Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.
(Update: A new trailer has been released and you can read my thoughts on it here.) Yes, I realize that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not a movie and that this is not technically a trailer. But too bad, because I could not be more excited about S.H.I.E.L.D., the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which continues the story from The Avengers and is being overseen by the incomparable Joss Whedon. Take a look:
This small tease, which aired during the season finale of Once Upon a Time, contains footage from the pilot episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which was only recently announced as having been picked up for a full season by ABC). The episode was directed by Joss Whedon and written by him, his brother Jed and Jed’s wife Maurissa Tancharoen. The three of them worked together on Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. The preview is only 30 seconds long, but here are some of the things that struck me.
1) Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) narration makes the show’s theme seem similar to The X-Files. He says, “We work the cases that S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t classified: the strange, the unknown. It’s not just spy vs. spy anymore; the whole world’s in on the action.” Joss has said that the series has to stand on its own, meaning it’s not just “The Avengers on TV.” The basis for the show will most likely revolve around Coulson and his agents dealing with unexplained phenomena on a weekly basis, all while interacting with the larger Marvel Universe. When the viral site relating to the show is taken along with Coulson’s line about the whole world being in on the action, we’re likely to get some competing groups/agencies for S.H.I.E.L.D. to deal with.
2) We get a couple of brief looks at J. August Richards (Charles Gunn on Joss Whedon’s Angel), who is in the pilot and is rumored to have a recurring role. There has been a lot of speculation about his character based on this short clip. We see him leaping out of a building while carrying a girl, and then laying a beatdown on someone, giving a sense that he has some sort of superpowers. Many people are laying money on Richards playing Luke Cage or possibly Rage, both Marvel characters. I think it’s 50/50 that Richards is playing an original character. I feel like Joss would be more inclined to introduce an original superpowered individual who could be a recurring character, and instead save the more famous Marvel characters for later. However, ABC/Marvel might have insisted on S.H.I.E.L.D. containing a stronger link to the comics, which might make Luke Cage the more likely option. Either way, I’m thrilled to see Richards on screen again, and I hope he sticks around for more than one episode.
3) ABC/Marvel is obviously trying to stress the Avengers connection, including shots of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America, though without any of the actors from the films. It’s unknown whether anyone from the films would ever cameo, but clearly ABC wants us to think it’s a possibility. The most obvious choices would be Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury or Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. Far more likely, I would imagine, would be cameos from S.H.I.E.L.D. in upcoming Marvel movies, especially in The Avengers 2.
4) It’s thrilling to see a company like ABC/Disney with the entire Marvel host of characters go out of their way to emphasize “from director Joss Whedon.” For us fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly/Serenity and Dr. Horrible, it’s nice to see his ship come in and for him to finally get the recognition he deserves. After all, he did direct the 3rd highest grossing film of all time. He’s such a great fit with TV, too, so it will be nice to have him returning to the small screen, even if it’s only occasionally. And if it helps his adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, so much the better.
5) #coulsonlives. Everyone was shocked when, after his supposed death in The Avengers, it was announced that Phil Coulson would be headlining S.H.I.E.L.D., which would not be a prequel series. Speculation began immediately as to how he might be resurrected. Theories were floated ranging from Life Model Decoys to mystical forces, but to me the most likely explanation is that Fury simply faked his death in order to inspire the Avengers. I trust Joss, Jed and Maurissa, but I hope his resurrection is quickly explained and does not become a drawn-out mystery.
5b) Along those lines, Coulson could not be more badass. He looks completely in control of the situation, continuing the unflappability in the face of craziness (and fireballs!) that he showed in the films. Clark Gregg showed a gift for dry comedy in all of the Marvel films, and expanded his role with a heartfelt sincerity in The Avengers, and I can’t wait to see what he can do as a lead. (Joss was impressed enough with him to cast him in Much Ado About Nothing.) I particularly love the look he gives while walking (limping?) towards the camera. But, of course, the highlight is “Don’t touch Lola.”
What do you think? How did Coulson come back from the dead? Who is J. August Richards playing? Are you glad that Joss Whedon’s plan for world domination is gaining speed? (Of course you are!) Let me know what you think!