ABC and Marvel presented "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." to a packed house at San Diego Comic-Con, showing the pilot episode in its entirety. The episode featured familiar faces from both of Joss Whedon's past works and the Marvel universe, including Cobie Smulders reprising her role as Agent Maria Hill from "The Avengers."
The episode itself was procedural in tone but packed with humor and pathos, with J. August Richards' character positioned in a "freak of the week" role that brings the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. together for their first mission. The dialogue was full of the snappy Whedon wit that audiences know and love, with plenty of Easter eggs for eagle-eyed Marvel fans, referencing cases, characters and locations from Phase One of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.
Clark Gregg stole the show as the beloved Agent Phil Coulson, delivering many of the pilot's best lines. Especially impressive is how the show feels like an extension of the Marvel universe in a believable way, featuring special effects in a way that adds scope but still seems sustainable for a weekly series, and utilizing mythology that Marvel fans will immediately appreciate. The show clearly has a longer arc in mind, establishing a Big Bad that should lend momentum to the missions of the first season.
On the panel were stars Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg and executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon and Jeffrey Bell. Find out what the cast and creators had to say about the series in our liveblog below.