After 130-plus episodes, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to an end last night. The ABC series was never more popular than it was in the early seasons, when Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Jaimie Alexander (Sif) dropped by and there was a tie-in to a dramatic reveal in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But after a mid-series dip in quality, S.H.I.E.L.D. quietly had a creative rebound in its final season, which largely dealt with the ramifications of time travel.
As with all things time travel, it’s confusing to explain exactly what happened out of context (and even in context…), but basically, Leopold Fitz returned after a season-long absence. Turns out, he was in a different timeline from the rest of the characters. “You went back in time and then you branched off. But we can travel through something called the Quantum Realm. So we can go in between timelines,” he explained. The Quantum Realm is the show’s most direct connection to Avengers: Endgame, as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp, as it was used by the Avengers to undo Thanos’ universe-upsetting Snap.
In all his explanations about saving their timeline, Fitz used words like “our world” and “multiple dimensions” to describe their current situation. As such, he distinguished the main MCU timeline as their world, which indicates it is their universe and their timeline. Although the season played with the idea of multiple dimensions… this is the first real confirmation of the fact this timeline is new and different from the MCU.
“When we first started talking about it, it was before Endgame had been released,” co-showrunner Jed Whedon told The Wrap about keeping Fitz off-screen (actor Iain De Caestecker had scheduling conflicts). “We knew that there were certain things we could not do… It’s one universe and we tried to be true to it.” He added, “We didn’t want to play the same game that they were going to play.” Still, tying into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe was a fitting way for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (probably the last non-Disney+ Marvel show, with the exception of Hulu’s standalone Helstrom) to go out on.
(Via the Wrap)