‘Agents of SHIELD’: What’s Coming Next in Season 4?

Agents of SHIELD wrapped up its third season run with a shocking two-part finale that saw the deaths of two characters and a six-month time jump. That leaves a lot of lingering questions to unpack in Agents of SHIELD Season 4. But viewers don’t have to wait until the fall premiere to get an idea of what’s to come. Co-showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoe have already started dropping hints of what audiences can expect in future episodes.

The Season 3 finale revealed that Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) stole Yo-Yo’s necklace and sacrificed his life in order to prevent Hive (Brett Dalton) from dispersing the serum that would turn humanity into Inhumans. Following their death on the space-bound quinjet, the show then jumped six months into the future, showing Daisy (Chloe Bennett) — heartbroken by Lincoln’s heroic death — on the run and a disheveled-looking Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) attempting to track her down.

So where does the show go from here? Here’s everything we know about Agents of SHIELD Season 4 so far.

[Update 7/25/16:] The first Season 4 teaser debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 (see above).

1. Daisy has gone rogue

Agents of SHIELD

Agents of SHIELD | Source: ABC

In the Season 3 finale, Daisy has left SHIELD and gone full-on goth, using her powers to destroy major buildings and keep off the grid. A few newspaper clippings reveal that the world is aware of her powers and has named her “Quake.” But though it seems she hasn’t turned into a full-blown villain (she’s seen helping Charles Hinton’s wife and daughter), it’s unclear what her exact motives are.

As Whedon revealed, we’ll learn more about Daisy’s intentions in Season 4. “Some of that will be revealed, but it’s safe to surmise from what you see at the end that she has returned to her roots of being a loner,” he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “After everything that she’s been through and all the chaos around and all the destruction at her hand, she feels that getting close to people was a mistake and she’s better off on her own.”

But as he points out, that doesn’t mean she’s not staying true to her word. “We can see through, yes, dealing with Hinton’s wife and the girl that she’s keeping a promise, but she’s also honoring what Lincoln said, which is he believed she was meant for more than this,” Whedon said. “While she would feel that maybe there’s now nothing to lose, she also wants to live up to his belief in her and whether or not she’s doing that through good means or whether or not she’s a rogue, we’ll see.”

Tancharoe expanded on the topic to Entertainment Weekly, saying, “We know that she’s on her own, we know that SHIELD is going after her, and we also know that while being on her own, she’s still doing good works, and that’s keeping an Inhuman that meant a lot to her, because he made her see the future. She said, ‘I’ll take care of your daughter.’ She’s following through. We still know at her core, even though she’s riddled with guilt and she looks different, she still has Daisy’s heart.”

2. There will be a new director of SHIELD

Phil Coulson - Agents of SHIELD, ABC

Agents of SHIELD | Source: ABC

One of the biggest surprises of the Season 3 finale was learning that Phil Coulson no longer held the position of head of SHIELD and was instead keeping busy tracking down missing former agent Daisy. It’s not yet clear why Coulson was demoted, but viewers can expect to learn more about the reasoning — and who has taken his place — in the upcoming season.

“We’ll answer all of that in the beginning of next season,” Tancharoen said, per THR. “But there’s a lot you can glean from that flash-forward, even in his appearance. He’s worse for wear, he’s not wearing suits, he and Mack are holed up in that hotel room, he’s obviously been on stakeout for a while. And obviously Daisy has changed her appearance and is a loner gone rogue.”

As for who will be replacing Coulson, even Gregg, who plays the character of the former SHIELD director, is in the dark. “I was not given a clear answer. I don’t know that it’s been determined,” he told EW in June, also adding,” It all depends when the glorious Nick Fury [Samuel L. Jackson] returns from the cold and the shadows.”

[Update 8/2/16:] According to Deadline, Complications alum Jason O’Mara has joined the series as S.H.I.E.L.D’s new director, playing a character whose Marvel roots go back to the 1940s. “Bringing Jason into the mix as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. forces everyone, particularly Coulson, to reevaluate their role in the agency,” said Marvel TV exec Jeph Loeb. “Jason has both the physical presence and acting dynamics that will connect with and challenge even the most loyal agent.”

[Update 8/3/16:] Marvel has revealed a lengthy synopsis for the show’s upcoming season, giving more details as to how the series will move forward without Coulson as director:

In light of the Sokovia Accords, and with Hydra obliterated, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been legitimatized again and no longer needs to operate in the shadows. Since the world presumes that Coulson is dead, the organization needed a new Director (Jason O’Mara) to be the face of the organization.
Coulson finds himself back in the role as an agent and teamed with Mack (Henry Simmons), and together they are tasked with tracking down and confirming the presence of Enhanced people, aka Inhumans. They have been trying to track down and capture Daisy (Chloe Bennet), aka Quake, who has gone rogue in an attempt to atone for sins from the past. But with the world believing that Daisy is a dangerous outlaw who has taken down banks and bridges, the new Director has no qualms about taking her down for good.

Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) is tasked with training specialist strike teams, and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) have taken a big step forward in their relationship. But with Simmons’ new promotion as Special Advisor to the Director in Science and Technology, Fitz, as well as her former team members, finds it hard to confide in or trust her since she’s now the Director’s confidant.

[Update 8/19/16:] TVLine has provided the first official photo of O’Mara as the new director, below. No new details of the character have been revealed , although he’s said to have Marvel ties to the 1940s.

