The following article contains spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers: Infinity War.
ABC is bringing back Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but in abbreviated form. It will also be a bit delayed as network president Channing Dungey announced at today’s upfront presentation in New York that the series will not be back until summer 2019.
Dungey does not see the 13-episode sixth season as the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and hopes a summer schedule will give it new life.
“I feel the season we just had was creatively the strongest yet. We don’t plan it as a final season. The show has a loyal passionate base. It does incredibly well in delayed viewing.By putting it on the summer we feel we can super-serve the show’s audience and possibly have it on the air longer.”
Moving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the summer also sidesteps an issue with the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. In the show’s own timeline, Thanos’ attack on Earth from the latest Avengers movie is already underway. “The snap” that will kill (or seemingly kill) half of the universe’s population is moments away.
I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not going to deal with the aftermath of Infinity War before Avengers 4 tells that story in theaters next May (or April if Marvel Studios bumps the release date up again). I even suggested a potential delay in airing the sixth season when it was renewed yesterday.
I will be curious to see if the next season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ultimately ends up on ABC. That may be the plan right now, but summer 2019 puts the series’ return awfully close to the launch of Disney’s streaming service next year. I will not be surprised if the series is ultimately moved to the streaming service to bolster that lineup at launch.