The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. better hope the Lighthouse is stocked up on sunblock.
ABC’s Marvel drama, which over the weekend was renewed for a shortened, 13-episode Season 6 to air at midseason, in fact will not return until Summer 2019, ABC president Channing Dungey announced on Tuesday during an Upfronts Week press call.
Dungey told TVLine that the summertime scheduling was strictly ABC’s decision, and not necessarily out of deference to any of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe’s plans. (Avengers 4 — the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War, the end of which would seem to have significant implications for the characters on TV’s S.H.I.E.L.D. — hits theaters next May.) “Whatever they [at Marvel Studios] have planned, I cannot say,” she hedged.
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As for speculation that Season 6, being S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first-ever shortened run, will serve as the show’s swan song, Dungey told me, “I feel like Season 5 was their creatively strongest yet, so I don’t at the moment have any plans to think of Season 6 as the last season.”
In fact, the summertime schedule could extend the show’s life span.
“What we’ve discovered is that we have a very loyal and passionate fan base for S.H.I.E.L.D. The show does incredibly well for us in delayed viewing,” Dungey explained. “By putting it in the summer, we’re going to be able to ‘super-serve’ the fan base that loves that show and hopefully give it an opportunity to continue on longer than we would if it was [scheduled] in-season.”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs its Season 5 finale this Friday at 9/8c.