ABC Orders S.H.I.E.L.D. Pilot from Joss Whedon

Joss WhedonWe now have a name for the live-action Marvel comics project being developed by geek god Joss Whedon for ABC. Or, make that an acronym: S.H.I.E.L.D.

A covert, quasi-military peace-keeping organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. (or the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) was featured in this summer’s Avengers movie, which was penned and directed by Whedon, as well as in myriad Marvel comic books.

Although it has not been detailed which Marvel characters will be featured in the TV take, on the big screen, Samuel Jackson’s eye-patched Nick Fury oversaw the org as well as a somewhat motley (yet quite mighty) crew populated by the disparate likes of Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow, Tony Stark and Thor.

RELATED | The CW Sets Airdate for Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

The S.H.I.E.L.D. series will be written by Whedon, his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, our sister site Deadline reports, with Joss tentatively set to direct the pilot. Production is expected to get underway immediately.

Does this news have you P.S.Y.C.H.E.D? Which Marvel characters do you hope to see, and who would you (realistically) dream-cast in the roles?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. leigh says:

    Yes. This could be cool.

    • Eli says:

      I’m afraid I smell C.A.N.C.E.L.L.E.D. (/not picked up) all over this. How does this show fit the ABC brand these days? With which other geek/nerd-friendly non-female-skewing soap-ish show will they pair it with? On the other hand, as much as I enjoy Whedon’s work, let’s be realistic, the TV show A18-49 demographic he usually attracts is CW-esque at best.

      • Jessica says:

        The female demographic loved the Avengers and they love Joss Whedon (and despite the fact that comic and videogame producers refuse to accept it they make up around 48% of the “nerds” who consume their products), why would you need to pair the show with something non-female skewing? You could easily put this at ten after Apt 23 and Suburgatory or pair it on a night with Once Upon a Time. Or pick up a companion considering it will be about a year until it would air.

        Also ABC is producing it because they want to further their Marvel brand. Disney owns Marvel and is the one that created the idea of a long-term movie franchise and has successfully implemented it so far. There is Avengers ferver right now and while they do have Cap’t America and Thor sequels and such coming out, there probably wouldn’t be more S.H.E.I.L.D. development until the sequel in 2015 that they could capitalize on. It would be silly of them to not pick up at least a six episode order for a show set in the world of the movie that made them a billion and a half dollars written by the man that made them a billion and a half dollars.

        • Kristina says:

          Exactly. As a geek/geek-friendly, Joss fan and female viewer I’d definitely watch.

          • Mitholas says:

            Plus… Let’s say it the way it is. This show sells itself. It’ll be highly anticipated by geeks everywhere, it’s easy to advertise as a companion piece to the biggest selling film of 2012 and it has immediate credibility for geeks, feminists and gays (and anyone who falls under two or more of those categories) because Joss and his incredibly talented brother and sister in law are running the show. Unless it actually sucks (which would be surprising), I can see this running for a long time.

      • loopychew says:

        Being associated with a powerhouse movie franchise and hiring the man who was the brains behind it–a career showrunner who is now now a household name after by most estimations exceeding the sky-high expectations given him–to help it out suggests that the ratings for the pilot will be pretty high. And as long as they can balance the series enough that it stands alone but throws in bones for the fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to keep them watching, it stands a good chance of retaining a good portion of its audience. It may also end up turning ABC into a completely different kind of network on whichever night SHIELD ends up.

        Then again, it could very well end up a show run by the wife of the director of the Fame remake and Bad Horse Chorus Member 2 that squanders all the goodwill given it by the audience.

        The final option is that ABC sees the pilot, and decides it has no life as a series. It then becomes either a television event, a miniseries, or relegated to the forgotten wastes.

        Still, ABC/Disney is sitting on what could potentially be their new golden goose, particularly as America has already loved the movie version of it, over and over again. Even if it’s not a Desperate Housewives type of show, they may bend over backward to accommodate it.

