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JUL
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9 MOS

Comic-Con: Joss Whedon's 'Agents of SHIELD' Screens Entire Pilot to a Deafening Crowd

The "Avengers" director brought the entire "SHIELD" pilot episode to Comic-Con's Ballroom 20 -- along with Clark Gregg, Ming-Na and Chloe Bennett -- and set off a nerdquake of impossible proportions.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Pilot Episodic Blue - H 2013
ABC
Marvel's "Agents of SHIELD"

In case you didn't know it, the people, they love Joss Whedon.

But what was surprising was the realization that Clark Gregg has become a Nerd World rock star. When moderator (and chief of Marvel Television/SHIELD executive producer) Jeph Loeb introduced Gregg and the actor walked out on the Ballroom 20 stage, 4,000 people roared their approval, chanting "Coulson!" at the top of their collective lungs.

"I didn't like being dead," Gregg joked, trying to mask the visible emotion on his face at the outpouring of adoration.

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After the rest of the Agents of SHIELD cast — Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May), Chloe Bennett (Skye), Brett Walton (Grant Ward), Elizabeth Henstridge (Jenna Simmons), Iain de Caestecker (Leo Fitz) — took their seats, along with executive producers Jeffrey Bell, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen and Joss, there was a brief feint at doing a Q&A. "Can you show us a clip?" asked a person who must've been a plant by Disney. To which Joss responded, "We wanted to bring you a clip, but there were issues with the Disney lawyers...so we're just gonna show you the episode."

Which is exactly what they did — and you haven't lived if you've never heard of a few thousand people soiling themselves with joy.

They laughed when they were supposed to laugh, they cheered when they were supposed to cheer — especially when Cobie Smulders' Agent Maria Hill, last seen in The Avengers, shows up to interview Agent Ward and brief the not-dead Coulson on his new assignment, heading up SHIELD's superheroic fast-response team — they ooooohed and ahhhhhhed and tittered and applauded in post-nerdal ecstasy when it was all done.

We're not going to spoil much here, other than to say that a Firefly veteran is a member of the cast, the events of Iron Man 3 are felt in a very real way and while we don't get to see the SHIELD helicarrier, we are treated to something else that shouldn't fly, but does.

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"Sitting back there and listening to you guys watch the show and sharing this experience with you has been overwhelming," said Wen.

At the panel's close, Whedon said "I have that feeling I have not had for a very long time, where I've assembled an extraordinary ensemble of ridiculously talented and soon-to-be-full-of-themselves people. The endless possibilities between them and among them; the things we've got from the Marvel Universe and the things we're bringing to the Marvel Universe ... I guess I'm just a little excited."

E-mail: Marc.Bernardin@THR.com
Twitter: @marcbernardin