There’s something special about watching a group of actors and creatives interact with true camaraderie, even if they’re ganging up on one of their own for a laugh. This kind of family energy was palpable from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel at WonderCon 2019. Moderated by Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel TV, most of the main cast was present on stage: Clark Gregg (Coulson), Elizabeth Henstridge (Simmons), Iain de Caestecker (Fitz), Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Yo-Yo), Henry Simmons (Mack), and Jeff Ward (Deke).
To round out the panel, showrunners Maurissa Tanchareon, Jed Whedon, and Jeff Bell were also in attendance. Sadly Ming Na Wen and Chloe Bennet could not attend, much to our disappointment over at Project T.A.H.I.T.I., an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap podcast in the But Why Tho? podcast community.
The panel started with plenty of gruff dad jokes from Jeph Loeb and an exciting announcement that the premiere of season seven would bumped up to May 10, 2019 airing on ABC. This move up came with the crowd’s excitement since, former announcements had the season premiere date first set in July and then June. This brings up all sorts of questions, with the upcoming release of Avengers: Endgame. How will the S.H.I.E.L.D.-verse be impacted by the snap? Panel audience members had the privilege of watching the premiere episode of the upcoming season, that honestly left us with more questions than answers.
The rest of the panel included a lot silliness from de Caestecker and Jeff Ward, and some much-deserved darts lovingly thrown in their direction from the rest of the crew. There were also some truly heartfelt comments about Stan Lee’s legacy, and lots of jokes about Gregg having two first names. It honestly felt like a more relaxed version of watching the show.
I know we’re not supposed to equate actors with the characters they portray, but most of this cast has been working together for over six years, and many of them truly embody the goodness of the heroes we’ve come to love and want to protect over that time. It felt like being on the Bus with Coulson’s team during some downtime on the way to a mission, with much lower stakes and lots of other S.H.I.E.L.D. fan family on the plane too.
Gregg and Cordova-Buckley both made points about how special this fan family is to the show. In fact, they noted that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. probably never would happened without the #CoulsonLives campaign, and many of these actors may not experience an extended family like this again once the show had ended. It’s a truly special and unique experience to have the loyalty, support, and love they’ve come to know over the years.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. family, on screen or off screen, on stage or in the audience, is truly a marvel among fandoms. Now if only we could get Daisy Johnson and Melinda May in an MCU film…