There are a lot of theories out there about just where Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series will fit into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and those theories were only spurred along by whispers that Clark "Agent Phil Coulson" Gregg would be lending his talents to the project. So is it a prequel to The Avengers? Is it a different timeline altogether? We've got an answer.
Late last week at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, ABC president Paul Lee confirmed that S.H.I.E.L.D. will take place after The Avengers.
"There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe," Lee said. "In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York."
OK, so we've got a semi-definite idea of where this things fits into Marvel's overall scheme, but even if it is taking place in the aftermath of The Avengers, Lee made it clear that this won't have much to do with the Marvel flicks (at least, at first).
"This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They're following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it's part of the world, but we're going to be very, very careful that we don't tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that's what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He's built a world for us."
Lee didn't offer any hints as to how Coulson might make his return from the dead (if he ever really was dead ... right, Coulsonites?) or any clues as to whether any other major Marvel characters would play a big role. He did, however, note that while other Marvel mainstays might eventually pop up on the show, and even make their live-action debut there, the first priority is to giving the main cast the spotlight.
"I think if we're lucky enough to have a great series, we're obviously having fun with that. At this point though, we have a number of characters at the heart of the script who are real characters, who are the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the first task is to make those guys great and relatable and everything that a great show needs. Beyond that, fingers crossed!"
The much-anticipated Whedon-created series is set to start filming any minute. Right now we're not guaranteed anything more than a pilot, but we're hoping the level of awesomeness Whedon brings to it (not to mention the big demand for all things Marvel on screen right now) will give us a full series order.