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Behind The S.H.I.E.L.D.: Tidbits From The Marvel Field

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Written by Will Bundy

Having been a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, I am very excited to see what Joss Whedon does with the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.  It seems like a match made in heaven, given Whedon’s affinity for the Marvel universe as a whole, and his stellar (in my opinion) work on The Avengers, the sequel of which he will be writing and directing as well.

Whedon is also acting as Marvel’s overall consultant right now on their strategy, which should, given his involvement on the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, prove to be a very interesting way of expanding their reach into the world of pop culture and immersing audiences more into their various, integrated Phases, a strategy which looks to be creating a whole cinematic universe of it’s own.

Speaking recently to TVLine about his work as director/co-writer on the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, he said that:

I’m very excited about the show because it’s a hopeful show…it’s not about murder, and it’s not about crime, and it’s not about people looking into their own belly buttons.  It’s about people who are trying to help each other, and that’s one of the things I love about comic books.  They had costumes and the villains were cool [but] they stood for something, and I like doing a show that does that.

We’re trying very hard to be true to [Marvel’s] ethos and also to the structure of their universe.  So it’s definitely a Marvel show.

If nothing else, Whedon knows how to appeal to fans and he’s always had a knack for knowing just what to include and how to wink at the audience without feeling cheap. It gives me a lot of hope to hear how involved he is with the show and how passionate he sounds.

In addition, it looks like Maria Hill might be back, but on a limited basis. Whedon indicated that Cobie Smulders’ schedule “will permit very little movement…but if we can get a hold of her anytime, we will.”  There is also of the course the question of whether additional characters may make their way into the series, and on that matter Whedon only had this to say:

Right now, I want to involve people in the characters that we’ve created for the show and then we’ll worry about the other stuff.

This is smart in my view, as you have to build a foundation before you can build a house, and with the way that Marvel is currently going, they have a shot at a house worthy of the ages.  A house even fit perhaps for Charles Xavier (although Fox may have other ideas, ahem).

DC have their own house too, but unlike Marvel’s, it’s plans aren’t coming to fruition quite as much, given that they to want a Justice League movie to compete with The Avengers 2, but with no unified strategy.  This is all the more apparent when you consider that S.H.I.E.L.D.  will most likely be competing against the already popular Arrow next fall, marking the first time since the 70s that both Marvel and DC will have live-action prime-time shows on the air.

I wish them all the luck in the world, but ultimately I feel that with Marvel’s unified strategy in place and built-in audience at this point, thanks to the movies already released, they will stand a much better chance ultimately than DC in gaining ground in the TV world.

This will be helped enormously by Whedon’s penchant for humor and humanizing his characters, and given what he has said so far about S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m looking forward to what Marvel has planned for us with great anticipation.

Do you think S.H.I.E.L.D. will be able to compete with Arrow‘s already significant audience?

About the author

Will Bundy