The GeeksverseFrom the Fan’s Desk | Marvel scores big with latest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., newest film announcements

From the Fan’s Desk | Marvel scores big with latest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., newest film announcements
Published on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by
ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally rounding into form as a hybrid spy thriller-superhero show while Marvel Studios’ latest round of MCU announcements has us asking: What is Warner Bros. doing to keep up?

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. suffered from a lack of identity for most of its first season—for all the talk of it being the interstitial that would tie the Marvel Cinematic Universe together in between Marvel Studios film releases, it wasn’t until it dovetailed into the larger narrative of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and an overarching conflict with the HYDRA terrorist organization was revealed that the show seemed to find a sense of direction. Prior to that, it was a largely mediocre show, content to tread water and throw Marvel fans the occasional comic book reference. As good as the show did become toward the close of the first season, it seems like the damage from its shaky start may have already been done, as ratings for the current season are nowhere near where they were last year.

It’s a shame, because those viewers who’ve tuned out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are missing out on the show finally kicking things up a notch.

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Thus far, the second season is delivering on the show’s early promise of high-tech gadgets, actual, honest-to-goodness superpowers, operatives who actually act like they deserve to be a part of the world’s most elite espionage organization—basically everything you’d want to see in a show featuring Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. The revelation of the HYDRA conspiracy added a new level of tension and intrigue, really ramping up the all-important spy vs. spy element that was sorely missing last season.

mockingbird1The episode “Hen In The Wolf House” (original airdate: 21 October 2014), is an excellent example of the show replicating The Winter Soldier‘s finely tuned balance of espionage and superheroics with the introduction of Bobbi Morse, the superhero known as Mockingbird, a character with a long publication history in the Avengers family of titles. Mockingbird has always been one of my favorites and I was excited to hear she’d appear in the show. The casting of Adrian Palicki in the role is an inspired choice—Palicki is a big comic book fan and is more than likely familiar with the character—and the show did a great job introducing her to fans, and even had her do one of her signature moves. Marvel released images of the outfit she’ll be wearing in the show the day after the episode aired and along with Skye’s new combat attire, the greater emphasis on spycraft and the gray morality of the espionage game, Coulson dropping the tiresome straight-man schtick he carried over from the films as well as moving away from a field agent role and taking up the director’s post, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting closer and closer to the ideal look and tone that I’d always wanted for the show: That of a series that superhero fans and spy thriller aficionados can enjoy in equal measure.

And for the record, I think Skye’s father is Calvin Zabo, a.k.a. the supervillain known as Mister Hyde, which would make her really Daisy Johnson.

And just for fun, our webmaster Jason Thees mocked up the released design concept (left image) as a way of speculating about how the Mockingbird costume might look with even more of a comic book flair (right image):

On Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 announcements

Yesterday, Marvel Studios held a special event, announcing their next slate of movies through 2020. The so-called “Phase 3” of the Marvel Studios rollout plan will kick off with Captain America: Civil War in May of 2016. The tentative release schedule is as follows:

  • Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016

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  • Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016

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  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017

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  • Thor: Ragnarok – July 28, 2017

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  • Black Panther – November 3, 2017

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  • Captain Marvel – July 6, 2018

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  • Inhumans – November 2, 2018

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  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019

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Throw in Sony’s Spider-Man films and Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four movies and it looks like the theaters will be dominated by major motion pictures featuring Marvel’s superheroes for the next half-decade.

During the press event, it was also confirmed that the upcoming Defenders series; along with the associated Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage series; slated for Netflix will be directly tied into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just like ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also said that the Inhumans would be revealed to audiences well before the 2018 Inhumans film debut, further adding to the speculation that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Skye is an Inhuman, and that Inhumans will supplant mutants as one of the major superhuman populations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since Fox has its grip firmly around the “mutants” brand with its X-Men films. Will the versions of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch set to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron be Inhumans instead of the mutants that they are (at least currently) in the comics?

Also introduced during the event was actor Chadwick Boseman, who has signed a deal that will have him suit up as the African superhero the Black Panther for six films. He will first appear as the Wakandan monarch, in his signature Jack Kirby-designed costume, in Captain America: Civil War.

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There were also rumors in the days before Marvel Studio’s press event that former Doctor Who actor Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to don the Eye of Agamotto and the Cloak of Levitation and play Marvel’s Doctor Strange, but official confirmation of the casting is still pending.

It wasn’t that long ago that superhero fans were all atwitter over Warner Bros.’ announcement of their own superhero movie plans through 2020. Offhand, it seems like there’s more of a community buzz over Marvel’s announcements, which may have something to do with the perception that Marvel Studios has a solid foundation in place with the previously released (and quite successful) MCU films and it has a grand unified vision for its live-action film, television, and streaming projects moving forward, the split rights over the Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men movie licenses aside. Contrast that with Warner Bros. and its partners, with their two-of-everything approach: There will be a version of Flash for the films and a different version for the newly-launched television, as well as competing versions of the Suicide Squad—one in the popular Arrow TV series and another incarnation for the films. And who knows how the young Bruce Wayne in Gotham will tie into the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, if at all? Maybe it makes sense given DC Comics’ tradition of a “multiple Earths” approach to continuity, but it can be confusing for casual viewers. In the words of my fiancée: “That’s dumb.”

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