Today’s Agents of SHIELD panel announced that Cobie Smulders will indeed reprise her role as Agent Maria Hill in the new ABC show, set to debut on September 24th. According to Entertainment Weekly, Joss Whedon says it’s because “I wanted very much to have Cobie in the pilot because as much as anyone else, she IS SHIELD.” But we think it’s because she could not rest until she avenged Coulson. COULSONNNN!
The panelists were then treated to a screening of the entire pilot episode. Keep reading if you want a full spoiler-heavy rundown. There are some...big...surprises. (io9 has a great spoiler-free impression here.)
HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD. STOP NOW IF YOU WANT TO BE AT ALL SURPRISED IN SEPTEMBER.
The pilot opens with Agent Grant infiltrating a building and being, in general, bad-ass about it. The fighting is set to a French song, just in case you forgot this was written and directed by Joss Whedon. Eventually, Grant meets up with Maria Hill and we get this great exchange:
Ward: “I don’t think Thor is technically a god.”
Hill: “You haven’t been near his arms.”
As if Smulders showing up wasn’t enough, Ward then gets Level 7-ed by Agent Phil “Lives” Coulson! This makes Ward feel pretty good. Not even the Avengers themselves are Level 7.
(P.S. - Firefly fans should keep their eyes peeled for the presence of a certain Ron “Shepherd Book” Glass!)
The action then cuts to the mysterious hero we’ve seen in the trailer, who the news has dubbed simply “The Hooded Hero.” Agents of SHIELD character Skye suggests not sticking with that name, although she’s a self-proclaimed hacker who lives in a van (“By choice!”) so maybe she’s not the best person to take life direction advice from. It’s also revealed that the term for superpowered folks is “Gifted.”
After an eyebrow-raising riff on the classic Spider-Man line “with great power comes great responsibility,” the action switches to Agent Melinda May as she’s being recruited by Coulson. (Who, we should point out, is amazing at recruiting.) Then British S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Fitz and Simmons show up. It turns out these agents are mostly Coulson’s own team and they have a mobile plane headquarters called “The Bus.” (What about Lola, Coulson’s cherry red car? He drives that to The Bus.)
A “Project Pegasus” is referenced, which is a fairly deep cut, even for Marvel Comics fans. Essentially, it’s a supervillain prison, which could mean the superpowered threats in the world post-Avengers are escalating and that the titular agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be very occupied.
The team investigates the building from the beginning of the episode (which apparently exploded and which the Hooded Hero was involved in). Eventually, the team figures out what caused the explosion and how the Hood got his powers:
This prompts Coulson to make a comment about Tony Stark. As well he might.
The team runs into the Hooded Hero again, but Coulson lets him continue on. Later, he relates what it’s like to have a front row seat to this brave new world full of iron men, thunder gods, and living legends. “I’ve seen giants up close, and that privilege almost cost me everything.”
The episode ends with Coulson walking back to his car, another day on the job done. Skye makes a crack about the car’s age, to which Coulson retorts, “Lola can keep up.”
Then Coulson and Lola fly away.
And finally, dear readers, the world was quiet.
Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and remembers his first flying car and now has, perhaps, said too much.