Does ABC have a Marvel synergy-Frankenstein on its hands?
With sequels to "Thor" and "Captain America" slated to hit in the near future, there exist synergy opportunities on the network's upcoming superhero prime-time drama "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Joss Whedon is working on it -- and cautious about it.
"There will be as much as we can allow," Whedon said during the show's panel Sunday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "We're still working it out. This is a fluid process. It’s a fun opportunity.... It's not the reason behind the show. This show has to work for people who are not going to see those movies or haven’t seen them before."
The series finds Clark Gregg ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel feature films including "The Avengers." Coulson leads a band of agents from punctuation-heavy law enforcement organization S.H.I.E.L.D., which works to guard against those with extraordinary gifts.
Whedon, a fan favorite, co-wrote the pilot with his brother Jed Whedon and Jed's wife, Maurissa Tancharoen. The trio also serve as executive producers.
The drama, slated to air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, has generated much buzz since it was first announced last August even though ABC has shrouded it with much secrecy, finally unveiling the pilot to fans last month at Comic-Con.
Although the drama attempts to bring Marvel's box-office power and comic fan base to the small screen, it's not an Easter egg farm, Whedon emphasized, to the agreement of his fellow executive producers.
"I don't think we'll make references for the sake of making references," Tancharoen said.
"It's like medical jargon," Jed Whedon added, noting that those who aren't well-versed won't feel completely lost.
The project has benefited from having Joss Whedon's name attached to it -- he also directed the pilot -- but it is unclear how much involvement the busy filmmaker will have in the future.
"As much as an executive producer who's also making a movie" can have, he told reporters. Whedon is in post-production on paranormal romance film "In Your Eyes" and is signed on to a "The Avengers" sequel, according to IMDb.com. "I got the best writers and actors I could so I could do this, and that's the best way to run a show," he added.
A caution to those already crossing their fingers for a musical episode of "S.H.I.E.L.D." (in the vein of Whedon's long-over show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"): It's best to uncross.
"I'm ruling out a musical," Whedon said. "I'm ruling it out."
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times