Agents of SHIELD will turn in its badge to ABC after the conclusion of Season 7 in the summer of 2020!
As the cast and creative personnel prepare for today’s Agents of SHIELD Comic-Con panel, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb dropped the bombshell that the series will, indeed, conclude, upon completion of next year’s seventh season, leaving what will ultimately be a 136 -episode legacy, as revealed to Deadline. As Loeb explains of the reasoning for the move:
“The simplest answer is so that we can end on our terms, really.” He continues, “How many shows do you know that just suddenly ended, and you feel like, but wait a minute, there was more. Yes, in the chronology of this is we thought Season 5 was the end. If you go back and you look at the end of that season, it is written that way. Actually, the last episode of that season is called “The End.”
As Loeb states about the expectation of Season 5 serving as the finale:
“Honestly, we thought we were turning out the lights and going home when we got a call from ABC that said, the material is so strong, do you think you have another season, do you think you have another 13 because we sort of like this idea of doing it again.”
Indeed, the conclusion of the series appears to be attributed to the show’s story reaching a natural conclusion. He describes the feeling realizing that the show reached that point, explaining:
“When you know that’s what you’re doing, you can take greater risks, of life and death.” He adds, “Those kinds of decisions suddenly now are real on the table because you’re not playing how do we undo this when we get to the next season. You’re playing that this is going to be the end of the story.”
The cancellation of Agents of SHIELD is an outcome that is simultaneously shocking and expected, since the Marvel Cinematic Universe-set series – which debuted back in 2013 – has found itself circled by the buzzards of cancellation numerous times, only to pull off renewals. Indeed, the currently-running Season 6 was announced last year as being an abbreviated 13-episode season, deviating from its heretofore usual full-season fall-to-summer 22-episode runs. Yet, the network surprised fans of the embattled series this past November by giving it an early renewal for Season 7, also for 13 episodes. As it turns out, the endgame for the series was being charted.
Of course, there’s plenty of outside context attributed to the end of Agents of SHIELD, that being the dramatically shifting landscape of Marvel television, which is quickly moving away from outside platforms like TV networks, and, to chagrin of fans, Netflix, corporately consolidated over to Disney’s imminently launching streaming service, Disney+. Yet, that doesn’t make the end of SHIELD any easier, with it being the MCU’s first venture outside the big screen, initially touting the headlining Clark Gregg in his reprisal of mysteriously resurrected SHIELD agent, Phil Coulson. As Loeb continues:
“Well, the bitter side is nobody ever wants anything to end, but it’s going to be amazing, and here’s the best news: Season 6 isn’t over, and you’ve seen none of Season 7. That’s the celebration, there’s still more. It’s not as though we’re going to walk off the stage and say goodbye, you’re never going to see another one of these new stories again. You have to see how this ends, you have to.”
Loeb – and executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Jeff Bell – will face the music in front of fans when he hits Comic-Con’s Hall H stage alongside stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley and Jeff Ward. He addresses in advance any potential outrage of Agents of SHIELD’s cancellation, stating:
“Look, every single show has a fan, who doesn’t understand why it has to go away. By the same token, the sweetness, which is it will always be there. It’s like a great novel, it’s always on the shelf, you can take it down, interact with it. You know that’s the joy now the world of streaming, which is you can watch the whole thing for the rest of your life all at once and not have to really look around for it, and so 136 hours of being able to enjoy these stories over and over and over again.”
The end of Agents of SHIELD – the unquestioned flagship TV series of the MCU – will certainly be a bittersweet event, as Marvel’s live-action arena heads into its next multi-medium epoch.
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