Comic fans rejoice! ABC has ordered a pilot for a live-action S.H.I.E.L.D. series written by Avengers scribe-director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
In a Deadline exclusive, Nellie Andreeva reports production on the series will start immediately. Whedeon (Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse), his brother Jed and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon will write the pilot. Whether or not Joss directs the pilot depends on his schedule. The Whedon brothers and Tancharoen would serve as executive producers with Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb from Marvel TV. ABC Studios will produce.
The project is based on the comic series of the same name created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1965. S.H.I.E.L.D. (an acronym for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division in the films) is a secret government organization led by Director Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel films) and his right-hand woman Maria Hill. The group engages in covert missions designed to protect various nations (and the earth) from the likes of super-powered villains, terrorists, aliens and more. Unlike The Avengers, which is made up of super heroes, most of S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel are humans.
When Deadline first reported on the prospect of an Avengers-themed television series, it was undecided if the series would take place within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (set in the same world as the films). “I hear that the connection to the Avengers franchise would be light as the project is expected to be set in the universe and feature some of its themes and feel, but may not include any characters from Joss Whedon’s blockbuster,” Andreeva wrote in July.
The Avengers lived up to its blockbuster hype, earning $1.49 billion dollars worldwide, and grossing $617 million domestically (last reported weekend of August 17). S.H.I.E.L.D. would have much riding on its success — not only would it mark Joss Whedon’s return to television, but it also is the first project of this kind from Marvel TV.
Joss Whedon signed an exclusive three-year deal with Marvel Studios earlier this month for film and television projects.
My POV: I was skeptical when I first heard about this idea, but with Joss Whedon attached to it, my concerns have been put at ease (for now). With such a massive selection of characters to choose from within the Marvel Universe, I’m salivating at the possibilities. You can’t do S.H.I.E.L.D. without Black Widow, Fury and Hawkeye.