The Agents of SHIELD season three finale featured two major deaths, heartbreaking choices, tons of action … and one shocking demotion. Six months after defeating Hive (Brett Dalton) and losing one of his agents, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), it was revealed that Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is no longer the Director of SHIELD.
In a flash-forward scene in which Coulson and Mack (Henry Simmons) tried to track down Daisy (Chloe Bennet) after she went rogue, an offhand comment between the two men revealed that Coulson is no longer in charge of the government organization he’s dedicated his life to. The ABC Marvel drama didn’t go any further with that storyline, instead choosing to leave fans hanging for the whole summer wondering who took over the position at the head of SHIELD.
There are five characters who can be definitively ruled out as the new Director: Coulson, for obvious reasons; Mack, because Coulson told him to “call the Director” when they couldn’t bring Daisy in; Daisy, since she’s no longer affiliated with SHIELD; and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), since Dr. Radcliffe’s AIDA computer system referred to them as “Agents Fitz and Simmons” in the flash-forward scene.
So if it’s not any of those characters, who is the new Director of SHIELD? The Hollywood Reporter ranked the five most likely candidates.
5. Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar)
Although Talbot has had issues with leadership in the past, it wouldn’t be that far of a stretch if he were finally handed the reins of the organization he’s tried so hard to control for years. The government already showed its trust in Talbot when he was named head of the ATCU, so why wouldn’t they put him in charge of SHIELD too? Now that the Sokovia Accords are in effect and SHIELD has been legitimized once more, the two groups could be combined into one with Talbot at the head. Crazier things have happened.
4. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
Maybe now is the time for Fury to finally come out of the shadows and take back control of the organization he used to lead? If he did, he’d probably show up only in one episode for budgetary reasons, but this move could have major implications on the entire MCU, which would tie the ABC series back in with the films in a satisfying way.
3. Anne Weaver (Christine Adams)
The former Director of the SHIELD Academy of Science and Technology would be a great fit as the new Director of SHIELD. Even after Hydra wiped out SHIELD, Weaver remained loyal to the disgraced group and joined up with Robert Gonzales’ (Edward James Olmos) “real” SHIELD to try and bring it back to legitimacy. And Coulson trusts her despite her supporting Gonzales’ attack on Coulson’s SHIELD, because after the two factions reunited, Weaver became one of Coulson’s closest advisers. If Coulson had any say in who took over his old position, he would have given Weaver a very flattering recommendation.
2. Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen)
Agent May has been at Coulson’s side for so long, she’s definitely picked up on a few things when it comes to leading SHIELD. If the showrunners wanted to make the new Director a character we already know and love, May would be the best bet. But she’s happier in the field than she is in the office, so she’s not the No. 1 candidate.
1. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
That honor goes to Maria Hill. The former SHIELD agent even acted as Deputy Director of SHIELD under Fury for a long time, before Hydra’s infiltration and corruption of SHIELD. After getting out of government work, Hill retreated to the private sector to work with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) before working with the Avengers in the new Avengers facility in upstate New York. But since Hill prefers saving the world over making Stark more money, it’s not too much of a stretch to see her rejoining the legitimized SHIELD as Director in Coulson’s absence. Everyone trusts her and she’s got the right attitude and morals and work ethic for the job.
Who do you think is the new Director of SHIELD? Let us know in the comments section.
Agents of SHIELD returns for season four this fall on ABC.