*The information below contains minor spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk.*
After Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the most recent episode of the ABC series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., things within the world of the Marvel films and shows have been dramatically changed. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series actually ties into Marvel’s cinematic universe of feature films. Events that take place in the films directly affect what happens in the show, which became a star vehicle for the beloved character, Agent Phil Coulson (played by Clark Gregg). However, following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it appears the entire status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been completely shattered. And in the words of Chris Jericho, “it will never, EVER be the same again!”
After the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, not only is the security and intelligence organization, S.H.I.E.L.D., in shambles, but the new helicarriers have been totaled. The agency’s headquarters, the Triskelion, has been leveled. Director Nick Fury has left his post as director, maintaining the ruse of his own death, and gone off the grid. Senior members of the World Security Council, a group that had the powers to both overrule Director Fury and even command a nuclear missile strike against New York City in The Avengers, were made into metaphorical toast.
The implications of The Winter Soldier were terrifying. S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by the rogue Nazi science and terrorist group HYDRA. Their leader, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, has also acquired Loki’s powerful scepter, an object that grants the user the ability to brainwash others. Through their machinations and manipulations of S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA could have acquired items and intel that can be used against superheroes dedicated to protecting the earth.
In the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The End of the Beginning,” the events were tied into directly before Captain America: The Winter Soldier. During the course of the episode, Agent Jasper Sitwell, himself a recurring character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., was dispatched to the the Lemurian Star. The Lemurian Star was the tanker ship under siege by Georges Batroc and his pirates during the prologue scene of The Winter Soldier. Over the course of The Winter Soldier, Sitwell was released from his mortal coil by James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (aka The Winter Soldier). So unless Sitwell gets some help from the machinery or alien blood that restored Agents Coulson and Skye back to life, he will never be appearing again, unless it’s a flashback.
Also during the course of The Winter Soldier, all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secrets were leaked online. That basically means a veritable Pandora’s box for the organization has been opened and can never be closed. S.H.I.E.L.D. previously maintained a prison of super-powered threats against humanity called The Fridge. The future of maintaining such a facility could now be in question. Many of the denizens of The Fridge, despite being dangerous, have not been granted due process either. Potentially, civil rights advocates could come to their defense now that the secrets of the facility were also leaked. HYDRA could have already set someone like Emil Blonsky (aka The Abomination) free to use for their own ends.
An organized S.H.I.E.L.D. may or may not even still exist in the future. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is to continue, Agent Coulson and his gang on their “bus” might very well become a splinter group and the last remnants of the spy organization. At the very least, portions of the next episode, “Turn, Turn, Turn” still take place before The Winter Soldier. The initial clip released for the episode depicts Agent Jonathan Garrett (Bill Paxton) piloting an aircraft. He soon starts being pursued and is nearly shot down by what appear to be other S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft. This confirms that Agent Garrett is legitimate and still likely one of the good guys, and the infiltration of HYDRA in S.H.I.E.L.D. goes beyond the Triskelion in Washington, D.C.
In another clip that was released on Facebook, Agent Melinda May (played by Ming-Na Wen) attempts to explain her secret, secure phone line she was using on the “bus.” For weeks, May had been, unbeknownst to Coulson, keeping tabs on Coulson and his behavior. In Tuesday’s upcoming episode, May now reveals she’s been reporting directly to Nick Fury. In “The End of the Beginning,” Agent Hand revealed that Fury had recently resurfaced at the Triskelion in D.C. Agent Coulson had been adamant in confronting his boss on the secrets of Coulson’s demise and why he was literally brought back to life. With Coulson’s gang heading to Agent Hand, who appears to be a traitor and wants to eliminate Coulson’s group, it appears Coulson and his friends will have to go on the run. A second appearance for Nick Fury could be on the horizon for the show now. Coulson and the viewers could finally receive some answers. With many of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secrets out and Fury out as director, he’s no longer beholden to keep the secret of what happened to Coulson. However, since Fury is no longer the director and has gone off the grid, he could disappear and never be found by Coulson again. Regardless, the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier have shattered the status quo of the entire Marvel cinematic universe and the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
By Jeffrey Harris
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