- Marvel Studios will finally confirm whether Agents of SHIELD is part of the wider MCU franchise, ending years of debate among fans.
- The upcoming official MCU timeline book will shed light on the confusing timeline caused by the expansion into TV and increased output of content.
- The book will address the important event of Phil Coulson’s “death” and will determine whether Agents of SHIELD is considered canon based on how the book addresses his ultimate fate.
Marvel Studios will finally confirm the canon status of Agents of SHIELD three years after the show ended in 2020. Beginning in 2013, Agents of SHIELD centered on the ground-level heroes of the titular organization within the MCU. After the apparent death of Phil Coulson in 2012’s The Avengers, he was revealed to be alive with Agents of SHIELD focusing on his further journeys in the MCU amid the ever-changing landscape of the franchise affected by the feature film releases.
Despite the show referencing this changing landscape caused by MCU movies, one question has always loomed over proceedings: Is Agents of SHIELD part of MCU canon? This has long been the subject of debate among MCU fans, with one half arguing it is canon to the wider universe while the rest argue it had spiraled into its own separate entity. Despite the endless speculation on Agents of SHIELD‘s place within the MCU, Marvel Studios will finally be confirming one way or another whether the beloved show is part of the wide-reaching franchise.
Marvel’s Official Timeline Book Will Finally Answer If Agents Of SHIELD Is Canon
In October 2023, Disney is releasing an official MCU book to clarify Marvel’s timeline. Before Avengers: Endgame, the MCU’s timeline was always fairly linear with only a few outlying case studies like Captain Marvel, for example. Since Phase 4 began though, the MCU’s expansion into TV, the massively increased output of content, and the endless amounts of new characters introduced have muddied the MCU timeline, something Marvel’s official timeline book will finally shed some light on. In doing so, the book will also clarify whether Agents of SHIELD is canon, three years after the show ended.
With the book set to explain the MCU’s confusing timeline, the exploration of Phil Coulson’s “death” in the MCU is unavoidable. Not only is the event important to Agents of SHIELD, but was the catalyst for the Avengers teaming up for the first time and will be explored in the timeline book as such. When concerning the death of Coulson, the book simply cannot avoid the canonicity of Agents of SHIELD. If it definitively states that Coulson died in The Avengers, Agents of SHIELD will be confirmed as non-canon. If it explains Coulson went on to survive among the other SHIELD agents, the show’s canon status will be finally confirmed.
Why Agents Of SHIELD’s Canon Status Is Unclear
With Marvel Studios finally confirming the canon status of Agents of SHIELD one way or another, it is worth exploring why its canonicity is so unclear in the first place. Initially, the show was pitched as a direct sequel to The Avengers. The story spawned from Coulson’s alleged death in the final Phase 1 film and even featured appearances from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in its first season. Combined with references to Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Agents of SHIELD season 1, the show undoubtedly began as a canon inclusion to the MCU thanks to a variety of wider franchise connections.
However, as the show moved further into its run, these canon connections either stopped altogether or became contradictory. From the inclusion of Inhumans and Ghost Rider to Agents of SHIELD‘s own version of the Darkhold that appeared in WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the show’s latter half had several elements that moved it further away from MCU canon. These elements all contributed to the debate of whether Agents of SHIELD is part of the MCU’s established story, something that Marvel Studios will finally confirm more than three years after the show ended.