There’s no denying, that Marvel’s live-action productions have been going steady and strong on the two fronts of motion pictures and television. With “Doctor Strange” coming this November and more movies lined up after it, the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” has built up a brilliant world wherein different Marvel superheroes move in and interact with another. This carries over into television with “Agent Carter” and the Netflix series “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage” filling the blanks of the movies, somewhat. But the spearhead of this film-TV synergy is the first Marvel TV series set in the MCU, “Agents of SHIELD” which will soon come back for a fourth season.
A significant note on the new season is that it’s now going to air a full two hours from its original evening timeslot from the first season. Marvel comics scribe and head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb tells Comic Book Resources during the Sand Diego Comic Con that a late airing is necessary owing to the story’s turn towards being more of “edge” and grit”.
"The show is pretty violent for something at 9 o'clock [PM],” says Loeb. “But when we get to 10 o'clock, we're going to be just a little hair of something that I think people are going to really enjoy.
A turn towards a darker storyline in season 4 is understandable considering the fallout from the season 3 finale, and planned synergy with the MCU movies especially the ending of “Captain America: Civil War”. An epilogue segment of the finale episode saw SHIELD Agent Daisy “Skye” Johnson (Chloe Bennett) no longer being of the battered and discredited super-spy agency, instead fighting street crime with her powers while the media calls her “Quake” (her character’s “hero” name in the comics). That’s dangerous activity since superheroes have been mandated to come under government control or be arrested in the wake of the “Civil War”.
Furthermore, SHIELD Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) has been stripped of his position and demoted back to field agent, partnered with Mack (Henry Simmons) to bring in “Quake” for unregistered super-heroics. A new director, whose identity has not yet been revealed but will be portrayed by Jason O’Mara, will be brought in to steer SHIELD to a new direction with “a lot more changes”. But the biggest buzz about “AoS season 4” is the casting of Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes, the latest comic incarnation of the supernatural anti-hero Ghost Rider. You may recall Nicholas Cage playing the original Ghost Rider in the 2007 Columbia Pictures film. The Ghost Rider would be the most super- powered Marvel character to feature in the series yet.
Loeb’s dedication to “Agents of SHIELD” is well known as it’s his favorite Marvel TV series. “Without 'S.H.I.E.L.D.,' nothing else happens,” he tells CBR. “We had to prove to the world that Marvel Television could make a television series, and that we could compete in this incredibly competitive atmosphere.”
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." opens its fourth season on Tuesday, Sept. 20 on ABC.
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