By Scott C.
Warning: this article will contain minor spoilers for season six of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Like everything in life, all good things must come to an end.
Yes, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sadly closing shop next summer, with season seven being its last. No, this isn’t some cruel Hydra trick, the finale is coming. As such, this year’s San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) panel was conducted to remember the past and to say goodbye to the fans. Friends of Comic Con had a chance to meet with the show’s cast including Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennett, Jeff Ward, Henry Simmons, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley. The cast was also joined by executive producer Jeff Bell, as well as the head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb (unfortunately, some of the cast and executive producers weren’t available for interview at SDCC, due to their busy schedules; although the Hall H panel did have everyone on stage).
Gregg (Sarge) and Wen (Melinda May) stated that they like knowing that the writers had a chance to give each character a proper send-off. Since the finale date was well-known, the reduced uncertainty gave the showrunners more creative freedom. Season seven will have thirteen episodes, which finished filming during the last week of July. Both stars agreed that there are challenges in making a good series finale. “They’re very hard to pull off … very hard to stick the landing,” said Gregg of finales that try to wrap everything up in one go. He also (jokingly) compared his characters to a certain South Park character, Kenny McCormick, since that series killed Kenny in almost every new episode, yet returned alive and well later. There was a similar aspect to the Coulson character as a whole, and this season only supported Gregg’s claim a bit more.
Gregg and Wen both agreed that they won’t forget the amazing work done by the cast and crew, which they believe made it possible for the show to achieve a seven season run. The family relationship amongst the cast also made each fifteen-hour workday “tolerable,” according to Wen.
Cordova-Buckley (Elena Rodriguez/Yo-Yo) and Simmons (Alphonso ‘Mack’ Mackenzie) both agree that change is great when talking about Marvel being creative with their proprieties. As such, they would like to stay within the Marvel universe in any way possible. Simmons said that he “didn’t agree” with Mack and Yo-Yo separating when his character became the boss of Shield. He thinks that both characters deserve to be together, no matter what comes their way. Although, he did like knowing that his character earned the boss role. Regarding the decision to make Mack the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Simmons felt that it was an “Incredible compliment”. Mack has something of a father figure to his personality, so it made perfect sense for him to be awarded that position.
Even off-camera, Simmons still looks out for his fellow actors. He asked the showrunners to give Cordova-Buckley’s character more screen time when she started, due to having good chemistry with her. Because of that, the Yo-Yo character was able to get some “meaty scenes” with Mack, so the actress will forever be grateful for Simmons’ words. Of course, neither of them will never forget the rest of the cast and crew for making this show special.
When asked if fans will see more Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) guest appearances, Bell stated that the showrunners try to prioritize past Agent characters returns first, then try to integrate a new MCU character for the heck of it. The producers want the series to operate on its own, without worrying about the movies. Additionally, both Marvel departments (movies and television) operate differently, although Bell isn’t against the idea of any MCU character popping up. Loeb has in the past recommended that fans keep on watching the show just to be safe, including season seven. Not that fans need this kind of enticement to keep up with the show!
Bennet (Daisy Johnson) and Ward (Deke Shaw) pointed out how diverse the cast is now, just as it was when the series started back in 2013. “We want to see ourselves on camera in a way … see someone else that is similar to them on screen being super, being a hero; it inspires you to do other things,” said Bennet. In general, Bennet and Ward both credit executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen for pushing representation on the show, which they both believe feels organic.
Bennet added that she enjoys playing Daisy, due to her character’s orphan background, ‘never give up’ mentality, and surrounding herself with amazing/lovable friends.
The panel was held in Hall H, which was a first for the series, and included the aforementioned actors, as well as executive producers Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, and series stars Iain De Caestecker (Leo Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons).
The panel was all about thanking the fans and remembering the past, by presenting five three-minute clips. Fans also got a sneak peek of the season six finale, which aired on August 2nd, 2019. Overall, the panel became very emotional as the guests and fans were not ready to say goodbye, yet it was nice to take a look back on past seasons and for the fans to say thank you to the cast and crew for making something special for all to enjoy.
Season 6 as a whole was entertaining to watch. Sure, it went by quickly thanks to the thirteen-episode order, yet I thought the writing stayed solid throughout. No story ever felt rushed nor dull. The action was fine, but sometime it felt as if the budget was limiting what this season could have done when it comes to special effects, or using more extras to help create a horde of people that might have been needed a bit more in the finale. But having a tight budget meant the showrunners had to get creative with each scene, and that was definitely present.
Season 6 also had a decent number of memorable moments that I enjoyed, and the overall conclusion was great to see unfold on my television. The show will be using a particular concept for next season, so I am curious to see if a certain rule will come into play, as seen in Avengers: Endgame. If so, next season could be quite the ride! Of course, the surprises don’t end there, but fans will have to watch and see to learn what they are.
The series is ending but its legacy will live on, thanks to its loyal fan base. As Loeb said during Comic-Con, “The stories we’re telling are aspirational.” Indeed, they are, and it is no wonder that so many fans love this series.
You can catch the final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. next summer on ABC. Until then, don’t forget to visit the FoCC forum to keep the spy chat going.