        • Mitholas says:

          Maurissa Tancharoen is Kevin Tancharoen’s sister, so your mistake is kind of creepy. She’s married to Jed Whedon. And anyone who has ever seen any of their work together can tell you that they have written some frightfully good things. They wrote the best episodes of Dollhouse together, they wrote some of the best episodes of Spartacus together as well. All in all, these two know very well what they’re doing. It’s not just Joss Whedon who is a brilliant TV maker, his brother and sister-in-law have everything it takes to run a great, funny and emotionally engagign show.

      • John DeMayo says:

        But this is a Marvel show, with the potential of cameos by Samuel L. Jackson, and other superheroes. It’s going to come with it’s audience built in… attracting the same crowd that likes the movies.

        Maybe pair it with Castle? There’s the geeky/Nathan Fillion connection.

      • You clearly have never been to ANY con, have you? Whedon has no problems pulling female viewers. And thanks for relegating all geek/nerd fandom to penis owners.

  2. amount of excitement i have for this already is off the charts. Intrigued to see whether Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is involved or not, what with her HIMYM role.
    Regardless though, this has a lot of potential.

  3. Nicole says:

    Literally choking. This is going to be the greatest show. I just have so much emotion right now.

  4. Mikaela says:

    Matt it’s Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

  5. Buddy G says:

    Wow. Good luck to Joss in returning to TV. For some reason, I was hoping for a continuation of Firefly…with all of the excitement of the 10th anniversary and Comic-Con show. I know — silly me.

    • Ali says:

      Me too! bitterly disappointed by that (no continuation of Firefly) and kind of sick of all the comic book stuff, but that’s just me. Firefly transcended that type of stuff. But, that’s what people want now, Reality TV and comic book heros. Maybe we can hope that some of the ff actors (Baldwin) will be cast. That would make me happier.

    • Willa says:

      Firefly belongs to FOX. I think Whedon and FOX television are in need of an extended break.

      • Buddy Glenn says:

        Fox, the Television Studio, owns the rights to Firefly. If Fox wanted to develop a continuing series, they could sell it to any network to air. But, of course, this is a fantasy for Browncoats.

  6. sven says:

    for your less knowledgable writers and readers, the members of the Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk) weren’t SHIELD agents. SHIELD is basically a spy/military group, not a superhero team.

  7. Adam says:

    I can’t wait!!! This so exciting!!! Wonder who will be cast in it.

  8. Ari says:

    A weekly dose of joss whedon? Are there people who would say no to that?

    • I doubt that he will have much involvement after the pilot

      • lorna says:

        JW seems like a loyal dude. Never turned his back on any of his shows, while he had 3 on at once. Don’t be so quick to judge Michael.

        • quick lorna says:

          I doubt he was ‘judging’. Just assuming. And it’s not uncommon for director/showrunner to do his show’s pilot and then back away and let other’s take care of the day to day scripting and directing.

          • murley says:

            except that joss historically likes to maintain creative control of his projects. it would be really uncharacteristic of him to step back after the pilot. jed and maurissa are both great writers and i am glad they are on board.

        • aunt_deen says:

          He did abandon Angel after the third season. Which is probably why the show sucked for the last two years.

          • Alan says:

            actually he was the showrunner of season 5, since buffy ended he was able to devote his attention to the show, and that season sucked because the network executives said it had to be case-of-the-week rather than the over arching story he wanted to do

          • Terry says:

            Season 5 sucked because they did not know going into 5 it would be final season and they had to cram all the stories into last part of season and it all felt rushed

          • simma up says:

            Season 5 did not suck.

  9. Pernell says:

    Wow i’m so excited to hear about this

  10. Jon says:

    I’m SO looking forward to this. Even if it sucks (And it won’t, because Joss Whedon is involved). I can’t wait!

  11. Mandy Mrosko says:

    in theory, it’s a good idea. i love joss whedon, and i’ve loved every bit of the MARVEL movies that have been released the last few years. however, there are a number of key characters that will need to make appearances regularly (nick fury, for instance – and cobie smulders’ character), which – given their overall schedules – would probably be close to impossible to work out. there would also need to be tie-ins to the MARVEL movie franchises (Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, etc.) which could make the job of writing the show, the newer movies, or both nearly impossible.

