The end could be near for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the series is set to air its 100th episode next week. The first television series spun from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has spent much of its life, especially this season and last, teetering between renewal and cancellation. There are no guarantees of a season six and the showrunners are promising not to leave fans cliffhanging.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. threw a big party for its 100th episode last weekend. During the festivities, showrunners Maurisa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon spoke with TV Line about this season’s finale and acknowledged the uncertain status of the show’s future. “We know what it is,” said Tancharoen of the finale, which is currently being written, and Whedon clarified.

“Yeah, we’re ready for if this is the end. We’re definitely going to make it rewarding either way.”

It’s still premature to start making funeral arrangements for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as the series remains a solid performer in its Friday night time slot and does very well on DVR. Renewal is still a very real possibility and could lead to some changes to the finale according to Whedon, though nothing major.

“We can certainly pivot and there are certain things that we’re putting in that at the last minute could be adjusted. But we know at the end we’re not moving off that mark. We’re going to do what we were planning to do, and I think that it’ll be thrilling either way.”

Last month, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said the network would wait to hear a pitch for season six, while continuing to monitor this season’s performance, before deciding on a possible renewal. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has covered a lot of ground, especially this season in which the characters have gone into space and 100 years into the future.

It’s been a very good season, but moving so far away from the series’ initial concept is going to make it next to impossible to go back. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will have to offer another big, new concept to win a renewal from ABC.

As an aside that may only matter to those who love the “It’s all connected” idea, the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., whenever it comes, could effectively cut the ties between Marvel Television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Arguably, those ties were severed the moment Marvel Studios separated from the rest of Marvel Television in 2015, as there’s been a noticeable decrease in references to the movies in Marvel’s television shows ever since.

Even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which used to namedrop The Avengers regularly, has been operating as if there are no other superheroes in the world. Suffice to say, the events of this season are big enough to have prompted the question, “so what happened to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?”

The Netflix series haven’t bothered with the events of the films in any meaningful way since the first season of Jessica Jones (which was filmed before the Marvel split) while new series like Runaways have stood alone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and many actually prefer it this way.

Of course, with Disney bringing Marvel programming to their new streaming service next year, MCU connections could be a selling point, though that never really helped Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and company.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air its 100th episode on Friday, March 9, on ABC.

SOURCE: TV Line