Agents of SHIELD created a fiery finale to season 4. We had Ghost Rider, Inhumans, and Robots (LMDs) in our storylines – not to mention HYDRA as well as ancient aliens. Now with SHIELD in space (try saying that in an echo-y voice. It sounds pretty cool) we figured we’d count down the other more important firsts Marvel’s flagship television show has brought us. From the first Asian American superheroines to the very first LGBTQ character in the MCU, here’s our top five list of Agents of SHIELD firsts.
FIRST LGBTQ CHARACTER
While Marvel’s Runaways boasts the first openly lesbian character, the first LGBTQ character has the distinction of being Joey from Agents of SHIELD season 3. He was the focus of the first episode of season 3 – a mechanic with a passion for motorcycles who takes a fish oil pill and becomes an Inhuman. Joey is a member of the Secret Warriors and while he disappeared (actor Juan Pablo Raba left the show to film SIX for the History channel), the Inhuman with the power to melt and control metal could return in season 5 – or end up in any other MCU property for that matter. Check out Joey in the clip below.
The distinction is that Joey’s sexuality isn’t made a major focal point. He’s treated like a normal character, something important as far as representation goes. Joey and Karolina are both important characters, but Joey has the distinction of being the first gay superhero character and he deserves a spotlight.
FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN HEROES IN SUPERHERO TV…EVER
In a time when white washing controversies run rampant, it’s important to spotlight positive representation and Agents of SHIELD has that in spades. Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) is a biracial Asian American. Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May is the first Asian superhero on superhero TV and Film (she deserves to be in films). SHIELD also spotlights Latinx representation with Joey, Elena ‘Yo-Yo’ Rodriguez (played by Natalia Cordova, the first Latinx superheroine), and of course Robbie Reyes played by the amazing Gabriel Luna. Remember everyone, tell Marvel that #WeWantGhostRider and support the notion of a Ghost Rider Show!
There’s also Henry Simmons as Mack and Parminder Nagra who had a great arc as a corrupt anti-Inhuman senator Ellen Nadeer in Season 4. While other shows might keep things a bit plain, Agents of SHIELD truly takes pride in spotlighting “The World Outside Our Window”.
STORYTELLING FIRSTS THAT CARRY OVER TO THE MCU AT LARGE
Agents of SHIELD has been a proving ground for projects in the MCU at large since it’s conception. Everything from the Inhumans to the return of HYDRA has gotten its start on the show. Even with the introduction of the “supernatural” in the MCU, SHIELD has run with. With the Season 4 finale fresh on everyone’s mind Agents of SHIELD appears to be leaping into the cosmic realm, where there are many new firsts to explore and discover.
The show has it’s own storyline that doesn’t cross over with the films, but the truth is that it doesn’t need to. It’s enough of a fuse to light the fireworks that make up the MCU and it’s a great way for Marvel to take the big stories we see in 2 hour chunks to a smaller screen. Clearly the minds behind the show are on the pulse of the nation which makes sense since there’s…
DIVERSITY BEHIND THE CAMERA
Agents of SHIELD has one of the first female Asian American show runners in Maurissa Tancharoen and in season 4 has upped its quota of female writers. With writers like Nora Zuckerman as well as Tancharoen herself penning scripts, Agents of SHIELD is reflecting the world both onscreen and off. This clearly pays off with storytelling that focuses on such diverse characters.
It’s also a family affair with Kevin Tancharoen directing multiple episodes. He’s so good that he’s jumped beyond Agents of SHIELD and directed one of the best episodes of Iron Fist as well as episodes of DCTV’s Supergirl. All of this talent is important because Agents of SHIELD is also…
FIRST RECENT FEMALE CENTERED MARVEL SUPERHERO SHOW
It’s been awhile since Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman lit up our screens and the short lived (yet amazing) Birds of Prey. Marvel has given us a show full of girl power-and at the time we need it the most.
While the show started with the rebirth of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), a second starring player has taken the limelight over the past 4 seasons. From lost loves to gaining super powers, Daisy Johnson has become an iconic character in the MCU. She’s currently leading her own superhero team of Secret Warriors in the comics that includes fan favorites like Kamala Khan and Lunella Lafayette and she’s a role model to young girls whenever she’s on camera.
Star Chloe Bennet has taken her role as heroine responsibly as well. Having founded 2 successful represent.com campaigns raising money for women in Haiti, she also speaks out about representation and Asian American rights. While Daisy Johnson is a superhero, Chloe Bennet is a heroine close to home whose work is an inspiration to young girls everywhere. It’s nice to see a star take their role so seriously. Her character’s arc and transformation into a superheroine has been the hero’s journey that the show has been based on.
While she’s not the lead, it could very well happen in the future if Bennett sticks around the MCU. She’s certainly proven she has an on-screen presence to carry the show. She is one of the first recent female superheroines since the resurgence of the superhero genre after Smallville.
As we head into Season 5, It’s important to remember and appreciate the firsts that Agents of SHIELD has given us – along with whatever new firsts they might bring.
Did we miss any firsts? Have any you want to share? Sound off and share with us in the comments below.
Agents of SHIELD returns January 2018 in its new time at 9 PM on Fridays.