Update 5/15/18: ABC president Channing Dungey announced today via press call that Agents of SHIELD’s shortened 6th season will air during the summer of 2019. This means it will avoid airing during the period between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, giving the show more flexibility in how it handles the events of the films.
ABC’s president told TVLine that there are no plans for season 6 to be Agents of SHIELD’s final season, and that the move to summer might improve the show’s chance’s of being renewed for future seasons:
“What we’ve discovered is that we have a very loyal and passionate fan base for S.H.I.E.L.D. The show does incredibly well for us in delayed viewing,” Dungey explained. “By putting it in the summer, we’re going to be able to ‘super-serve’ the fan base that loves that show and hopefully give it an opportunity to continue on longer than we would if it was [scheduled] in-season.”
The broadcast networks tend to open up their schedules to more offbeat programming in the summer, and overall viewership is lower, so ratings expectations are lower as well. ABC cancelled almost everything on its regular season schedule that had the slightest bit of imagination or whimsy. They might give AoS another 2 or 3 seasons as a summer show, since that’s where all of the scifi and fantasy have moved to.
Okay, we can all breathe again. For a day or 2. The Agents of SHIELD will return in the 2018-2019 TV season for a shortened 13 episode run. They still have to survive their season 5 finale on Friday, 5/18, when they try to head off Graviton and presumably Thanos will snap his fingers.
How many will survive the double whammy? Are there half the episodes because there will only be half the agents? There’s also no word on when the episodes will air, so it could be before or after Avengers 4 deals with the events of Infinity War. The order could be a shortened season because they’re becoming a summer series.
I’m still thrilled with this turn of events. There’s a good chance that season 6 is the farewell season (though that wasn’t announced), but at least they’ve been given the time to wrap it up properly. 5 1/2 seasons is a good long run for any show, and this show’s been struggling for years. Plus, there’s always the chance that some of our favorite characters will move to another show in the MCU, now that there are so many Marvel TV shows to choose from. I’m not even going to bother to hope that anyone but Coulson has a shot at the big leagues of the films.
Speaking of which, there’s a theory going around that Coulson will die in AOS episode 22, then be revived by Captain Marvel in the present day at the end of her film. That way he can keep doing movies and the people who only watch the films won’t have missed anything by not watching AOS. Maybe AOS will be held until after Captain Marvel is released next spring, then run through the Avengers 4 release.
Whatever happens, however the finale ends, we have more adventures to look forward to with some form of SHIELD. Now you can resume holding your breath and waiting to see who doesn’t make it through the finale.