4:56pm PT by Lesley Goldberg, Lacey Rose
It's Official: Joss Whedon's 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Ordered to Series at ABC
It's official: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the air at ABC.
The Joss Whedon drama based on the Marvel Comics property has landed a series order at the Disney-owned network, ABC announced Friday.
The ABC Studios project is based on Marvel Comics' secret intelligence organization that has appeared in countless titles, including Iron Man, Captain America and The Ultimates, since being introduced in the 1960s. The military law-enforcement agency's moniker stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistic Directorate, which also has evolved over time in the comics.
Whedon is on board to co-pen the pilot alongside his brother Jed Whedon and Jed's wife, Maurissa Tancharoen; the trio previously teamed on the three-part web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind Whedon directed the pilot, which has had ABC social media accounts for months. S.H.I.E.L.D. is executive produced by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell and Marvel TV's Jeph Loeb.
ER's Ming-Na stars as Agent Melinda May, The Avengers' Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson, Killing Lincoln's Brett Dalton is set as gruff rising star Agent Grant Ward, Elizabeth Henstridge as science whiz Agent Gemma Simmons and Iain DeCaestecker as tech guru Agent Leo Fitz, with Nashville's Chloe Bennet set as Skye, a superhero-obsessed woman.
Since the project was first announced in August, it has been a clear front-runner to land on ABC's 2013-14 schedule. ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee told reporters in January that the project was being fast-tracked and he was "very hopeful" that the entry with a "great script" would go to series.
"Marvel has the ability to bring the whole family around it," Lee said at the time. "Joss has great relationships around it. There's a lot of real funny male-female relationships and flirtations, but it's also Joss and Marvel, so there's a lot of action to it."
"My boss Bob Iger buys Marvel, and how wonderful is it for ABC to be able to use the core talent from that and not use the Marvel brand but the Avengers franchise for a show that is not exactly about the Avengers but is attached to it?" Lee said, noting that Whedon was already working on scripts at the time.
ABC will start a major marketing push for the high-profile project with a sizable built-in fan base Sunday, May 12, airing a first look at 8 p.m. ahead of the season finale of Once Upon a Time.