It was always pretty much a no-brainer, but the mind-bogglingly huge success of Iron Man 3 sealed the deal: The Marvel Universe is coming to series television.
Following the record-setting bonanza that was The Avengers last year, Disney decided that the best way to fulfill its long desire of expanding its empire onto the small screen was to give its new golden boy, Joss Whedon, the keys. Yep, years after putting up cult classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the criminally canceled Firefly, Joss was handed a big-budget TV show about which a network actually cared.
Soon after, it was announced that Jed Whedon (Joss' brother) and wife Maurissa Tancharoen, who both wrote for Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible, would be joining him in writing the series pilot and then serve as showrunners.
There's been a lot of speculation and only bits and pieces of solid information about the show released to date, so here's a guide to everything we know about the characters, actors, and other elements.
The beloved Agent Phil Coulson, Clark Gregg's mild-mannered and impossibly brave human character, first debuted in 2008's Iron Man and quickly became a fan favorite. He popped up again and again in the films that followed, an average guy fighting alongside the massive, super powerful legends of the Marvel Universe...until he died in 2012's The Avengers.
Yes, his death brought the motley crew of selfish heroes together and ultimately propelled them to saving the earth from invading aliens, but still, it was a tough blow to Marvel fans; Coulson was the guy to whom they could relate.
Luckily, even though he was impaled and clearly very, very dead, the Marvel Universe is one in which people come back from the dead like it was a little sabbatical to clear their heads. And so, Coulson is back to lead this new team, but this time, he's working with all normal (well, still badass, but not genetically altered or Nordic God) agents to stamp out new threats.
What's the Synopsis?
Coulson puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven't been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown... Prepare for an epic adventure that showcases the hope and wonder of the human spirit. This is a world of Super Heroes, aliens and the unusual – of action, spectacle and world spanning stories. The show will speak to the human condition through the lens of our very human, non-powered S.H.I.E.L.D agents – that together we are greater than we are apart, and that we can make a difference in the world.
Grant Ward, played by Brett Dalton
Ward is the ass-kicking hothead that you can't help but love...eventually. Dalton has worked on TV mostly, including playing the president's son in Killing Lincoln.
Melinda May, played by Ming-Na Wen
The pilot and martial artist of the gang. Originally from Macau, Wen has two-plus decades of screen credits, including a long run on ER.
Skye, played by Chloe Bennet
Well this is nice: Skye is described as "fun, smart, caring and confident — with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm." She also is a new recruit and computer hacker. Bennet's biggest role to date is an arc on Nashville.
Leo Fitz, played by Iain De Caestecker
Agent Fitz is a tech wizard and, as such, awkward. Iain De Caestecker is a Scottish actor with excellent taste in hats. He's mostly worked on British TV.
Jemma Fitzsimmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge
A scientist and Fitz's awkward BFF. Henstridge is another Brit with credits largely confined to that side of the pond.
Will Heroes From The Avengers be involved?
First and foremost, Whedon and co. want fans to fall in love with these characters on their own merits. That's what will make the TV series work, not stunt casting. Plus, negotiating the next contracts of Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and all the other big stars has become quite thorny.
Still, don't give up hope.
"If that works the way everyone expects it to work I think that would open up another avenue, another outlet for some of those characters," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told EW earlier this month. "Maybe they guest star, I don't know. I think they're avoiding the cameo of the week on that show, which is very smart."
Whedon has called it "the little guy's perspective," so seeing Thor and The Hulk from that point of view could be quite interesting. In fact, a mysterious clip that included The Hulk leaked, which you can see here.
When will it be on, and for how long?
It'll be an hour-long show, in the 8 pm slot on Tuesdays.