Fans of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD may be in for a disappointment. Recent changes to the show’s Disney+ listing suggest that the seven-season television series may no longer be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
ComicBook reports that the show has now been moved to the “Marvel Legacy Movies and Series” section wherever it is available internationally. This section is used for shows and movies that are not a part of the greater canon of the MCU, which brings up many questions.
Over the course of its seven seasons on the air, the show had moved further and further away from the rest of the MCU. Despite initially tying in with major MCU movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the show’s final seasons have stayed firmly away from other MCU properties. Now it looks like that separation is to be permanent.
The problem here is that Agents of SHIELD had introduced many characters and items that have suddenly dropped out of the canon. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest ones that may impact the future of the MCU, starting with the upcoming Phase 4 movies and series.
First and foremost, we’ve got the legendary Book of the Damned, the Darkhold. This book of black magic has been around in the comics for a very long time (first appearing in 1972), and it serves as a vessel for the darkest spells in Marveldom.
The Darkhold was first introduced into live-action in Season 4 of Agents of SHIELD. It’s also made appearances in the Hulu series Runaways, appearing in the show’s third season for a handful of episodes.
We got our latest sighting of the evil tome in WandaVision, appearing in the hands of Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) and eventually ending up in possession of the Scarlet Witch herself, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). The show ended with a scene where Wanda was rifling through the book looking for something, and we’re pretty sure it’s going to feature heavily in the character’s future.
Now that the initial appearances of the book are out of canon, it basically means that Marvel is throwing out the playbook on this immensely powerful magic item. Earlier, we knew that the book has spells that corrupt the user, turning them as evil as the book itself, but now, who knows? Anything is possible.
The show’s creator Jac Schaeffer told Yahoo in an interview that this version of the Darkhold is now the official version. What does that even mean? Well, she didn’t really reveal much in the way of details.
“It’s my impression that this is the MCU Darkhold,” she said. “The only thing I can really say about it is that it’s the Book of the Damned, and there’s a whole chapter on the Scarlet Witch in there along with a lot of prophecy language. Other projects will tell you more, probably.”
So as it stands, the Darkhold is now a book of prophecy. In the comics, it was authored by an evil Elder God called Chthon, who also influenced Wanda’s birth and powers, so there’s a pretty good chance that it will lead to him in some way. What actually ends up being canon and what does not? Those are things we’ll just have to wait and see.
Agents of SHIELD’s Ghost Rider
Another thing fans will be anxious to know is whether the MCU will be keeping the Agents of SHIELD version of Ghost Rider / Robbie Reyes, played by Gabriel Luna. The character was a fan favorite, and he was initially supposed to headline his own show over on Hulu before the project was ultimately scrapped.
In all fairness, it’s pretty unclear whether that show would have been canon to the MCU anyway. And now that it isn’t going to happen, it’s not like it matters.
What we do know is that there is a huge fanbase for all the different versions of the Spirit of Vengeance (except maybe the Nicholas Cage movies). Is Marvel really going to throw away such a popular character, especially after they finally managed to get him right with his appearance on Agents of SHIELD?
It seems unlikely that the MCU is just going to abandon the character altogether. After all, a few supernatural elements are coming to the movies in the form of the upcoming Blade movie and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Maybe it might not be curtains for the character, but even if he does return, chances are it won’t be the same flaming skull that became the breakout star of Agents of SHIELD Season 4.
The Inhumans of SHIELD
There was a time when it looked like Marvel was going to phase out mutants and make Inhumans the next big super-species. For a while, it looked like new Inhumans were popping up everywhere, and the MCU was even planning on making a movie on them.
But eventually, that movie turned into a show that both critics and fans would rather pretend didn’t exist. Mutants are once again back in style, and most fans are more interested in how the X-Men are going to be introduced than they are about the Inhumans and their unfulfilled potential.
For a little while, Inhumans did play a big role on Agents of SHIELD as the lead character, Chloe Bennet’s Daisy Johnson / Quake becoming one and recruiting a whole team of them. If the show is going to be phased out of canon, that essentially gives Marvel a fresh slate for the Inhumans.
Would it be great to see Black Bolt, Medusa, and the rest of the Inhuman Royal Family done right on the screen? Of course! But the fans really loved the Inhumans who appeared on Agents of SHIELD, and it would be a shame to lose them altogether.
Agent Phil Coulson
And here’s the big one. Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson is by far everyone’s favorite SHIELD agent. The whole point of Agents of SHIELD was to bring him back after he was killed by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Avengers.
If death is a revolving door in the comics, it’s basically a merry-go-round for this character. He’s died and come back so many times that the writers even added a joke in the final season of Agents of SHIELD about how dying is his superpower.
The chances are that this time, Coulson might just stay gone. After all, if Agents of SHIELD isn’t canon anymore, then all his adventures after Avengers didn’t really happen either.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Canon or not, Agents of SHIELD entertained fans for a really long time and gave Coulson an amazing journey that couldn’t have happened without the show.
We will miss all the characters from the series, but Coulson does have a special place in the hearts of MCU fans. Knowing he was still alive in the MCU was wonderful, but even if that’s not the case, fans can be content that he’s still out there somewhere in the vast multiverse that Marvel is building for the silver screen. In the meantime, the show is still available on Netflix in the US, in case you’d like to relive that journey one more time.
What do you think of Agents of SHIELD being removed from canon? Are there any characters or items that you’d like to see retained in the MCU? Let us know in the comments.