If there’s one thing we geeks love to do, it’s wax theoretical on all the things that could have been or should yet be involving our favorite characters or properties. Whether an unseen final season or a never-produced line of action figures, we want them. Now. Make it so!
Take the backbone of the Marvel movie universe – the unsung heroes, as it were – the men and women of SHIELD, and give them their own TV series. Set within the same movie universe (thereby potentially allowing for guest appearances by some of the named heroes) but focusing on some of the more humdrum, run-of-the-mill supercrime, the series would follow a semi-set team of agents in their globe-spanning fight against terrorists, Nazis, aliens, supervillains, and anyone and anything else the creative team can come up with. Best of all? None of these actors are “too big” for television, and the basic premise allows for easy rotation of cast members as actors fall out of love with the project/get too big for their britches.
Maria Hill – Second-in-command of SHIELD and possible Skrull infiltrator, Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill is the perfect “boss” for the show; because let’s face it, Sam Jackson’s not doing TV. Sure, we might get him in the premiere and maybe again once or twice down the line, but this is going to be Maria’s show. The potential for the Skrull angle also gives us a built-in plotline to be used at some point in the series.
Agent Coulson – Clark Gregg plays Agent Coulson as a somewhat aloof stick-in-the-mud who is secretly a super agent in disguise. Don’t believe me? You haven’t seen the shorts featured on the Thor and Captain America DVDs. Coulson needs to be the point-man of this show, though to specifically say he’d be the “star” seriously undervalues the ensemble approach that would make the show so perfect.
Agent 13 – Not everyone noticed this, but Sharon Carter was introduced in the after credits scene of Captain America – she’s the “nurse” attending Steve when he first wakes up, and she’s played by Amanda Righetti. Steve’s modern-day paramour should be our lead female: strong, self-assured, and assertive. This is our field-team leader and the character around whom most of our drama will likely play out.
Eric O’Grady – Don’t forget: before becoming the Iredeemable Ant-Man, Eric O’Grady was just another agent of SHIELD. There’s already been plenty of speculation about possibly bringing this character to the big screen some day, but I say when it comes to Ant-Man, it’s best to start small. Still, we need an actor who can play both small and silver screen alike; someone who can be both a lovable hero and an irascible dog; someone who can make you laugh your ass off yet be believable under fire; someone like Neil Patrick Harris. Face it, this is Barney Stinson with a bigger gun. Ant-suit up!
Larry Young – Not everyone will recognize Larry Young, but this SHIELD Air Cavalry officer is an interesting character, to be sure. Well-decorated, we come upon Larry as his career is winding down. He’s still got something to offer the team, but his demons will constantly be scratching at the door, threatening to put them in jeopardy as well. Jonathan Frakes blends charisma with the perfect sense of being past his prime to create a believably weak link within the team without becoming so obvious of a liability so as to necessitate a forced retirement… yet, at least.
Jasper Sitwell – You may not know the name Maximiliano Hernández, but you’ll recognize his face. This character actor’s been around, and he’s already visited the Marvel Universe in “The Consultant” short paired with the Thor DVD. He’s not as recognizable as Coulson or as high profile as Hill, but Jasper Sitwell’s comicbook pedigree is long and strong and his presence on the show will help to give it that true SHIELD feel.
The Guest Stars
It stands to reason that any or all of the stars of the various Marvel movies could pop up as guest stars on SHIELD. Integrating heroes from outside of the established movies could be a great way to boost ratings, too. But at its heart, this show has to be about the organization and the people who comprise it, and as such, these guest starring turns and recurring roles are less of the cape and tights variety, and more of the same old same old – with a twist!
Jack Truman – One of SHIELD’s top agents, Jack Truman was always also a bit of a loose cannon. Truman and Young, as a result, butted heads often and eventually became bitter rivals and antagonists of one another. Let’s reunite two Star Trek veterans, then, and give Scott Bakula the recurring role of Truman. When Truman’s ops aren’t being run nearly as by-the-books as they should, a team of SHIELD agents is sent to bring him in. And so begins the plot arc for the show’s first season. Amidst fighting real villains, the SHIELD team must deal with an AWOL former agent who knows them all too well. When the fight finally comes down, Truman and Young collide in a confrontation that leaves both men the worse for wear.
G.W. Bridge – Reprising his role as “the black law officer who’s getting too old for this shit,” Danny Glover takes up the part of G.W. Bridge, a SHIELD agent who just can’t let go. Starring in a single issue (or perhaps a two-parter), Glover’s Bridge is being forced out but he refuses to go gracefully. Young sees so much of the man he’s destined to become, while the younger agents see little more than a delusional old man whose time has long since passed. Give Bridge a heroic death and a pivotal role in revealing a hidden conspiracy (or perhaps a secret invasion) and the character will be redeemed, dying a cautious and sage old veteran instead of an obsessed and delusional old coot.
Abigail Brand – Picking up after the reveal of the Skrull’s secret invasion, SHIELD introduces Abigail Brand as the head of its new division, SWORD. Brand’s flippant nature and uncanny ability to kick ass deserve no less than Community’s Gillian Jacobs to do them justice. If you’ve seen the paintball episodes, you know the Britta can get down and dirty when the need arises. Playing a heavy part in the somewhat alien-centric third season, the strength of Jacobs’ and the writing team could easily carry the character on to her own spin-off at some point; if handled correctly.
Take the above talent and give them an hour-long weekly installment with which to introduce us to the world of SHIELD. One part Burn Notice, one part Star Trek, and eight parts awesome, SHIELD would deliver excitement and intrigue week in and week out, and help to sate fans’ hunger between Marvel movies. It seems a bit like a no-brainer, Marvel Studios. Make it so!