ABC Orders Joss Whedon-Developed S.H.I.E.L.D. TV Pilot

Marvel's Joss Whedon-developed TV project has a name, and it's a familiar one: S.H.I.E.L.D., starring the law-enforcement agency at the center of Marvel's blockbuster films.

Deadline reports (with later confirmation from The Hollywood Reporter) that ABC has ordered a pilot, which Whedon will write with two of his frequent collaborators: his brother Jed and Maurissa Tancharoen, a husband and wife duo who worked with him on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Dollhouse. Whedon is also on board to direct the pilot, "schedule permitting." Whedon, Whedon and Tancharoen will executive produce, along with Jeffrey Bell and head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb.

 

Production will reportedly start immediately. S.H.I.E.L.D. is the first live-action series from Marvel TV, formed in 2010, to be greenlit to pilot stage, though a Hulk series is reportedly still in development at ABC.

According to Variety, Whedon, who appeared Tuesday as moderator of a Writers Guild event, said the storyline for the proposed series will be largely "autonomous" from the 2015 Avengers sequel. Little else is known about it at this stage, including where it might take place in the timeline of Marvel's films, and which actors, if any, from the movies might play a part on the show. In multiple Marvel films including this summer's The Avengers, Samuel L. Jackson has portrayed S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. Whedon's comments, however, make it sound like any actor crossover is unlikely.

Earlier this month, Disney announced that Whedon signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for both film and television, including writing and directing 2015's The Avengers 2 and developing a then-unspecified Marvel TV show. The Avengers, written and directed by Whedon, has grossed nearly $1.5 billion in worldwide box office, and is currently the third highest-grossing film of all time on domestic and international charts.

This would be Whedon's first television series since Dollhouse, which ran for two seasons on Fox from 2009 to 2010. He first became known among fans for his critically acclaimed, cult-favorite TV creations Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.

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