Speculation ran wild after Disney revealed that Joss Whedon was developing a live-action TV show for Marvel, and now we know which property is involved: S.H.I.E.L.D., the mega-powerful law enforcement agency behind The Avengers. (For the films, the acronym stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.)
Whedon will write the script for the pilot episode for the potential series, titled S.H.I.E.L.D., with frequent collaborators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, according to Deadline. (It’s a family affair: Joss and Jed are brothers, and Jed and Maurissa are married.) Production starts immediately, and Joss Whedon will direct, “schedule permitting.” The three writers will also serve as executive producers.
If all goes well, we imagine that S.H.I.E.L.D. could show up on the fall 2013 TV schedule, a few months after Iron Man 3 (in May 2013) and shortly before Thor: The Dark World in November 2013. The series would mark Whedon’s return to the small screen, where he enjoyed his biggest pre-Avengers success with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it’s not as though he’s ever really left TV; in addition to Buffy and its spin-off Angel, he created Firefly and Dollhouse, two series beloved by critics and hardcore fans that didn't find big-enough audiences and were cancelled after short runs.
S.H.I.E.L.D. offers a great opportunity for Whedon to create another universe, albeit one that will undoubtedly draw heavily from the established Marvel cinematic canon. Still, Whedon can leave his imprint on whichever characters are chosen to appear regularly in the series, and the nature of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- a worldwide agency run by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel films) -- allows for a tremendous range of episodes and locations, though the economic limitations of television will affect the type of stories that may be told, which is where Whedon's penchant for amusing banter and compelling characters will come in handy.
Will S.H.I.E.L.D. be a success on the boob tube like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Or will it flame out like Firefly and Dollhouse (or other recent short-lived attempts to portray superheroes on TV, such as The Cape)? What do you think? And which characters would you like to see in S.H.I.E.L.D.?