Agents Of SHIELD Season 5: Clark Gregg Teases Ghost Rider's Impact

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Agent Coulson is not the same man after bonding with Ghost Rider. What deal did he make with the devil? ABC

Nobody thought Agents of SHIELD would get a chance at Season 5. Since Disney stopped the show’s cancellation, it’s clear the writers aren’t holding back creatively. A new trailer shows Coulson and the entire team (minus Fitz) in a space ship crawling with gnarly alien creatures. Jeph Loeb ruled out the popular fan theory predicting SWORD’s appearance, so the reason why SHIELD is in space with Kree and alien insects this season remains unknown. But Clark Gregg offered a small clue at New York Comic Con when we asked about Ghost Rider’s connection to the new interstellar setting.

“I wish they told us so I could answer that. I think there probably is some sort of connection, he’s connected to some sort parallel dimension that he goes to and we are definitely in a realm where parallel dimensions might come into play.”

ghostrider goes to hell
Ghost Rider opens a portal back to Hell. Photo: ABC

Did he just say “parallel dimensions”? We’ve seen this on DC Comics’ CW shows. In those worlds, parallel dimensions have doppelgangers, and events on another version of Earth may play out slightly or completely differently. There’s also the idea of a multitude of possible futures, alternate realities and time-traveling elements. While AIDA built an artificial alternate reality (called The Framework) where HYDRA was Earth’s SHIELD with the help of the Darkhold in Season 4, the series hasn’t explored organic parallel dimensions or alternate realities outside of naming inter-dimensional travel as one of Ghost Rider’s many abilities.

As we saw in Season 4, Ghost Rider can generate portals to alternate universes and dimensions. He acquired this during his time in the Hell dimension. By swirling his Hellfire Chain, he creates a vortex (kind of like a Sling Ring) to open an inter-dimensional gate. If you remember the Season 4 finale, Agent Coulson became Ghost Rider to kill AIDA. Ghost Rider has not forgotten this deal with the devil, and at the very end of the episode, he reminded Coulson not to tell the team about some sort of knowledge he acquired during his time as the devil’s hand. Maybe this deal, or something Coulson or Ghost Rider experienced in another dimension, has something to do with why SHIELD is in space.


In Marvel comics, parallel dimensions are often realms where gods and demons reside. Parallel dimensions can be different from alternative realities, which imply the reality is a variant of an original (just like the Framework). Fans are still trying to figure out what is off about the new Season 5 footage, and a special screening of the first 20 minutes of the premiere at New York Comic Con offers up a few clues.

A group shows up behind Coulson and the team and freeze time in the Agents of SHEILD Season 4 finale. Photo: Marvel

The people Coulson and the team encounter in the space ship already know who they are. They consider SHIELD a myth, the team as legends, destined to save them just as they have done for the people of Earth. The main enemy appears to be the alien creatures crawling about the space ship. These insectoids could be an alien race from the comics called The Brood, parasites capable of intergalactic travel. Their planet of origin is largely unknown and many in the Marvel Universe believe The Brood originated not through natural evolution, but in otherworldly sorcery and supernaturalism. They first settled in the Shi'ar galaxy, situated close to both the Skrull and Kree empires. Maybe this time around, the Kree and SHIELD have a common enemy.

The Brood infect people and takeover their bodies. Photo: Marvel

In one storyline, The Brood actually infect the spirit of vengeance inside Ghost Rider. It’s possible we’ll see something like that play out in the series. In the NYCC footage, these creatures seem to be interested in more than just killing -- they want the host body for something. Maybe they are planning some sort of invasion of Earth, as they did many many times in the comics.

Aside from the new trailer and footage at NYCC, ABC has also revealed a brief Season 5 synopsis. “Coulson and the team find themselves stranded on a mysterious ship in outer space, and that’s just the beginning of the nightmare to come.” Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD  returns with a special two-hour premiere, Friday Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. EST.


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