What clues to the Marvel Cinematic Universe were hidden in the SHIELD premiere?

One of the things the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been careful about so far is tying events in the movies too closely to events in real life. Even though part of the draw of the original Marvel comics was that its characters lived and worked in the world we recognized, in New York and Chicago and all over the Earth, it was still a world with some big fantasy elements mixed in, heightened.

As a result, they've been careful not to use real world leaders in the films, instead creating their own characters. President Ellis (William Sandler) showed up in “Iron Man 3,” where he came into direct contact with Tony Stark, and last night, he resurfaced on “Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD,” announcing the formation of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit.

And why wouldn't he? After all, an evil robot tried to make humanity extinct by dropping an entire country in “Avengers: Age Of Ultron,” and that's just the latest gigantic disaster that somehow involved the Avengers or the other characters in the Marvel universe. Thanks to the release of the terrigen into the environment, people are starting to transform into Inhumans all over the world now, unsure what's happening to them, and that's going to keep Coulson and his team fairly busy.

What I'm curious about now is just how much of the legwork that the show is doing is going to be paid off when they finally make “Inhumans” for 2019. At this point, I think anyone who bets against a Marvel movie just based on whether or not the characters are well-known is not paying attention, because they've proven at this point that Marvel is the name that matters most to movie-goers, not just the individual characters. If all of the work they're doing on “SHIELD” does eventually pay off in the “Inhumans,” I hope Chloe Bennet is involved. She has gotten more comfortable every season of the show, and now that Daisy has her powers, she's heavily involved in finding the rest of the Inhumans and trying to train them. The shooting of the film is still three years away, giving her even more time to play the character and grow as an actor. By that point, she'll be seven years into playing the character (provided the show continues on ABC, of course), and she'll bring a real weight to the project. It's one thing to say, “I've been a superhero for seven years,” but it's another thing to have the actual time in the trenches doing it. When you see Downey or Evans or Hemsworth or Johansson in action right now, you're seeing real experience because they've been doing it for a while now, and they get more and more comfortable with the details of the characters, much of the process simply involving muscle memory by now.

If William Sadler is in “Captain America: Civil War” playing President Ellis again, it would be fitting, and it would also pay off the end of “Iron Man 3.” Tony saved Ellis, and it makes sense that if the President came to Tony to discuss superhero registration, that connection would be part of what gets Tony to say yes to the idea. It seems a waste to hire someone as good as Sadler and only use him a few times in brief cameos.

“Captain America: Civil War” is in theaters May 6, 2016.