Since its debut, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has featured some sort of tie-in to the films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – whether it was Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier or S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier assist in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
That tradition will continue as ABC’s super series heads into its fourth season just ahead of the debut of Doctor Strange – though the tie-in won’t be as explicit. “Our ties are at times very direct and at times are more thematic,” EP Jed Whedon tells EW. “The tie this year will feel more of a reflection of the movie, less an interweaving plot. As that movie hits the world, it comes at the right time in our show, and you will see some of those same ideas being explored.”
“The same questions that our team is exploring leading up to the premiere of Doctor Strange, perhaps some of those concepts will be reflected in the movie and then carried through,” EP Maurissa Tancharoen says. Adds Whedon: “Hopefully some of the questions that we’re asking will be answered by it and then pose some new themes and ideas for us to explore.”
As Marvel moves into the realm of the unexplained with Doctor Strange, so too does the show with the introduction of Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) – more scoop on that here – and the concept of artificial intelligence. “Doctor Strange will introduce some new ideas, but we’re starting to lay the first brick in the yellow brick road to that,” Whedon says. “We want to slowly play with the morality of building these things, whether or not we even should and the scientific questions that come along with it. [That’s] the first step that we explore before we inevitably get into other things.”
“It’s made very clear in Age of Ultron when diving into the world of A.I. that things may not go as planned, so whether or not we continue that theme you will see,” Tancharoen adds.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Doctor Strange hits theaters Nov. 4.