightly confusing one. Peggy Carter was the original love interest for Steve Rogers in Captain America; The First Avenger, and we saw her return as an elderly woman in The Winter Soldier, but how will she fit into Agents of SHIELD?
Sure, she is actually an agent, but she's also from the forties, and will be getting her own TV show set in that time period. Lets look at a few different ways that she could pop up alongside Coulson and his team.
This has got to be the most obvious possibility, as it requires no explanation for the viewer, and is the standard means of introducing characters from a previous time. However, it does beg the question of why she would appear at all? There are several flashback possibilities, the most likely being to do with the new status of the team as fugitives. Without the ability to use SHIELD's vast databases or much of their tech and networks, they will have to return to the way things used to be done way back when. Could they find an old base that used to be headquarters for Peggy, and create a connection that way? Or maybe have to learn techniques that she pioneered - maybe even find an old training video or audio recording featuring her?
2. Other Flashbacks
Rather than using Peggy as a flashback example of how things used to be, it's also possible that the team is dealing with a case that either goes back to the forties, or has a connection to one in the forties. In the style of "Cold Case", we could see the original investigation pan out, headed by Carter, as the team work through it in our time. It's a very simple way of re-introducing her, but would possibly be a bit of a stretch in terms of finding a threat that has been dormant since the war.
3. Modern Day Peggy (and more flashbacks)
This would be a serious stretch, due to her dementia, but it's possible that the team goes to visit Peggy in the same retirement home we saw Captain America visit her in The Winter Solider. She was one of the first agents of SHIELD, so could Coulson go to see her for advice on how to start again, or on how it got out of control? This could even be combined with flashbacks of how the agency got started - something of a Titanic-style storytelling from the hospital bed. It would make sense, as the last season ended with Coulson charged with building a new SHIELD, if the new season starts with the story of the first SHIELD. That would also be a great lead-in to the new show "Peggy Carter" which would theoretically show the building of SHIELD and the adventures she had there as a spy.
4. Dreams and Visions
Another tried-and-true way to bring in a character from another time is in dreams and visions. Given Coulson's fanboy status when it comes to Captain America, it would make sense that he would both know about Peggy, and possibly even feel a connection to her. Could he have some kind of guiding dream from the original agent of SHIELD, or if they found an old base that was previously hers, could we see some kind of supernatural spirit-of-young-peggy-carter guiding him in some way? Honestly, I hope not - it's a little cliche (especially outside of a supernatural/horror show) but it is worth including.
5. Time Travel
This is the most complicated option, but also the only one where we would get to see a young Carter kicking super-butt alongside Skye and the team, which would be awesome (and which would allow for all kinds of time-travel humor as she sees the tech they have at their disposal!). However, how would that actually work, and how would the writers cope with the slew of time travel paradox issues resulting from her popping up in the year 2014? Obviously she goes back to her time, so how does she keep everything she has seen a secret? Would we have to go into memory erasing as well? And why would they bring her forward in time? If the technology is suddenly there, what makes her the number one choice?
Then of course, we have another question. No matter how she is brought in for Agents of SHIELD, how will this appearance link to the rest of the Marvel-verse? Connecting the two Marvel TV shows (much like Arrow and Flash) is a smart move, but a much more difficult one for two shows taking place in different decades. Her appearance here is likely to be an advertising move for her show, which is why I am leaning toward the possibility that we will see a little of how she helped to build SHIELD. It's a great way to whet the appetites of viewers and get them watching the new show.
We also have confirmation that the character of Peggy will be making an appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and from the looks of some of the set photos, at least some of their scenes will be set in the forties. How will this impact her time on the tv show? So far, the two universes are linked, and SHIELD refers to the events of Avengers, so could this create a more direct story link? Will Peggy just be appearing in the movie as a flashback, or (as many have suggested) will there be a time travel element to that plot, and if so, does it link to a time travel element in this one?
With the difference in release times, it would add another layer of complexity for Marvel to directly connect both shows and the movie, but Marvel has never shied away from this kind of thing before.
However they do it, it's bound to be interesting, and I personally hope that it really creates interest for the Peggy Carter show which I am really excited to see.
Update: The first image of Peggy Carter in the episode has been released! It shows her in what looks to be a flashback with some Howling Commandos - which would seem to remove the possibility of "old Peggy", time travel, clones, etc. Of course, this is one image, so it doesn't rue out combinations of the above, but we'll definitely be getting some 1940's flashbacks - I'm still voting for the beginning of the agency!