How Will Captain America 2 Affect Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD?

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast

Before we get started with this super-nerdy discussion, I need to start out with a big fat SPOILER WARNING for the events in the recently released motion picture Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as all of the events thus far of the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. If you have not seen the movie or watched all of the show, turn away now. This is your final warning!

Still with me? All right, let’s get started.

So, you went out and contributed to the record-breaking $95 Million debut of the new Captain America film, and you’re one of the 10 million+ people who check in weekly with the Agents of SHIELD TV show, so if you’re like me then you’re probably wondering what the heck’s going to happen on the TV show! It seems like the events of Captain America just about dissolved SHIELD as we know it, with a lot of the notable agents either dying or leaving the organization. Having a vast cinematic universe that interconnects blockbuster movies and weekly TV shows is such an unprecedented feat, so all we can really do is speculate as to how they’ll pull this off. What I’d like to do today is ask a few big questions concerning the future of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and then provide my answers in how I think they will/should address them. Let’s get started!

QUESTION: HOW DO THEY EXPLAIN THE WHOLE “HYDRA IS INSIDE SHIELD” THING?

We’ve been assured by the cast and creators alike that one does not need to watch the recent film in order to understand what will happen on the show, but it’s tough to imagine how they’re going to pull that off. There’s a couple huge developments from the film that can’t be ignored, mainly the existence of Hydra operatives inside SHIELD. So if I haven’t watched the Captain America movie, how are they going to break this to me without spoiling the movie? They haven’t ever even discussed Hydra at all on the show, so they would need to do an exposition dump to even describe Hydra in the first place, and then explain how it infiltrated SHIELD over the years. However, this would definitely spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it Also, Dr. Zola’s explanation of this twist is one of the highlights of the film for Marvel nerds like myself, and you wouldn’t be able to duplicate that on the TV show. So what do you do?!

ANSWER: MERGE THE BAD GUYS TOGETHER!

What I expect they will do, or at least what I hope they will do, is try to somehow merge Hydra with Centipede/The Clairvoyant. It would be a little too much to have there be two big evil organizations being hunted down by Coulson and his team, so it would make a lot of sense for them to meld these two together. It’s possible that May is actually an operative of Hydra, and that’s what she’s been hiding all this time. I fully expect that Agent Hand is a Hydra operative, which would explain why she wanted everybody but Coulson killed in “End of the Beginning”.

QUESTION: HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN AGENT SITWELL’S DEATH?

This is another weird one. They’ve already had Sitwell in three episodes of Agents of SHIELD, not to mention three Marvel movies and a Marvel One-Shot, so they have to address the fact that he was killed off on the TV show. So how do you acknowledge his absence without spoiling his death for everybody else who hasn’t seen the movie yet?

ANSWER: NOBODY KNOWS WHERE SITWELL IS.

It might seem like a bit of a cop-out, but who even knows what happened to Sitwell? It’s just Cap, Black Widow, and the Falcon, right? They were the only ones in the car, after all, and none of those people are working with SHIELD anymore and telling them what happened to their dirty agents. I would expect Sitwell’s absence to just be acknowledged in a throwaway line by Coulson or another agent. “Sitwell is still MIA, so we’re hoping he shows up soon.” That way you get the TV show to acknowledge that he’s gone, but you don’t spoil his great death scene for those who still haven’t watched the movie. Oh, and keep in mind we never actually see Sitwell’s dead body, and it’s not unlike SHIELD agents to come back from the dead. We’re lookin’ at you, Coulson and Fury!

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Episode 8 The Well (3)

QUESTION: HOW FAR DOES HYDRA REACH?

The inclusion of Garry Shandling’s Senator Stern in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was used mostly for comic relief, but it also highlights a very important point: Hydra has not only infiltrated SHIELD, they’ve infiltrated the government as well. Finding out that Stern was dirty also added a lot of context to his motives in Iron Man 2, where he’s asking for Tony Stark to hand over his Iron Man tech to the government. Now we know that Stern was more concerned with making sure this advanced tech was in Hydra’s hands! Anyway, how far does Hydra reach, and how will Coulson and his team figure all that out?

ANSWER: HYDRA IS MOSTLY CONTAINED IN SHIELD, WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS.

Eventually it will get a little lame if we can’t trust anybody on Agents of SHIELD, so I’m hoping they keep most of the Hydra operatives local to the SHIELD organization. Having Senator Stern involved in Hydra means that the government is somewhat involved in Hydra, but there’s no way of knowing how much. I would love if Emily Van Camp’s character Agent 13 would be able to join Coulson’s team for an episode or two. She’s on another ABC show, Revenge, so it could work out! Maybe she finds out that the CIA, her new home if the end of Cap 2 is to be believed, has been infiltrated by Hydra. I know that the whole mantra for the TV show is “Trust No One”, but it will be tiring watching the show just expecting that every shady guy that the team meets is a Hydra operative. It will be like every season of 24, where you’re just guessing the whole time about who will end up being the mole.

QUESTION: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Yes, in case you were wondering, the use of a lyric from a Joss Whedon show was intentional. Extra points if you get that reference! Anyway, where does SHIELD go from here? What are their weekly missions going to be like from now on? SHIELD doesn’t seem to have the big funding that they had before, and now they really won’t be able to trust anybody! Jed Whedon, Agents of SHIELD‘s Executive Producer, co-show runner, and brother of Joss recently told USA Today that the characters will be going from being in “the most massive organization ever created by man” to “a ragtag bunch scraping things together.” So how will that translate to the screen?

ANSWER: A LOT MORE DEATH, A LOT LESS FUNDING.

Chloe Bennett, Skye herself, puts it quite delicately: “Sh**s about to get real.” I would expect quite a few of the agents recently introduced, most likely Bill Paxton’s Agent Garrett, to bite the dust in the next few episodes. We have to see a few big deaths in the showdown between Hydra SHIELD and Classic SHIELD, and with Sitwell already being killed off screen we have to have somebody else bite the dust. I would also expect the funding of Coulson and his team to be drastically reduced. While they never actually officially stated in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that SHIELD was disbanded, I’m sure that they’ll get a lot less funding what with their big fancy helicarriers shooting themselves out of the sky above Washington DC. You would assume that people would trust them quite a bit less after that. I’m sure that they’ll still have cool gadgets and gizmos, but I wouldn’t expect SHIELD to be the far-reaching international agency that we’ve seen on the show thus far.

There’s countless other ramifications that could come from Captain America 2, and I only had time to mention a few of them. How do you think Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD will be affected by the film? Are you more excited to watch the show now? Or have all of the changes to SHIELD decreased your enthusiasm? Sound off in the comments section below, and we’ll hopefully find out more tonight!