It hasn’t been the easiest time for Marvel Television in the past year, with cancellations left and right coming from their Netflix fare. At the same time, their flagship show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continued to avoid the bubble, and it will cheat the cancellation Grim Reaper by ending on its own accord next television season. In the lead-up to San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Television confirmed that the seventh season of the long-running show will be its last.
The show is currently in the middle of its sixth season (with weekly episode reviews from yours truly), the renewal of which already came as a surprise to Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb and showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell. Adding to the surprise was the renewal for a seventh season, coming even before the sixth season began airing. It was an embarrassment of riches, seeing how the team was ready to wrap up at the end of the fifth season, as Loeb explains when discussing why they chose to end the show at season seven.
The simplest answer is so that we can end on our terms, really.
How many shows do you know that just suddenly ended, and you feel like, but wait a minute, there was more. Yes, in the chronology of this is we thought Season 5 was the end. If you go back and you look at the end of that season, it is written that way. Actually, the last episode of that season is called “The End.” Honestly, we thought we were turning out the lights and going home when we got a call from ABC that said, the material is so strong, do you think you have another season, do you think you have another 13 because we sort of like this idea of doing it again.
And to be frank, that reasoning is totally valid. Other Marvel shows on ABC didn’t get to have a proper good-bye (the failed Inhumans and the deserved-better Agent Carter), and as mentioned, the Marvel line on Netflix was absolutely massacred to the complete surprise of all of the creatives involved. I’m willing to bet that there are a number of hardcore Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans who already think that seven is a high enough season count, and would like to see a proper and dignified ending while the show is still at a creative high.
It’s an end to the long and stressful ride that fans of the show have undergone; S.H.I.E.L.D. has survived cancellation so many times now, but despite having less-than-stellar ratings, the fans (and apparently, ABC executives) have stood by with the show creatively. With this route, the writers will have an opportunity to tie up loose ends and add a real sense of finality to the show that the other MCU shows never had a chance to have.
By the time this story publishes, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Comic-Con panel will be hours away from beginning. Expect a multitude of emotional tears from the fans, cast, and crew alike. Meanwhile, Hulu will pick up shows like Ghost Rider and a number of animated Marvel shows, along with a third season of Runaways. At the same time, Marvel Television is also wrapping up the final season of the excellent (and non-MCU) show Legion on FX.