There it is. The first look at ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
My first reaction: COULSON LIVES!!! While I was pretty sure that Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson would be back in one form or another, it’s nice to see the Bob Newhart of the Marvel Movie Universe headlining the series.
I think the premise seems pretty solid, too. S.H.I.E.L.D. has the Avengers to deal with alien invasions and Asgardian war machines and gamma-powered engines of destruction. But, you don’t call out Captain America to deal with Stilt-Man, if you know what I mean. (If you don’t know what I mean, you’re probably better off.) Sure, Fury is going to want these smaller “incidents” investigated and he’s going to want his top man to head the investigations. I like that the titular agents are all new characters created specifically for the show, like Coulson was back in the day.
Now, about that one bit of speculation that has been floating around the internet. What speculation, you ask? The speculation that this–
–is Luke Cage. I’d be totally happy if this turns out to be Luke Cage for two reasons: (1) I really like Luke Cage and (2) I really like J. August Richards. I admit that the evidence in support of this theory is pretty flimsy: African-American dude, super strength, seemingly invulnerable. I’d also add that Cage has been known to sport a hoodie from time to time–most recently in the animated Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (I’m certain I’d seen him wearing a hoodie in one of his recent comic appearances, but I can’t find any images. Any assistance would be appreciated.)
The arguments against this theory are, in my opinion, equally flimsy. First, they say that Richards doesn’t have the right build to play Luke Cage. Yes, in the comics, Luke is freakin’ huge. But, you know what? So is Steve Rogers. So is Thor. Both Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth got in ridiculously amazing shape, but they’d still look puny compared to the unrealistic portrayal of human anatomy that is the “superhero physique.” My point? Mr. Richards can certainly play Luke Cage even without being built like a brick shithouse. I’d also note that the Luke Cage that appears in Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon is a significantly slimmer version of the character.
The other argument against this character being Luke Cage is that Luke Cage is “too important to be on a TV series.” That…kinda depends on your personal point of view. Yes, Cage is well-known to comic book fans, but a large portion of the potential viewers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are probably coming in as fans of the movies, not the comics. And, Cage’s role as a prominent figure in the Marvel Universe is something of a new thing, coming after a decade and a half of relative obscurity. Furthermore, the synergy between Marvel’s cinematic universe and its television universe means that there’s no such thing as “too important to be on a TV series.” This isn’t like when DC prevented Bruce Wayne from appearing on Smallville because it would conflict with Batman Begins.
Anyways… I’m really excited for this show. The Marvel Movie Universe has made me happier than most other things, and I look forward to seeing it expand to television. In a perfect world, the success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would lead to Heroes for Hire, Daredevil, and maybe even Ghost Rider.
Random Final Thought: I’m not sure exactly how copyrights and such work, but could Marvel’s expansion to television be a way to circumvent outside studios holding the rights to certain characters? They might not be able to mention Spider-Man or the X-Men in their movies, but they might be able to incorporate them into a television series in preparation for the day the rights return to Marvel. Just a thought.