New Title and Plot Details for Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Joss Whedon’s planned TV spinoff from the theatrical mega-hit The Avengers has now been tentatively renamed as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is the name ABC has been using in its dealings with potential advertisers. Whether the lengthier new title will stick, or if ABC will revert back to the shorter, pithier S.H.I.E.L.D., is something else we’ll have to wait to find out about.

There are also new details available about the plot of the pilot. “Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns to the worldwide law enforcement organization S.H.I.E.L.D. He puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet–the new, the strange and the unknown. That team consists of straight arrow Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), an expert in combat and espionage; pilot and martial artist Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen); the brilliant if socially awkward scientists Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). They’ll be joined by civilian new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).” There’s still no word yet on how Agent Coulson survived his fate in the Avengers.

Another bit of news is that actor J. August Richards has a part in the pilot, although there’s no confirmation on whom he’s playing yet. Richards has previously worked with Whedon on the series Angel, where Richards played street-smart vampire fighter Charles Gunn.

The pilot was directed and co-written by Joss Whedon, with writing help from Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (“Dollhouse,” “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”), Jeffrey Bell (“Angel,” “Alias”) and Jeph Loeb (“Smallville,” “Lost,” “Heroes”).

If Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is picked up, the pilot will air this fall on ABC.