Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has only just concluded its fourth season with both a literal and metaphorical bang. The finale was explosive and shocking, but it also left us with a relatively quiet cliffhanger that had us all wondering what it all meant for the story going forward. Compared to the previous three seasons, this fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was divided into what was referred to as pods, short stints of episodes that told one cohesive story. Season four featured three pods, starting with Ghost Rider, then LMDs and finally Agents of Hydra.
This new format worked brilliantly in showcasing different stories that focused on various aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also contributing to the cohesive whole of the entire season. With that in mind, we hope that the next season of the show will use the same pod format, giving us the opportunity to see even more comic-inspired stories and characters come to life on the small screen. The fifth season might be a long way off, but before anything is officially known about it, CBR throws its hat into the ring with a list of 15 things we hope to see in this next season of the hit Marvel show.
15 SECRET EMPIRE
The Secret Empire event by writer Nick Spencer is currently making waves across the Marvel comic book landscape. It's a story that focuses on an evil Steve Rogers who has seen his history fundamentally altered by a sentient cosmic cube that has turned him into a secret agent of Hydra. And with Hydra featuring so prominently in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a version of this story could turn up in season five.
Obviously, there is pretty much no chance that Chris Evans' Steve Rogers would ever appear on the show, but this would give the producers a chance to approach this story on a smaller scale, with Coulson and his agents only hearing about those developments on the news and trying to fight back against a Hydra that has won. Alternatively, the show could do us one better and put Coulson in Rogers' shoes, and have his history be rewritten into Hydra.
14 AGENT CARTER
It was only a year ago that the second season of Agent Carter left us hanging with a cliffhanger that sadly was never resolved after the series' cancellation. Through a crossover/flashback, season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the perfect place to bring that thread back, and give all Agent Carter fans the closure they all so desperately need.
In fact, Coulson and his team could be dealing with a threat in the present that could be informed by flashbacks to Agent Carter's time. What threat, you might wonder? Zodiac. The criminal organization was teased all the way back in the "Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter" short movie that was featured on the Iron Man 3 home release, a short movie that helped launch the series itself. This would then bring things full circle, and give us answers to questions that were set up a long time ago.
The Marvel comics event "AXIS" by writer Rick Remender was a story that saw the axis of good and evil shift. The heroes turned bad, and the villains turned good. Without the bulk of the Marvel heroes at their disposal, the S.H.I.E.L.D. series could still use the fundamentals of the story as a basis, and turn its entire main cast evil.
It would then be up to certain villains, some from the show's history and some new, to become the stars of the show and fight for good. Coulson and his team would be the ones breaking bad, and if the producers would find a way to bring Grant Ward back to life, this could be the perfect opportunity to have him turn good, and be the one to fight for his friends.
12 ULTRON RESURGENT
Now that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team has taken on Aida and her LMDs, they have some experience when it comes to fighting artificial intelligence. It would then make sense to see the LMD story be followed by another story about an evil AI robot out for world extinction. Ultron may have been defeated in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but a digital backdoor or backup could easily bring him back into the fold.
Without his usual body to control, Ultron could see fit to take control of some decommissioned LMDs and use them for his own nefarious goals. Maybe he could even build one in the image of the actor who portrayed him. We know James Spader is busy working on NBC's The Blacklist, but is there any chance Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could borrow him for one episode?
11 A TRIP TO THE MICROVERSE
With each new MCU movie, the world the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. producers get to play in gets bigger and bigger. Artificial intelligence and magic have now made their way onto the show, but there is still a lot for them left to explore. Key among those would be the Microverse, a concept and universe that was established in the Ant-Man movie as the Quantum Realm.
Whether Paul Rudd would return to his television roots to make an appearance as Scott Lang or not, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents could still come into possession of the Pym Particles technology that could allow them to shrink and enter a whole new world of threats and micro-battles. It would certainly be a different direction to take the team in, one wholly unexpected that could change things up quite a bit.
10 S.H.I.E.L.D. VS THE HAND
For the better part of four years, the main threat that S.H.I.E.L.D has dealt with was Hydra, their sworn enemies, their never-ending battle. Season five could see a bit of a departure from that formula if it would feature the team of spies going up against something entirely different: The Hand, a secret, evil organization of ninjas, an organization that has been seen many times over in the Netflix series Daredevil and Iron Fist.
Not only would this give fans a long-awaited crossover between the Netflix shows and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this would also take S.H.I.E.L.D. out of their usual wheelhouse, The Hand proving to be quite a challenge to deal with. After the events of The Defenders, it could be S.H.I.E.L.D.'s responsibility to deal with other factions of The Hand all over the world... maybe taking them as far as Madripoor.
9 DEATHLOK NATION
In the pages of Uncanny X-Force by writer Rick Remender, "Deathlok Nation" was a story that featured an alternate future filled with heroes and characters that had been turned into Deathloks. It now seems like it was a long time ago, but a version of Deathlok did feature prominently in the earlier seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and fans have been wondering when and where we would see him again.
With season five, the series could bring the character back into the fold as he attempts to fend off an invasion of these Deathlok-ified creatures, and enlist the help of his friends and allies over at S.H.I.E.L.D. Robotic hybrid versions of heroes like Captain America and Black Widow could finally be a way to bring the movie characters, in some form, to the small-screen without the actors portraying them.
