If you’ve seen “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” you probably have an opinion about it. Viewers and critics alike haven’t exactly been shy in expressing their opinions about the first-season ABC action-drama, set in the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In that spirit — and with the show returning from a month-long hiatus tonight — for the second time this year CBR has given you, the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” viewer, a chance to ask executive producers and showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen a few questions. And for a second time this year, they answered — opening up on the potential of a tie-in with this April’s film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the Clairvoyant, the unseen cellist Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) talked about in “The Avengers,” character backstories and more (including a couple of fairly far-fetched fan theories).
CBR News: First, let’s start with a rather straight-forward question from Gene L. on something that has gotten a lot of talk and speculation already: “Will there be an episode that ties in to ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’?”
Maurissa Tancharoen: Our show exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so what happens in the films informs the stories and events that occur on the show.
Delving into the subject of who and who isn’t off-limits, Andy N. wants to know: “Even if you can’t go into specific examples, have there been cases where plans have changed because a character you thought was available wasn’t, or a character you thought wasn’t available was?”
Jed Whedon: It was clear from the outset of the series which Marvel characters we could and could not use. The only issue we ever have is scheduling. The actors who play these characters are very talented and busy people.
Jon. A. — from Norway! (or at least so he says) — asks, “Joss Whedon did monster shows before. Are there any Marvel monsters, not just supervillains, you may be introducing? Can you give any hints?”
Tancharoen: There’s room for lots of different stories and genres in the Marvel U. Long story short — maybe and no. And Velkommen! Hvordan har du det?
Likely not a question you can give much of a response to, but I admire Kiran P. for being bold: “Will the Clairvoyant be an original character or someone we know from the comics?”
Whedon: The answer to that question is a spoiler alert, but you’ll get the answer soon enough.
Dexter O. wants to know (intentional rhyme): “Why haven’t you had comics writers involved in creating stories/scripts? After all, one of the producers — Jeph Loeb! — is an award-winning comics writer, as well as a famous screenwriter!”
Whedon: We want Loeb to write on the show. He practically does, with all the notes he gives us.
Tancharoen: He has a pretty full plate running Marvel Television and taking over all of New York City with his new shows that we’re totally not jealous of in any way whatsoever. But he does give his input on stories all the time. We also get input from Joe Quesada. Though Joe is famous for drawing amazing pictures, he’s also a talented writer.
Then we’ve got “Gum Crunch” — likely an alias, but who can be sure — who wants to know: “[May] is still the most vague [character] 12 episodes in. Her story always relies on word of mouth. My question then is, will the viewers actually get a real sense of who she is, not what she is (given her obvious skills), at least by the end of the season?”
Tancharoen: It’s interesting to think of Agent May as vague, especially when she’s one of the most beloved characters on the show. We’ve actually explained more of May’s history than most of the other characters. She’s tough to get to know because she’s a woman of very few words, having lived long and hard enough to know how to get to the point. She plays things close to the vest, because she’s a spy. She has secrets. They all do. The only time we see her guard down is with Coulson and we’ve gotten a real sense of the history and genuine affection there. Through the course of the season —
Whedon: What Mo is trying to say is, “Yes!”
On a similar note, Julia F. asks, “At this point in the show, we’ve learned a bunch of things about all of the main characters and some of their backstories, but there wasn’t a lot of backstory on agents Fitz and Simmons, which are my personal favorite characters. I was wondering, are we getting to know more about their past soon?”
Whedon: In episode 12, “Seeds,” we went back to S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy and learned a bit more about Fitz and Simmons, but some of that was regrettably cut for time. So we’ll explain it here: They are robots from another dimension who created the Earth as an experiment to see what humans do when given fire. That’s a joke. We also have deep love for these two, both as characters and as people, and plan on expanding their history as well as their future.
Tancharoen: As far as the actors, one of them is just a delightful little angel who looks like a porcelain doll, is as delicate as a flower, and as sweet as candy, and Elizabeth is okay too.
Curious how things fit together, Luke A. asks, “I heard leading up to the show’s premiere that it would be set after the events of another film in Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. My question is, are you going forth with that plan? And if you are, have you modified the original plan as far as that’s concerned?”
Roshawn R., a self-professed S.H.I.E.L.D. fan since the Steranko era, asks, “Can we get an episode were Agent Coulson gets to explain what happened to the cellist?”
Tancharoen: We’re not sure, but right now we do have an “expert” giving an “actress we love” a crash course of “cello lessons.”
Another Coulson question comes from J.R.T., who asks, regarding the ongoing story of his resurrection, “Are there clues left in the episodes (a la ‘Lost’) to help people uncover the truth?”
Whedon: I don’t know. Have you found any?
Stu L. is thinking globally, asking, “Is S.H.I.E.L.D. the only organization of its kind in the world, or could we ever see the likes of similar ones like Britain’s MI: 13?”
Tancharoen: It’s not the only organization in the world and we have plans to meet up with other organizations throughout the world, though probably not until a (fingers crossed, no jinxies, poo-poo, red flag ninety-nine times) second season. That’s Jeff Bell‘s knock on wood ritual. The poo-poo red flag part.
I’m going to end with two different theories I received, and they may be way off base, but since they’re unconventional and a lot of thought got put into them, I wanted to float them out there anyway — even though you likely have no comment. Warren B. asks, “Is it possible Ward’s sketchy family history is a nod to an established Marvel hero, and not to a villain? Maybe even a nod to some sort of vigilante who operates outside the laws that S.H.I.E.L.D. respects? Likes to punish folks?”
Whedon: I love this theory. Can’t comment.
Then we’ve got George D., a major Quasar fan who asks: “With the mention of a ‘Professor Vaughn’ several times by Fitz-Simmons is there any plans to work in the character of Wendell Vaughn aka Quasar into the series as a guest or recurring character?”
Tancharoen: Again, we can’t comment.
“T.A.H.I.T.I.,” the latest new episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” airs 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 on ABC.