Agents of Shield Season 4 | Source: ABC

Agents of Shield Season 4 | Source: ABC

3. There will be several new faces

TVLine recently reported that Agents of SHIELD Season 4 is casting “a pair of Latino brothers, one of whom is always the most dangerous person in the room, the other paralyzed in a wheelchair.” The description has fans speculating that the two brothers in question could be Marvel NOW! Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes and his handicapped younger sibling Gab.

Rumors that Agents of SHIELD could introduce Ghost Rider have long been circulating and Robbie’s inclusion seemingly matches that speculation, even if the character shares a very different backstory than the traditional Ghost Rider. Of course, even if Agents of SHIELD does introduce his character, there’s always the chance that they won’t actually have Robbie turn into Ghost Rider. Either way, viewers can expect to see several new faces next season.

[Update 7/25/16:] It’s been confirmed that Ghost Rider will be a part of the series in next season, as seen in the below tweet. Per Deadline, Gabriel Luna (Wicked City, True Detective) will play the character in the upcoming fourth season.

In the official synopsis for the upcoming season, Marvel describes the introduction of this character this way: “Robbie Reyes will roar into the lives of Agent Coulson and the team as a junkyard mechanic who can turn on a dime into the terrifying Ghost Rider. Will Robbie be a friend or foe to S.H.I.E.L.D. – as well as the world, itself?”

[Update 7/26/16:] Also joining the cast next season is Lilli Birdsell (Geek Charming). Per Deadline, the actress will play the recurring role of Lucy, a beautiful woman with a haunting quality, who also has a very violent streak, because of things that have happened in her past.

[Update 8/17/16:] Mallory Jansen has been cast to play the robot Aida during Season 4 of the ABC series.

[Update 9/5/16]: The first official photo of Luna in character and adorned in the character’s distinctive leather jacket remains to be seen:

#RobbieReyes. 🔥💀🔥#ghostrider #agentsofshield

A photo posted by Gabriel Luna (@iamgabrielluna) on Sep 4, 2016 at 10:28am PDT

 [Update 9/8/16]: A new “found footage” teaser catches the rider speeding away from the scene, seen below:

Update 9/13/16: Another photo of Ghost Rider has been released.

Ghost Rider on Agents of SHIELD Season 5 | The CW

Ghost Rider on Agents of SHIELD Season 4 | The CW

[Update 9/15/16:] Another teaser featuring Ghost Rider was released (see below).


4. Peggy Carter may show up

Agent Carter - ABC, Marvel, Hayley Atwell

Agent Carter | Source: ABC

Following the cancellation of Agent Carter, there have been rumblings that the character of Peggy (Hayley Atwell) could continue her on-screen presence on Agents of SHIELD. So will we see Peggy via flashback this coming season?

The option is still on the table, as Whedon confirmed to THR. “She is the founder of SHIELD and once an agent, always an agent. There is, of course, that possibility,” he said, per THR. “The great thing about the Marvel comics and the Marvel universe in general is that nothing is really off the table. Coulson is living proof of it. So yes, of course there is that possibility.”

5. We’ll see the repercussions of Dr. Radcliffe’s LMD technology

Holden Radcliffe in Agents of SHIELD | Source: ABC

Holden Radcliffe in Agents of SHIELD | Source: ABC

The Season 3 finale also saw Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) finalizing a project labeled “LMD,” the shortened name for Marvel Comics’ Life-Model Decoys. In the comics, the LMDs were developed by SHIELD to take the form of a person and act as a body double, keeping the real agents safe. But while the LMDs were created with good intentions, the technology has been known to spin out of control and cause major problems for the rest of the world (similarly to Tony Stark’s catastrophic creation, Ultron, on the big screen side of the MCU).

That could be the case for Radcliffe, who intends to turn his computer voice AIDA into a humanoid figure, with the hopes of preventing future SHIELD deaths. Whether things will go according to plan… well, that remains to be seen. “Radcliffe has a good heart, but he’s willing to do anything for science,” Whedon said. “He’s excited about the prospect. He said Fitz and Simmons had friends die and maybe they didn’t have to. He’s clearly opening a box. Whether or not it’s Pandora’s box, we’ll see.”

Tancharoen adds, “To someone like Radcliffe, he might believe that to be just the next step in human evolution. There are a number of people who are into body modification now, so what does that mean? What’s the root of that? Now we are going to dive deeper into this man, Radcliffe, who is into that endeavor.” Speaking of which…

6. Season 4 will center on the consequences to technological advancements

LMD in Agents of SHIELD Season 3 | Source: ABC

LMD in Agents of SHIELD Season 3 | Source: ABC

Having dropped the LMD tease last season, Whedon says the theme of technology — and its potential to go wrong — will continue into next season.

“We’ve talked about what are the differences between people with powers and people without powers and I think our show started as not all heroes are super because we were about the little guy who doesn’t have powers,” he explained. “Now, some of our people do have powers and some of them don’t. Next year, with the advances in technology, we might be asking the question of, ‘If you can have this, do you want it?’ And a little bit of be careful what you wish for. That’s about as specific as we can get.”

7. It will be darker and edgier

Agents of Shield

Agents of Shield | ABC

Though Agents of SHIELD will continue to air on Tuesday nights next season, the show has been pushed back to a 10 p.m. Eastern time-slot. As president of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey suggested in May the move will impact the show’s tone a bit moving forward. As she said, the later time slot will allow the series to “go a little bit edgier, a little darker, and take some risks.”

Update 9/14/16: The show has released a new promo poster, featuring Ghost Rider, below:

Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Poster | ABC

Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Poster | ABC

Agents of SHIELD will kick off its fourth season on ABC on September 20.

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