    Continuity, show-business people, Continuity…

  12. itsmemartu says:

    Everything Joss Whedon does equals quality and entertainment. It’s way too early to say something, but I trust him blindfully.

  13. TV Gord says:

    Joss, I’m begging you! Jessica Drew! JESSICA DREW!!!

  14. nel says:

    This would be AWESOME.

  15. Jake says:

    i feel like the only character from the movies that would appear in this show would be Maria Hill, since Cobie Smulders is on How I Met Your Mother and that might be ending this season, and shes the only one from The Avengers cast that really isnt a huge movie star.

  16. Spice Girls Fan says:

    I’m far too scared it’ll be cancelled too soon to get excited about it.. :(

    • Princess Adora says:

      Yeah me too :( I thought Firefly was going to last a long time and then I got burned. But this is ABC, not Fox, so maybe there’s hope!

  17. El Griefo says:

    I hope they have include Blue Beetle and The Commedian.

  18. Tav-El says:

    Who said anything about this having anything to do with the movies? Any character could appear, played by any actor. Unless I’m mistaken. But…A-listers don’t generally do T.V.

    • katy917 says:

      I’ve been thinking the EXACT thing!! Why is everyone assuming that this TV SHOW has to tie in with the MOVIE! Surely TV shows and movies can co-exist withoput needing to be tied in, especially huge, blockbuster movies! Doesn’t make much sense to tie them in, if you ask me. The TV show can have the same characters as the movies played by TV actors rather than mega a listers. It will still be good, just different.

  19. Fox says:

    It would make sense to see Titus Welliver, Jesse Bradford, and Lizzy Caplan on this considering they are on the Marvel short film on the Avengers BluRay.

    • Alan says:

      more lizzy caplan in my life is always a good thing, maybe shield could recruit her character after item 47 so she wont go to the press about all the crazy stuff she got up to with the alien gun

  20. Josh says:

    Whoa. Awesome news!! Is it possible to get Clark Gregg in the tv version?? That would be perfect!

  21. Henry Hui Hui says:

    Dr Horrible & The Evil League of Evil vs S.H.I.E.L.D

    That’s what the world needs!!

  22. I just hope we see more of the Galaga-playing guy.

    • Willa says:

      It could be really funny if it was from the perspective of the Galaga guy- the nameless redshirts that work at S.H.I.E.L.D but never get any credit. So they end up playing Galaga

  23. Spamburglar says:

    Eric O’Grady. Look him up. My favourite Marvel character. SHIELD agent, terrible at his job, morally corrupt. He gains powers and struggles with his scummy nature vs his need to be seen as a good guy. created by Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead fame.

    • Alan says:

      this is joss wheadon that is basicly the archtype of his reluctant heroes and anti-heroes so i would be hopeful for him

  24. Mark says:

    Awesome! I hope the budget is relatively large for this show so it looks good. I hope it stays true to the movies and the comics. I hope it features a great cast. Please please please.

  25. “Does this news have you P.S.Y.C.H.E.D? Which Marvel characters do you hope to see, and who would you (realistically) dream-cast in the roles?” I’d like to see Mockingbird, for one. She’s a SHIELD agent in the comics, right?

  26. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Joss Whedon is looking more and more like Ron Howard every day. I can’t not picture the baseball cap on him.

  27. Wendell Vaughn, aka Quasar, was security chief of Project Pegasus, which is in the opening scenes of the Avengers movie. Maybe he could show up to.

  28. Amanda says:

    Know who would be perfect for this show? Agent Phil Coulson!

    …oh wait. Damn you, Joss.

  29. Brock says:

    SHIELD is to the Avengers as Torchwood is to Doctor Who. They are the people who run the show when the hero or heroes are not available.

