Finally, the first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has ended. It was a painful journey, sticking with a horrendously dull fifteen episodes before the show really kicked into gear. I’ve complained ad nauseam about Marvel’s problem with telling us about Skye’s specialness instead of showing us and you all know how I feel about Agent Ward. On Conan, they described the show as something like “boring characters mentioning exciting superheroes” and that’s totally what it’s like. But, it’s also like something else. Something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Something that I enjoy, deep down in my nerdly bones. Something that keeps me coming back to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. even though I’m getting a repetitive stress injury in my shoulder from throwing things at the TV every episode. Something like… OH MY GOD IT’S STAR WARS.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is like Star Wars, but not the nostalgic greatness of Episodes IV, V, and VI. It’s like the prequels. That’s why it hurts so bad! It’s a mixture of sweet, beautiful promise combined with the bile and rancid ichor of betrayal. After the Avengers movie, we waited with honest anticipation for a show about S.H.I.E.L.D., feeling just like Agent Coulson meeting Captain America for the first time. Our love was pure. And we got Episode I. That’s what this felt like. Shame on you, Marvel. Shame on you.
Don’t agree with me? Let me prove it to you.
Agent Ward betrays his mentor and turns evil, returning to be second in command for a man who’s gone mad with power as he overthrows the organization that brought him all his power in the first place. Holy shit, Grant Ward is Anakin Skywalker.
In the first season, we’ve just watched him become Darth Vader. That makes Garrett (Bill Paxton) the soon to be Emperor, Chancellor Palpatine. It also means that Phil Coulson is Obi-Wan Kenobi. Right!?
It gets better.
This makes the problematic character, Skye, our Padmé Amidala. Makes sense. She’s a love interest who can take care of herself and always has great hair. Also, potentially Skye is an alien so don’t be surprised if next season we find out she’s from Naboo.
It gets even better.
Our team nerds are actually the droids. Fitz-Simmons are R2-D2 and C-3PO. I’m going to suggest that Fitz is the sweet and eternally optimistic R2, who is always called upon to break into complex computer systems and Simmons, bless her geek beauty, is 3PO, always showing off her extensive vocabulary and stiff posture. Also, they’re both Brits. See?
Do you know what this means?
HOLY SHIT GUYS, Samuel L. Jackson IS SAMUEL L. JACKSON. Yup, Nick Fury is Mace Windu. I feel like I should drop mic and peace out. Sure, Sam Jackson is in a lot of movies and portrays a lot of badass motherfuckers, but these two characters are TITANS. This is pretty cool.
I got more.
Mike Peterson? General Grievous. They’re both mostly machine now.
Agent Victoria Hand? Aayla Secura, Twi’lek Jedi Knight, killed during the coup.
But wait, who is Agent Meldina May in our Star Wars analogy? May is a soldier and she’s often known by her nickname, “The Cavalry”, which she hates. She works closely with Coulson/Obi-Wan but might have allegiances elsewhere. Agent May is Commander Cody.
This is where I believe the comparison with Star Wars means Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has hope. It has the potential to be like Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Cody is a major character in that series, seemingly just another clone but he distinguishes himself to General Kenobi and completes several missions with him before the betrayal on Utapau. If you’re a fan of the expanded Star Wars universe, I might also see you making a case for May as Jedi Master Shaak Ti. Either way, pay attention Marvel, because that’s how you do a spin off with a complex mythology and movie franchise that dwarfs your show. You become your own, amazing thing. You don’t rely on name dropping and dragging out guest appearances. You write good characters in interesting, compelling situations unique to your own expanding universe.
Also, you cast Patton Oswalt, because every show needs a wise, clever, small guy back at the base, waiting to… FUCK YES, HE’S YODA. Maybe a series of clones too, but I guess we’ll find out next season.
– Roz Y.