WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
Due to the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed forever. In the monster-sized flick, Thanos achieved his goal of uniting the Infinity Stones and, with their god-like power, killed half of all life in the universe. This impacted the Avengers in a major way, as they watched their team members crumble into dust. If the MCU is truly as connected as it's claimed to be, that means the event should send ripples through the rest of this established world, including Marvel Television's projects. Here's how Infinity War may -- or may not -- affect Marvel's TV series moving forward.
First, let's look at Marvel's tentpole television series: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S.H.I.E.L.D., the Marvel series that started it all, kicked off in September 2013 and quickly had to find its footing in respect to where it stands in the MCU. Since then, S.H.I.E.L.D. has established itself outside of the movie's events, while reacting to them as appropriate. For instance, Director Phil Coulson and his team were simply called in to clean up the God of Thunder's mess at University of Greenwich in Thor: The Dark World, whereas the events of Captain America: The Winter Solider irrevocably altered the direction of the show.
Since The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. has only mentioned the movies' events in passing -- and only for a select few films, at that. However, per executive producer Jed Whedon, Infinity War packs a lot of potential for S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The thing that we love about what our show has become is, the movies sort of blaze a path,” he said at WonderCon. “Doctor Strange introduced magic, all of a sudden we could have Ghost Rider on our show. We’re just waiting for that movie to come out, so it can open up a whole new playground for us.”
Of course, S.H.I.E.L.D. wrapped filming on Season 5 earlier this month, prior to the release of Infinity War. Between the immensely secretive film production and the fact that Coulson's team is focusing on a world-ending problem of their own, it's unlikely that audiences will see any major fallout from the film until Season 6 at the earliest -- and, despite rumors, the show hasn't even been officially renewed yet. The only Infinity War-related tidbit Season 5 has offered thus far was a dismissive line, which was more of a wink to fans than a true tie-in.
If S.H.I.E.L.D. were to tie into Infinity War, the show could approach this in a number of ways. For one, they'll probably be interested in understanding exactly why half of Earth's population suddenly disappeared; further, they'd probably lose one or two of their own and want to get them back. For another, Infinity War blew the galaxy wide open for the people of Earth, with Tony Stark, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange traveling to the far-off moon Titan. Though S.H.I.E.L.D. dabbled with space at the start of Season 5, the show could certainly take a much deeper dive next year; plus, they've been prepping the Zephyr for space flight in case the world ends. The show may event pivot and tackle multiverse theory, which Deke has repeatedly brought up since the third episode this season. By hopping to a parallel universe, the team may even avoid Thanos' final act, thus sparing them from random death.