  30. Ali says:


  31. Charles says:

    Titus Welliver, because he is already a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
    Jared Harris because he is Jared Harris, and is straddles the line between camp and creepy ever so well.
    Joshua Jackson, because his sense of drama and comedy would go great in a Whedon show.
    Jasmine Guy would make an kick-a** boss, or an even more kick-a’ ground trooper. (Same with the incredible Christine Adams.)
    Peter O’Meara would make a great lead character or second-in-command.
    The one person who I would absolutely, one-hundred-percent casts in a show that had the slightest chance of being incredibly successful and awesome and work great with Whedon? Natalie Morales (Parks and Rec, The Middleman). Her attitude and sense of comic timing would be great, whether the show is fun and campy or even if it’s darker and more serious.

    • Alan says:

      i would like to add summer glau to that list for several reasons:
      1 she has lots of experience working with joss wheadon
      2 she has no tv gig at the minute
      3 she is believable when kicking ass and thanks to her dancing background can pull off really complex fight sequences like the one from the bar in serenity (made by joss wheadon)
      4 she does accents fantasticly well so she could be their undercover specialist
      otherwise fantastic list

  32. half arsed geek says:

    Maybe a comic book nerd could help me here…was Carol Danvers ever part of Shield or just U.S. military???

    • NedPepper says:

      She could technically be considered a part of SHIELD when Tony Stark was running it. But she was definitely military. But I think Joss is holding out for her for Avengers 2. He wants more females in the cast. And that means Danvers, The Wasp, or Scarlet Witch. But with no Magneto, the Scarlet Witch won’t make much sense. And The Wasp….well, kind of sucks.

      • half arsed geek says:

        Thanks for the answer, Ms.Marvel really does need to be part of the a-team but I was wondering if the Marvel studios people are just terrified of how to pull off female superheroes and maybe wanted to test the waters on tv.

        Think I read somewhere that Whedon has stated he wants to get Scarlet Witch into A2 but yeah, without the x-men belonging to Marvel right now that would be a little weird.

  33. Ali says:

    Oh, M. G. I sure hope we’ll get to see Adam Baldwin in this. It’s so him!

  34. Ashley says:

    Love this, but nervous about it being on ABC.

  35. Drew says:

    The Avengers movie was pretty bad… If the characters weren’t completely stupid, the movie would have been over in five minutes. Which says nothing about the convenient plot contrivances and random personality shifts in characters. The movie was a mess.

    Not quite the mess that the Buffy comics have been. Or the mess that Dollhouse was… Point being, Joss’ name had a lot of power behind it back when Buffy was in its prime and Firefly was rocking the screen. Since then, dude’s lost it. His name now signifies cutting corners when it comes to stories and sacrificing characters in favor of super neat action scenes. And he feels comfortable with that because he has a loyal following which doesn’t ask much of him and will settle for being spoken down to. I was only willing to drink the kool-aid for so long. Can’t do it anymore.

    • i lie to people to make them feel better says:

      You are so in touch with the way things are it’s uncanny.

    • a says:

      This guy must be a DC fan lol

      • Drew says:

        I’m a DC fan who could place any Buffy quote you throw at me into its proper episode. I’m a DC fan who could write a ten page essay wherein I examine the layers of any one of that show’s characters. I’m a DC fan who has watched Firefly over and over again, to the point where lines from the show randomly find their way into normal conversations that I have with people.

        I was a diehard Whedon fan. He was the writer that I looked up to when I was a teenager, trying to figure out how to create characters and worlds for them to live in. I didn’t just watch his work, I studied it. And now, I look at his recent work and it looks like a completely different person wrote it. He has funny lines here and there, but the characters speaking them are hollow. He doesn’t weave intricate plots, he just throws crap at the wall and hopes that nobody notices when it doesn’t make sense.

        You can disagree with what I’m saying and that’s fine, but I earned my Whedon street creds fifteen years ago and have been following him ever since. I was his biggest defender for years, when people made fun of his work. Disagree all you want, but this isn’t the ranting of a guy who doesn’t know his Whedon history. He went from being a lesson in how to do things, to being a lesson in what not to do… and honestly, I think it’s a little sad.

