Infinity War is coming in May. In the meantime, we not only have Black Panther in February, but also Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing its thing on ABC.
There have been a lot of different discussions going on around the last episode ‘Best Laid Plans’, but almost nobody seems to have noticed what could be the coolest crossover they did since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Winter Soldier. In fact, the only two mentions I could find was a thread on Reddit and a comment under the episode recap on the AV Club. And neither of them are taken too seriously.
Did AoS foreshadow Infinity War?
It’s really subtle.
The bulk of the episode isn’t a particularly significant movement. More like the necessary motion to get the stage ready for bigger things. There’s a brief exchange between Coulson and Voss:
Coulson: What makes you sure we caused it?
Voss: History. There was a light in the sky, aliens is what I heard. S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to stop it and failed. Brought Hell to Earth.
As Voss tells it, that “light in the sky” is what started things, and Daisy/Quake finished it by, well, quaking the planet apart. This leads to the future this season finds Coulson’s team: the Lighthouse, with the survivors of the human race living under Kree rule.
What if the “light in the sky” is Thanos and his minions arriving to Earth in Infinity War?
Here’s my theory.
Infinity War will see Thanos arriving to Earth. From what we saw from the trailer, his mode of transportation is through a portal, or at least he’ll get there once acquiring the Tesseract, a.k.a. the Space Gem. We also know that Wakanda (at the very least) will see a large-scale battle between the Avengers and Thanos’ forces. We see Thor in some sort of machine (and the Iron Spider as well) among other stuff that qualifies as “light in the sky”.
If I was in charge of the MCU, I’d send Coulson’s team on a time-hopping adventure that touches on the major events of the MCU: the Chitauri invasion from Avengers, the Convergence from Thor: The Dark World, the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. from Winter Soldier, Ultron from Avengers 2, and of course Civil War. I’d have them meet Doctor Strange, or at least reference his attempts at preventing Thanos collecting the Infinity Stones; we know from Ragnarok that he’s quite active, and he’s in possession of the Time Gem. (And we know from his movie that he has little to none reservations for using it.)
This would explain the time loop, and the quest for changing past events to mitigate Thanos’ attempt at conquering Earth.
In the end, while they can’t stop Thanos, they can arrange the pieces to give the Avengers a fighting chance. And they’re successful enough that Daisy doesn’t need to shatter the planet in what I’d assume is a last ditch attempt at defeating Thanos.
(Not for nothing, but this’d also rhyme perfectly with Tony’s speech to Loki in Avengers: “You’re missing the point! There’s no throne, there is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it’s too much for us but it’s all on you. Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we’ll avenge it!”)
They can’t do that! Can they do that?
Let me write down a couple of reasons why this should not only possible but almost natural. In no particular order:
- Infinity War is a milestone in the MCU. It is the culmination of every movie they’ve made in the last ten years. And the TV shows as well, of course, since those “fill in” the world where the movies can’t. Thanos has been teased since the first Avengers. It makes sense that with Infinity War the MCU – or, rather, Earth-199999 itself – enters into a new era.
- Speaking of: the original Avengers are on their way out of the MCU. Contracts are up. It makes sense to bookend their storyline by bringing back what brought them together: Phil Coulson.
- The writers and directors. With Winter Soldier the Russo brothers proved they can make a movie that ripples through not just the movies but the TV shows as well, and the writers of AoS have proved they can react to that.
- The fate of AoS is up in the air, as of now. We don’t know whether ABC will c
****l or renew the show. The showrunners may or may not know, but ramming AoS into Infinity War makes either an insanely good cliffhanger or an insanely good goodbye for the show.
- Fans have been bitching about the disconnect for years. Ok, this isn’t necessarily the best reason for doing it, but seriously: we’ve been complaining about how the TV shows are treated. I do understand the logistical reasons for this, and in all fairness I think the shows are better off not riding the coattails of the movies. Still, it’d be the ultimate fanservice.
- Through the Disney-Fox deal, Marvel now has everything. (Except Hulk.) Not only that, they have all the money they want to throw at things. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll exercise the kind of creative control we haven’t seen before but is now possible.
- The fail of ‘Inhumans’ means AoS is the single representation of the Inhumans. I always thought AoS did a great job in introducing Inhumans into the MCU. And with mutants now running around in multiple shows, Inhumans may need more shepherding and nurturing for the audience to accept them.
- Set photos show Tony Stark in S.H.I.E.L.D. gear and Captain America clean-shaven and in his Avengers uniform. Those can be for flashbacks (although Ant-Man is present, which brings some huge question marks to that theory) but I’m more leaning to the interpretation that Doctor Strange will be playing with the Time Gem a little.
- The Kree. They’re a significant part of Marvel lore, and they’re essential in the origins of Captain Marvel – and AoS is the single MCU entity to show them. If they want to set up the Captain Marvel movie, and why wouldn’t they, they need the Kree and AoS can bring them to the table. (Yes, I know Guardians of the Galaxy referenced the Kree in the movies, but to hardly enough measure.)
What do YOU think?
You can call Marvel formulaic, and often they are, but they can still pull off surprises in every movie. Can they pull the ultimate subversion, and completely bring together Earth-199999? Let me know what you think!
Next week’s post, barring any world-shattering news, will be mostly about Ironheart. On apropos of the new issue coming out on Wednesday, I’ll gush about my love for Riri Williams.
Starkplug is a weekly blog series covering Marvel movies, TV shows, comics, and related topics. Focusing mostly on the Golden Avenger, it discusses news, speculation, and examines stories through a lens of Transhumanist philosophy and culture.
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