How Agents OF SHIELD Season 5 Could Connect To Avengers: Infinity War, But Probably Won’t

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Agents of SHIELD Season 5 airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC. ABC / Marvel

Agents of SHIELD, once at the center of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is now far far away in a distant future where the Earth is destroyed. Once a show that brought in characters like Nick Fury and Maria Hill, SHIELD is now largely separate from the the Cinematic Universe. You would think Tony Stark would need some help fighting Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War -- the Inhumans would be great allies -- but the Season 5 premiere suggests that will not be the case. The frustrating part is it’s hard to see why SHIELD wouldn’t be involved, especially once Nick Fury enters back into the picture in Avengers 4. It’s about time the Avengers would learn beloved Agent Coulson isn’t really dead. But SHIELD being 100 years in the future with no way back seems like the perfect explanation for why they aren’t around in Infinity War just yet.

A couple major questions emerge from the premiere. Who sent SHIELD to the future? And why don’t big names like Tony Stark and Nick Fury and the other Avengers know about the world’s eventual demise and the Kree imprisonment of the remaining humans? The Earth is literally split in half, burnt to a crisp, and uninhabitable to humans. We have to wonder where the Avengers are, and why the remaining humans are referring to Agent Coulson (a non-superpowered man) as their savior instead?

A new character named Deke has his own theory about how the world was destroyed and why SHIELD needs to prevent it from happening in the first place. He claims SHIELD attempted to save the world when Quake stepped in and destroyed it. This makes no sense. An even bigger question is what SHIELD was trying to save the world from. This is where theories start to wander toward Infinity War. If SHIELD was trying to save the world from Thanos and the Black Order, where were the Avengers? Was SHIELD simply stepping in as the last resort? The last people available to help (or left alive) after Thanos went on his rampage? Maybe Quake destroyed the world to stop Thanos from acquiring every infinity stone? 

The key to a good theory about Agents of SHIELD Season 5 is defining how time travel works in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s a problem with Deke’s theory -- if Daisy destroyed the world in the past, how is it still destroyed if she’s been sent to the future before it happens? If we understand correctly that means every instance of time travel creates a separate timeline in the multiverse. We still need some clarification about this, since it’s the first instance of time travel in the entire MCU.

The good news is we know someone is likely still alive in present day to help. That same person likely passed down the ‘true believer’ mythology that gave the enslaved humans of the future hope to escape the Kree. Fitz was left on Earth in the Season 5 premiere for a reason. It’s quite possible he’s developing some sort of time-travel device and that he’s the one who kept the hope alive for more than 90 years. 

Helping Fitz could be Ghost Rider. There’s no question he can time travel and make his way to outer space if he needs to. Ghost Rider will likely come back into the picture in Season 5, since he introduced SHIELD to portals and interstellar teleportation and alternate realities in the first place.

The direct connection to the MCU fans have been waiting for ever since Agents of SHIELD first aired seems unlikely, but we can’t rule it out, especially with the 100th episode of the series airing shortly before the biggest Marvel film to date hits theaters. So instead of leaving you with some big question we can’t answer, we’ll end with the same tease Clark Gregg gave us at New York Comic Con.

“If I have to fight Thanos, I will.”

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