When Avengers director Joss Whedon was signed by Marvel Studios to write and direct the sequel to his blockbuster superhero mashup, he was also tasked with helping to oversee all projects that Marvel was developing as part of “Phase Two” of their interconnected cinematic universe, which includes a hitherto unannounced television series for corporate sibling ABC. Well, that television series has now been announced and it is one that will focus on the spy organization SHIELD.
According to reports, Whedon will develop the series, co-writing the pilot with his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Schedule permitting, Whedon will also direct the show’s pilot. Jed Whedon and Tancharoen co-wrote the internet distributed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog with Joss Whedon and have also worked as writer-producers on Spartacus and Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
Since the announcement of Whedon’s involvement with a television series for Marvel, speculation as to what comic property it could be adapting has ranged from a SHIELD series to one that would involve more “street-level” superheroes. Marvel also has a number of projects still in development for ABC Family.
There is no word yet as to which, if any, characters will cross over from the films to the television series. I would find it hard to believe that someone like Samuel L Jackson, who has played the organizations chief Nick Fury in a number of Marvel’s films, would be a regular if the show goes to series, though he could show up occasionally in a guest star capacity. The same goes for Scarlett Johnasson and Jeremy Renner, who have also played SHIELD agents Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton in Marvel movies including The Avengers.
The availability of Cobie Smulders, who played SHIELD Agent Maria Hill in The Avengers, may depend if the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, where she is a member of the ensemble, goes for a ninth season. My guess is that we may see more of Maximiliano Hernández and Titus Welliver, who appear as SHIELD agents in the upcoming Marvel One Shot short film Item 47 which will appear on the Avengers DVD and blu-ray next month.
Now normally we confine our coverage here to just films but given that Whedon’s participation is part of his deal with Marvel for The Avengers 2 and the show will tie into the movie continuity, I felt we could make the exception. A pilot order is no guarantee that ABC will pick the series up, but it is an exciting step in the growth of Marvel’s cinematic universe.