ABC may decide to ax Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead of Season 6, Deadline has reported this week. The site, which notes a network’s decision to renew a series is impacted by how well its pilots do, as well as a network’s capability to settle on a deal with a third-party studio, says it’s up in the air whether Phil Coulson and the gang will return for Season 6.
According to the report, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yields ABC a strong DVR audience, as well as an international one.
In addition, the series is said to be a marketing platform for Marvel (Marvel Television is owned by The Walt Disney Company, which also owns ABC Studios).
The past two seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are viewed by fans as demonstrating a boost in quality, thanks to Season 4’s Framework storyline and Season 5’s nods to the sci-fi worlds of time traveling and space, according to Comic Book.
Earlier this month, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeffrey Bell told Entertainment Weekly (EW) that the show wrote the Season 5 finale as a series finale. At the time, EW reported the show was averaging 3.6 million total viewers and a 1.1 rating among viewers ages 18-49.
“Right now, we’re writing a series end because as far as we know, this could be it,” he said.
However, that won’t stop the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. story from continuing if it does end up getting renewed, executive producer and creator Maurissa Tancharoen told EW then.
“We’ll never end something without the potential for more story,” she said. “That’s how we’ve ended every season because whenever we’ve come to the end of all the season’s past, we go into that mostly not knowing until the very last minute, so we’re basically doing the same thing to close out Season 5. It can fit well as a possible series finale, and it can fit well as just another season’s end.”
Moreover, there also seems to be some hope left for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s characters, according to executive producer and creator Joss Whedon, who told EW “not everybody is going to die in the finale, so those people will live on with stories to tell.”
If ABC does indeed decide to let go of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it will mean the network will no longer have any Marvel shows come fall, considering the fact that Inhumans, which premiered in September, was removed from ABC’s press site, as Screen Rant noted in January.
ABC also tried a run at Marvel TV with the show Agent Carter but cancelled it after two seasons in 2016.