8 MARIA HILL
Maria Hill has made a few appearances throughout the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons, but only in a special guest capacity -- never in a starring role. And it's high time for that to change. In the comics, Hill has been an integral and recognizable part of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a very long time, and with Director Jeffrey Mace now dead, the position is wide open. The organization is in dire need of a new, strong Director.
We would love for Colbie Smulders to return to the MCU once more. She could take her rightful place as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and arrive to implement new and different guidelines, least of which could be new blue-and-white uniforms for her agents, exactly like in the comic books. Hill has proven that she can be a strong and ruthless ally and she would make a great addition to the show's fifth season.
7 SECRET WAR
Not to be confused with the plural Secret Wars, Secret War, singular, was an event by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell'Otto that saw Nick Fury send a team of heroes on a mission the government didn't approve of, and then proceeded to wipe the heroes' minds so they wouldn't know about it. Season five could use this as basis for one of its main stories.
Daisy Johnson could find out that an absent Nick Fury had sent her and a few other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents -- maybe her Secret Warriors team if the producers would like to bring Lincoln back in flashbacks -- on a violent mission in Europe. In an engrossing story, the details would be scarce, with Daisy only remembering bits and pieces, and she would have to find the others so that they could solve this mystery together.
6 A CLOAK AND DAGGER CROSSOVER
Coming next year on the ABC-owned channel Freeform, the Cloak and Dagger series will bring these two teenage, super-powered, street-level heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We don't yet know what the series will bring to the table, but the trailer looks promising, offering us a glimpse at characters and a world that could easily mesh with that of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
With Cloak and Dagger both exhibiting new powers that they don't fully understand, it would be easy to see them coming into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar. For a brief episode or two, we could then see these two teenagers interact with experienced field agents that could teach them all about using their powers to be heroes. Furthermore, this would be another chance to entwine and connect the MCU television shows.
After appearing in the second season of the show, Bobby Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird and her ex-husband Lance Hunter both became integral parts of Coulson's team up until they abruptly departed the series near the end of the third season. The purpose was to get both characters to be the stars of their very own series. Only they never made it past the pilot stage.
With no series to call her own, it's time to bring Mockingbird back to the fold and in a starring role once again. As the only member of the comic Avengers to have appeared on the show, Mockingbird is an important and fan-favorite character to have around. After tragically losing Hunter, Bobbi could have no choice but to ignore her wanted status and find her friends once again so that they might avenge her husband's death.
4 S.H.I.E.L.D.'S SECRET HISTORY
Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver's S.H.I.E.L.D.: Architects of Forever limited series explored the secret history of S.H.I.E.L.D., dating all the way back to archaic times. It revealed that such historic figures as Isaac Newton and Leonardo Da Vinci had been members of the organization and had fought in their respective times to save the Earth from unimaginable, terrible threats.
Such notions would make for a fascinating history lesson in the fifth season of the show, and it could even go so far as to cast these historic figures for exciting and fascinating flashback sequences featuring heroes of different eras. Coulson would be fascinated to learn all he could and we could learn even more about the organization than we thought we did, from the show to the movies themselves.
3 THE FOUNDATION OF S.W.O.R.D.
S.W.O.R.D. was the word on everyone's lips during the closing seconds of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's season four finale, when we saw Coulson in space, looking at the stars, urging himself to go back to work. Short for Sentient World Observation and Response Department, S.W.O.R.D. is part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. umbrella. Their main headquarters are stationed in Earth's orbit, and they deal exclusively with alien threats from space.
With movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, so much of the MCU is looking to the stars nowadays. This would make this the perfect time for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to turn its head upward and explore space like never before. And with Coulson's team standing on Earth's front lines to protect it from aliens, that could also lead us directly into something else...
2 A TIE-IN TO INFINITY WAR
You might have heard of this little movie, coming to theaters in May 2018. An Avengers movie, the culmination of everything that came before it, dating all the way back to the first Iron Man movie, a movie that introduced us to Phil Coulson himself. We now know that season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will start later than usual, which means that Infinity War will release while the season is in full swing.
With ample time to plan their season ahead, the producers could have the chance to craft a tie-in to the biggest movie in Marvel's ever-expanding franchise and highlight Coulson as a character as important as any Avenger. A lot of fans have been waiting for a big crossover between the movies and the show, so this would be the perfect time go give them exactly what they want.
1 GRAVITON RETURNS
All the way back in the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we were introduced to Franklin Hall, a physicist who specialized in an element called gravitonium. Hall got tragically sucked into the element to create the major Marvel villain fans know as Graviton. But then, the gravitonium, with Hall stuck inside, was locked into S.H.I.E.L.D's care and never heard from again.
Fans have been wondering when Graviton would make his return and with its fifth season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could finally offer a payoff to one of its oldest mysteries. This would allow the series to come full circle in some ways, with the team now much different than when Hall last saw them. The prospect of a villain with the caliber of Graviton was very promising for the show, and it's high time to see him come to gravitational life as the season's big bad.
What do you hope to see in season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Let us know in the comments!