Wednesday night, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, aired its series finale, bringing a run of 136 episodes and seven seasons that kicked off in 2013 to a close. It was a stretch of time and programming so long that many viewers may have missed how the series has impressively shifted, adapted, and worked to complement the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has been unfolding in parallel in theaters. The finale, spreading across two episodes (“The End Is at Hand” and “What We’re Fighting For”), cleanly lays out something the series has done some legwork to avoid directly addressing: The show takes place in a timeline distinct from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though it also has had direct connections to specific movies, including 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.
In the finale, Leo Fitz, an agent of SHIELD. who specializes in engineering and weapons technology, surfaces after a mysterious season-long disappearance. An eagle-eared writer at The Wrap noticed some interesting language Fitz used when reuniting with the other agents: His emphasizing or using certain phrases like “our world” and “multiple dimensions” to explain how the events of SHIELD’s timeline fit into a bigger scheme of things. The final season repeatedly touched on the idea of multiple dimensions, and critics at The Wrap and elsewhere are taking this to be a confirmation that the show’s timeline is distinct from the MCU.
Uproxx further connected dots between the ABC show and Endgame by highlighting Fitz’s traveling between timelines through Quantum Realms.” Uproxx explains: “The Quantum Realm is the show’s most direct connection to Avengers: Endgame, as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp, as it was used by the Avengers to undo Thanos’ universe-upsetting Snap.”
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD was created for ABC by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jed Whedon (Dollhouse), and Maurissa Tancharoen (Mortal Kombat: Legacy), based on the Marvel Comics organization–a peacemaking and spy agency in a world of superheroes. SHIELD joins a growing group of Marvel shows coming to an end (The Punisher, Cloak & Dagger, Runaways, etc.), but many more are on their way to Disney+ including The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (late 2020), WandaVision (December 2020), and Loki (early 2021).
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