        • dick says:

          So if you’re the Drew that made the post just up from this as well – fine. People have opinions on storytelling and thanks heavens we don’t all have the exact same.
          But that original post had bs like “his name now signifies..” which implies more than just your own opinion…
          And that absolutely condescending crap about his loyal following not asking much and settling for being spoken down to, well that just comes across as someone looking for an argument and insulting people to get it.

    • loopychew says:

      TL;DR: Joss: “What’s that? I can’t hear you over all of this money and adulation.”

      Joss Whedon never had mainstream cred–Buffy was a cult hit that was on a third-tier network station, Angel similarly, and Firefly was killed off in its infancy before either of the other two shows went off the air. Even Serenity had good word of mouth and critical reviews and everybody was hyped about it; what happens when it goes to theaters? It completely tanks.

      His goodwill came straight from the loyal, those who would follow him to the ends of his shows, and thus was probably the purest it could have ever been, but he never had the kind of power you seem to believe he did. Now he does, and now he has the public at large in his thrall. You may have given up the kool-aid, but it’s going to be difficult when everyone else is just discovering it–now those devoted to Joss are feeling validated for their faith in him. They, as may the public, may give up in time, but for now they’re happy to be bathing in it.

      • Drew says:

        That’s the thing… when he was lesser known, his work was ten times better. He developed this cult following because of his complex characters and arcs, and the layered writing that could be dissected for quite a while after it came out. But the more attention he got, the more attention he craved. He took advantage of the fans who fell in love with his work for its intelligence and he banked on the fact that they would follow him to the ends of the earth because he had won that loyalty. To this day, I am willing to give his work a shot no matter how bad it looks, just because of the two projects of his that I thought were incredibly well done.

        I don’t think Joss had power back then. I think he had talent back then. Sadly, the more mainstream he becomes, the more he loses that knack for character and the layers in his plot. He might be swimming in money right now, but it’s only because he sacrificed quality. As a businessman, that’s great. As a writer, it just means that he sold out. And I don’t believe that it was necessary to sell out, because people are still following him for those two great projects he had. They would have gone to see The Avengers if it wasn’t complete sh**. Maybe he just got lazy.

        • loopychew says:

          Personally, I thought the knack for character and layered plot was still fairly present in the Avengers movie. Still, if you believe the movie felt OOC for the characters involved, I’ll agree to disagree with you, but won’t try to dissuade you from your belief.

          Out of curiosity–and I ask this despite not having had the opportunity to watch it myself–did you check out The Cabin in the Woods?

          • Drew says:

            I haven’t had a chance to check that one out yet. I’ve heard it’s good, so I’ll give it a shot when the DVD comes out.

          • Alan says:

            anyone who complains about joss “going mainstream” should watch cabin in the woods, my favourite non-superhero movie this year

        • John DeMayo says:

          But here’s the thing. Virtually *everyone* loved “The Avengers”. Critics nearly unanimously praised it, and so did the fans.

          Personally, I think it’s the most accurate depiction of a “comic-book” onscreen yet. No one could have done it better.

          • Drew says:

            Critics are idiots. Half the time they praise a movie, they have no idea what they’re talking about. They’re useless.

            Fans… cool, whatever. Fans liked the movie. I like comic books. I like good comic books movies. I like scifi. I like pretty much anything that’s done well… and I thought The Avengers was weak. I guess it depends on what your criteria for judging a “comic book” on screen is. In many ways, I’m sure it captured what’s written on the page. But that’s not always a good thing, because this is a movie, not a comic book. What works on the page doesn’t necessarily fly in live action. The witty banter and explosions were supposed to hide a lot of weakness in the actual story, and I suppose it did that for a lot of people. But take that away and you’re left with a movie that just doesn’t hold water very well. Maybe that’s how the comics are. I really don’t read them. But reading the comic book shouldn’t be required for watching the movie. This isn’t a fan film… it was just written like one.

  36. Superhero says:

    This is already the best show on ABC.

