(Warning: The following contains mild, largely non-plot related SPOILERS for the season finale of 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Season 3, as well as entirely hypothetical ones for future Marvel projects. If you haven't yet seen the show, then proceed with whatever level of caution your intel suggests is wise.)
As another network TV season draws to a close, and we enter into the long, hot televisual withdrawal of the summer, it's probably a good idea for us to spend a few days obsessing over what we've just seen happen in our favorite superhero-themed shows. After all, it'll be four months or so until we see their like again, with a surprisingly small number of superhero movies arriving in the meantime.
With that in mind, then, it's pretty fortunate that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just dropped a pretty major — albeit subtle — reveal in the closing moments of its recent Season 3 finale. Specifically:
(Note, this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS really start to kick in.)
It Seems That Life Model Decoys Are Heading To The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Or, at the very least, to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's particular corner of it. Y'see, during the season finale's epilogue, it was revealed that Dr. Holden Radcliffe is working on a mysterious new project named LMD.
Which, as fans of Marvel comic books will likely recall, is all but certain to mean that Life Model Decoys are on their way to the MCU.
Just What Are Life Model Decoys, Then?
Well, exactly what they are (and where they originate from) has altered slightly since their first appearance back in 1965's Strange Tales #135, but the general gist of it is that they're incredibly detailed robotic duplicates of pretty much whoever their owners are inclined to duplicate.
They've historically been primarily associated with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. — being used to prevent particular dangerous adventures from turning into suicide missions — but have cropped up in a fair few non-S.H.I.E.L.D.-related tales, becoming a popular running joke among many of Marvel's heroes and villains (it's a common first quip-question when someone comes back from the dead, for instance). That being said, with LMD's tending to come complete with enhanced strength, speed and durability, they've also become a key part of any prudent secret agent's arsenal.
What Does All That Mean For The MCU, Though?
In theory? Nothing at all. There's every possibility that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could take the LMD's in an entirely different direction to what we've seen in the comic books, and surprise us all. Alternatively, though, if the show does skew a little closer to the comics, we might just be in for a whole lot of plot-twisting, curveball-throwing, death-defying awesomeness.
After all, recent comic book plot threads involving LMDs have included both the revelation that Nick Fury was actually in space for most of his modern day adventures, and simply operating an extensive series of decoys and the shocking announcement that Dum Dum Dugan had actually been dead for decades, but had been replaced by a series of LMDs by a grieving Fury.
Throw one of those plotlines into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and you've really got a stew going.
Life Model Decoys Could Change Marvel's Movies Forever
After all, if you throw the possibility that no one you see on screen is necessarily really there into the mix, then a whole lot of intriguing potential storylines open up, especially involving shock resurrections of beloved characters.
What's more, LMD's might actually have been around in the MCU for far longer than we're currently assuming, with Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark attempting to brush off Agent Coulson back in The Avengers by pretending to be one. Now, that could just have been a throwaway gag on director Joss Whedon's part, but if it transpires that LMD technology has actually been around for years, then there's always the chance that we could see some unexpected returns in the near future.
Peggy Carter as an LMD, anyone?
What do you think, though?
Do you reckon there are already LMDs hanging around in the MCU?