How Doctor Strange Brought Ghost Rider to Agents of SHIELD

Illustration for article titled How iDoctor Strange /iBrought Ghost Rider to iAgents of SHIELD/i

With the delay of Inhumans and the upcoming Doctor Strange, Agents of SHIELD has a much wider world to work in. In a press roundtable after their Comic-Con panel, we talked to executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen about what those things meant for the future of the show.

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Agents of SHIELD introduced the history of the Marvel cinematic universe’s version of the Inhumans in its second season. But, since there was going to be an Inhumans movie in 2018, the writers were a bit restricted in what they could do. With Inhumans completely lacking a release date right now—first pushed back and then dropped from the scheduleAgents of SHIELD is benefiting.

“We do have a little more freedom,” said Jed Whedon. “We’ve told a couple of seasons of stories but now we do have some more freedom. So when we return to focusing on Inhumans, we’ll be able to do a little bit more.” That freedom, Whedon and Tancharoen said, included being able to use some of the classic Inhumans. We’re pushing for Lockjaw.

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As for how Doctor Strange will affect the the show, Whedon said that the introduction of that character and his powers into the universe paves the way for their biggest new character, Ghost Rider. “It’s one of the reasons we think Ghost Rider will fit this year is that the cinematic universe is being opened up into that world.”

“But, as we learned in Thor,” Whedon continued, “the Marvel approach is that magic is just science we don’t yet understand. We’re going to have both the introduction of magical elements in our show as well as very hardcore science.”

While planning for the movies can be a challenge, there are some advantages. “We can start to pose the questions that perhaps the movie will answer for us,” said Tancharoen. “And coming out of we see how that will affect our characters moving forward.”

“It’s sort of how other shows treat a webisode, a sort of ‘I don’t want to explain magic so Doctor Strange will do it,’” concluded Whedon. “Our webisode is gigantic.”

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Katharine is the former managing editor of io9.

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DISCUSSION

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“We do have a little more freedom,” said Jed Whedon. “We’ve told a couple of seasons of stories but now we do have some more freedom. So when we return to focusing on Inhumans, we’ll be able to do a little bit more.”

So my guess is that the Inhumans movie is on the backburner, if not outright cancelled. I can’t imagine Marvel allowing major characters on AoS, as opposed to in a $150 million movie played by Hollywood actors, unless it had become de-prioritized.

To be honest, AoS has always felt a little like the old Star Wars EU. It “expands” the movie universe without really adding to it. If we see characters and storylines trickle up into the movies in a significant way,* I’ll eat my hat.**

*Fifteen seconds of the helicarrier in mothballs does not count.

**DISCLAIMER: I do not own a hat.