The “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” cast and crew have been very, very clear about the fact that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will have a big effect on their TV series. In fact, executive producer Jeph Loeb made it a point to keep reminding fans at the show’s PaleyFest panel that they should tune into “SHIELD” Tuesday (April 1), run out to see the film opening weekend, and then catch “SHIELD’s” follow-up on April 8.
“There’s definitely a ripple effect,” co-showrunner Jed Whedon tells Zap2it of what’s in store. “Things that you see in ‘Cap 2′ will be reflected on the show, absolutely. It’s sort of inevitable.”
Loeb says, “This has always been planned from the very beginning. I think everyone will be delighted by what’s going on. We have said always, even from the pilot, it is all one universe. Clearly it is, because we’re telling the story of what happened to Agent Coulson post-‘The Avengers.’ Once you start with that, that world still exists, and that’s one of the things that really binds the Marvel Universe is that universe itself.”
Agent Sitwell, played by Maximiliano Hernandez, is the first character in the MCU to have a role in “Agents of SHIELD” and then go back into the movies — in this case, “The Winter Soldier.” Clark Gregg teases that “he might not be the only one” and says he is also open to bringing Coulson back into the movies.
“My personal door is much more open now that I’m no longer dead. It’s much more open than it was,” he tells us. “I think that so far our show keeps us all very busy, but I think in the right time and place, it’s the logical progression to see some crossover back in that direction. As of now, what’s exciting is there’s a great deal of crossover between the films and the show. Maybe not as much the superheroes that people are after, but I wouldn’t rule that out either.”
According to EP Maurissa Tancharoen, she and Whedon knew about the major events that would be occurring in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” “from the outset,” which allowed them to “know what’s coming and what’s happening.” And as anyone who’s seen a trailer for “Captain America 2″ knows, what’s happening in the movie has a good deal to do with SHIELD.
“It’s clear to anyone who’s seen a recent trailer of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ that everything is not right within SHIELD, and there are forces, whether they’re within the World Security Council or within SHIELD, who cannot be trusted,” Gregg tells Zap2it. “That was a startling experience to those of us who work by day in those outfits that belong to SHIELD. The really fun thing about this to me is that it’s all one thing, it’s all connected. What happens in the movies affects us.”
He quips, “I don’t know if we’re going to be called ‘The Artists Formerly Known As SHIELD’ next year, or if SHIELD is intact. I don’t know.”
Brett Dalton (Agent Ward) says of the film, “It really does not only affect our team but the show entirely, because the events of ‘Captain America 2′ change the world in which we live.”
In recent episodes, Coulson has found himself questioning the orders of his SHIELD superiors. Both Agent Hand and Nick Fury have made decisions that didn’t sit well with Coulson. Elizabeth Henstridge (Simmons) says she likes the social commentary about questioning authority Coulson’s situation raises.
“I think it’s definitely a conversation about the people that protect you — we give them a lot of power, and is that the right thing to do and what the dangers of that is a really interesting social question to pose,” she says. “Coulson’s been through a lot, and he’s starting to question it, which I feel like is natural for the type of position he’s in right now.
“I think he’s questioning it because he cares so much about us, his team. He wants to protect us, whereas when it was just himself as a solo agent, you sacrifice yourself more than you would your team. We’re his children now, so he’s questioning whether or not we’re safe.”
There also is the question of what role Melinda May has to play in some of the villainous storylines this season. Ming-Na Wen admits she already knows what’s going on with May, and that she’s leaving it up to the fans to figure it out.
“I will say that there are many, many surprises coming up, and what I love is because in this world that they live in, it’s very true to situations,” Wen teases. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s contrived.”
“Agents of SHIELD” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.