Since the series first launched in the wake of The Avengers, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD tried to keep pace with the films. However, the past few seasons the series tried to make its own way in the universe. In fact, they dealt with time travel long before the Avengers ever did. Of course, in Avengers: Endgame we got a whole new theory of Marvel Universe time-travel. Well in the new sneak peek at the final season of Agents of SHIELD we get yet another theory of time-travel. Only this new theory seems to align with the direction that the Marvel Universe is heading.
Thanks to the events of the past seasons on the show, our favorite group of SHIELD agents has access to alien time-travel technology. They take the form of monoliths that can change their state of matter. One actually flung Elizabeth Henstridge’s Jemma Simmons to a far-off planet in season 3. Iain De Caestecker’s Leo Fitz agreed with the Avengers’ theory of time-travel in that the past could not be changed. Yet, in season 5, they did change time, preventing a future that saw the Earth destroyed.
Still, after the events of the season 6 finale of Agents of SHIELD, time-travel is old hat for the crew. They are wandering around 1930s New York as they take on one last mission for the series’ finale season. And our new theory of time-travel comes from the unlikeliest of sources.
The Agents of SHIELD Final Season Sneak Peek Deals With ‘The Butterfly Effect’
Every fan of genre storytelling is aware of the Butterfly Effect. (No, not the 2004 film starring Ashton Kutcher!) The theory suggests that a small action, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can lead to a larger effect elsewhere, such as a windstorm a thousand miles away. In Avengers: Endgame the big brains involved decided that there was no way to change the past. In Agents of SHIELD they pulled it off. So, how do we reconcile these two things? Well, the answer (as always) is found in comic book science!
Jeff Ward’s Deke Shaw originated from the future that was erased when Team SHIELD fixed the future. When Chloe Bennet’s Daisy Johnson worries about the Butterfly Effect, he dismisses it as just “one aspect of the multiverse branch theory.” Instead, he “subscribes to the timestream idea.” In fact, this is a time-travel theory that was popularized on LOST, when their season 5 also took them traveling through time.
Essentially, we have to think of time as a river and time-travelers as sticks thrown into that river. The “water” moves around the sticks, eventually ending up where it always ended up. However, if you take a lot of sticks or a giant boulder and drop that into the stream, well things get very messed up. Interestingly, all we’ve really seen in the way of sneak peeks, trailers, and promo photos comes from this first episode. Specifically we’re only seeing the scenes on the New York City streets. That means, the show could go anywhere (or any-when) over these last 13 episodes.
How this plays out, and which theory is correct, is something we’ll only be able to determine by watching the show.
Agents of SHIELD premieres its final season on May 27, 2020 at 10 PM Eastern on ABC.
What do you think of the sneak peek of the finale season of Agents of SHIELD? Are we going to be stuck in the 1930s for the whole time or will they be jumping around the timeline? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories in the comments below.
Featured image by Mitch Haaseth via ABC
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.