  37. cjeffery7 says:

    love love love the writing staff so far. not sure how it’s going to translate to the small screen but i’ll give joss whedon the benefit of the doubt any day.

  38. Sheldon W. says:

    I would love to see a version of a certain contessa from the original comics series – Nick Fury’s insanely talented and beautiful girlfriend, Valentina (in a sense, the prototype for ass-kicking female S.H.I.E.L.D. agents like Maria Hill).

  39. A says:

    Nerds and geeks rejoice.

  40. Lilu says:

    F*UCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. nick1372 says:

    I’m thinking about writing a post about how ABC is the worst possible network for this, but then I realize it actually might be the best network for it. CBS has no sci-fi block and no room to make one. To be on Fox, it would have to settle for Fridays. NBC and SyFy are failures of networks and don’t know how to treat their shows. CW might be OK, but has too low a budget for this to creatively shine.
    ABC could fit it in on Sunday with Once Upon a Time, or make a male-skewing Tuesday block with this, Last Resort and Zero Hour (In my dreams ;-) )
    I’m not an Avengers fan, heck, I haven’t read a comic book in my entire life, but I’ll keep this on my pilot radar.

    • Alan says:

      nice network analysis, although i think it would be better suited teamed with castle since it has geek cred from nathan fillion and is a procedural which this show would most likely be

  42. Matt says:

    Eliza Dushku or Amy Acker as Jessica Drew.

  43. Taff says:

    Yvonne Strahovski as Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel) If anyone could play that role and do it well it would be her.

    • Shaun says:

      Maybe,she’s got some fighting skills.

    • kree hybrid lover says:

      Seriously, she would be my first choice out of known names. I know she can handle the action, she’s got the look – hot blonde with some athleticism – and she’s got more than enough acting chops to handle some of the rougher patches in Ms.Marvel’s story arc.

  44. Shaun says:

    I think this should center on Ms Marvel or Mockingbird.Regular Shield is pretty boring on it’s own.

  45. Gilda says:

    This sounds amazing.

  46. NedPepper says:

    They need Dum Dum Dugan. Nick Fury’s second in command. Maybe Sam Jackson will show up during sweeps. Why not? I still think they’re holding out on Carol Danvers for Avengers 2, but we could get Eric O’Grady (the new Ant Man), Mockingbird, Maria Hill, Nick Fury’s sometimes girlfriend Countess V. Jessica Drew. Maybe even Jessica Jones and Luke Cage can show up. Lots of potential here. (Although Agent Coulson was great…maybe he had a L.M.D.)

    And there are SO many villians. Baron Von Zemo. HYDRA. The Hand. Von Strucker. Nick Fury’s evil brother. (Just so you all know, the current incaration since the 80s of GI Joe is based off of SHIELD. SHIELD/HYDRA = JOES/COBRA. That’s my nerd quotient for the day.)

  47. Svenja says:

    I can’t breathe….these news … *faints* *dream comes true*. Joss Whedon has been my role model for years…I am so happy

  48. Marco says:

    Oh yeah, BEST NEWS EVER! I hope they keep Titus Welliver’s character from ‘Item 47’ as the lead and have the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (Natasha, Phil (#CoulsonLives), Clint, Sitwell, Fury, Hill) as recurring characters. And, why did you mention all the Avengers BUT Hawkeye? HAWKWARD.

    • Alan says:

      we would probably see hill and sitwell every now and then but the rest would be kept for special occasions, especially barton and fury since renner and jackson are in everything ever so would most likely be way to busy to do more than one or two episodes over the lifespan of the show

  49. Anthony says:

    What would be awesome is if they could convince RDJ (or any of the other Avengers leads) to pop in for cameos once or twice a season. Disney certainly has some pretty big cachet when it comes to getting people to stick with their character (if they managed to pull Robin Williams in for a direct to video sequel, I’m convinced they can do just about anything at this point). So, the team of Whedon and Disney may make SHIELD a pretty big budget version of Smallville, with recognizable names. Very interested to see where this goes.