Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an American television series developed by Joss Whedon, in collaboration with Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D. It will be produced by Marvel Television, and will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with the films in that franchise. The series will revolve around the character of Phil Coulson, with Clark Gregg reprising the role. A pilot, written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, and directed by Joss Whedon, was given the green-light in late 2012 and filmed in early 2013. The pilot was officially ordered to series on May 10, 2013. It will air Tuesdays at 8:00 pm Eastern/7:00 pm Central on ABC. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been renewed for season two by ABC on May 9, 2014.
On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced that it was purchasing Marvel Entertainment for about $4 billion. Disney CEO Bob Iger said on a conference call that Disney intended to incorporate the Marvel properties across all of its media platforms, including television. In June 2010 Marvel announced that it had hired Jeph Loeb as president of Marvel Television, a newly created division of Marvel Entertainment. In an interview the day after his appointment, Loeb stated that Marvel intended to continue producing animated television series, and that "there's a brand new division that we'll do with live action, where we're working in partnership with ABC and ABC Family to find the right properties, the right characters and develop them.
To start, we will be exploring the one-hour drama field similar to the shows that I mentioned that I've worked on, like Smallville and Lost." In the following months, various pilots based on comics from Marvel's catalog went into development, including AKA Jessica Jones, based on the comic book series Alias, and a series based around the Hulk,though none were given the green-light.
In July 2012, Marvel Television entered into discussions with ABC to do a new show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though at that point it was undecided what the show would be. It was described as "'a kernel of an idea' with a number of scenarios being explored, including a high-concept cop show." In August 2012 it was announced that The Avengers directorJoss Whedon, creator of cult hit shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, would be involved in the show's development. A few weeks later ABC ordered a pilot for a show called S.H.I.E.L.D.; the pilot was to be written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, directed by Joss Whedon, and executive produced by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb. Jed Whedon, Tancharoen and Bell will serve as showrunners if the pilot goes to series.
Joss Whedon stated that the show would be autonomous from The Avengers, saying "It’s gotta be a show that works for people who haven’t seen the Marvel movies. It will please Marvel fans, I think." In a September 2012 interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, Whedon reiterated that sentiment, going on to say "It's new characters. It needs to be its own thing. It needs to be adjacent [to The Avengers]... What does S.H.I.E.L.D. have that the other superheroes don't? And that, to me, is that they're not superheroes, but they live in that universe. Even though they're a big organization, that [lack of powers] makes them underdogs, and that's interesting to me." Whedon explained that while the show would involve people with powers and the spectacle of science-fiction storytelling, it would focus on "the peripheral people ... the people on the edges of the grand adventures."
In January 2013, ABC president Paul Lee said that the story takes place after the events of The Avengers. Filming of the pilot episode began on January 22, 2013 and concluded on February 11, 2013. On April 6, 2013 ABC announced that the show would be titled Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. On May 10, 2013, ABC announced that it had officially picked up the series.
In October 2012, a casting sheet for five lead roles was sent out. Later that month, at the New York Comic Con, Joss Whedon, Kevin Feige and Clark Gregg announced that Gregg would be reprising his role as agent Phil Coulson in the series' pilot, and would "headline" the series. Toward the end of the month, actress Ming-Na Wen was cast as agent Melinda May. In November 2012, Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker were cast as agents Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz, respectively. Later in November, newcomer Brett Dalton was cast as agent Grant Ward. In December 2012, Chloe Bennet was cast as Skye, the sixth and final series regular. In January 2013, Cobie Smulders, who played agent Maria Hill in The Avengers, said that her character may make an appearance in the show and that her commitment to How I Met Your Mother would not prevent her from participating. J. August Richards, one of the stars of Whedon's 1999 series Angel, was also cast in the pilot, though his role was not specified.