Last month, Marvel and ABC signaled their intent to develop a live action TV series that would serve as a bridge to the Marvel Cinematic Universe of The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk and other Marvel heroes. Shortly thereafter, Joss Whedon was signed to return as the director of The Avengers sequel while also producing a Marvel TV show. After that, it didn't take long for the project to come together.
Deadline is reporting that ABC has ordered a "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, which will follow the peacekeeping organization headed up by Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury in the Marvel feature films. As created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, S.H.I.E.L.D. originally stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division before being changed to Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate in the early '90s. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the acronym stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division,
ABC's "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot will be written by Whedon, his brother Jed Whedon ("Spartacus") and Maurissa Tancharoen ("Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog"). Joss Whedon is also tentatively attached to direct the pilot episode if his schedule will allow it. Both Whedon brothers will executive produce "S.H.I.E.L.D." alongside Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb.
"S.H.I.E.L.D." also marks Whedon's first TV series since "Dollhouse" went off the air. However, Whedon is best known for creating "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly;" all of which have devoted followings to this day.
As to what the "S.H.I.E.L.D." series will entail, the answers are not immediately clear. It's highly unlikely that any of the characters or actors from The Avengers will appear directly, though a cameo appearance by Jackson's Nick Fury may not be out the question. An appearance by Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill may be harder to pull off, as Smulders' currently costars on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother." As for Clark Gregg's S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, the events of The Avengers probably preclude him from appearing as well.
However, the size and scope of "S.H.I.E.L.D." within the Marvel comics could easily be a springboard to follow other characters in that world and potentially introduce the public to lesser known superheroes.
Production of the "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot is expected to begin immediately, possibly putting it in play for the 2013 Fall TV season.