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Will Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Episode 2 have an end-credits cameo?

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Credit where it's due; Marvel know how to reward the fans...

Will Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Episode 2, '0-8-4', have an end-credits cameo?

Marvel have teased the upcoming second episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, 0-8-4, with a short video telling fans to watch until the end of the credits, and a version of the SHIELD logo modified so that the bird (hawk? eagle? albatross? porcupine?) is wearing an eyepatch.

Which seems to be an obvious tease that Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury will show up. (Unless it's Hawkeye?) It's been speculated that he might make an appearance sooner or later, but that was fast. Though after this, if it turns out not to be him, the fans will be Fury-ous.

Not only was he the first character to tie together the live-action Marvel universe (well, apart from Agent Coulson, who at that point, no-one knew how significant he'd become, even actor Clark Gregg himself), but also Nick Fury is the Director of SHIELD. While the other people behind the scenes, the everyman characters, are vitally important, and kind of the point of the show, it would be weird if the director never showed up (especially if you subscribe to auteur theory).

Fury's second-in-command, Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) from The Avengers, showed up the pilot of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD to ease the transition between the TV show, and is expected to return at some point, especially once her other show, How I Met Your Mother, ends.

Samuel L. Jackson, himself a big Marvel fan, has expressed enthusiasm for the idea of appearing on the show, even just as a 'Charlie' from Charlie's Angels off-screen voice. (Maybe they'll put him on speakerphone? That would be hilarious.)

Obviously, as with any big star from the movies, the possibility bringing them onto the show would be complicated by budget and scheduling issues. But storywise, Nick Fury is the obvious choice, along with Black Widow and Hawkeye.

The showrunners have made it clear that the show is primarily about the eponymous Agents of SHIELD, and so they're seeking to avoid stunt-casting, while not ruling out the possibility of appearances by characters from the movies. As with any Whedon show, the intent is to make it character-driven, and to be motivated by what's best for the story.

However, with ABC and Marvel, there's also a business side to things. The question of timing is another interesting one when it comes to the possibility of such cameos. Many people assumed that such things would probably be timed for big event episodes, such as during sweeps weeks (when ratings really matter).

So why now? Maybe, after last week's marvellous ratings, they want to strike while the iron is hot (or while audiences are hot on the $1.2 billion grossing Iron Man 3). It makes sense. If the show can maintain this kind of numbers in the longer term, that means that many millions of people will stick around to really get to know the characters and see the overarching story arcs unfold. As any Joss Whedon fan will tell you, that's when his shows start to get really interesting. So that means potentially millions of devoted fans of the show.

Also, regardless of the business aspects of it, little tie-ins and shout-outs and easter eggs and...whatever other applicable metaphors there are like this are just cool.

The promo video for this tells fans, “Don't risk the spoilers...stay till the very end!”

Marvel's greatest achievement is arguably not their entertaining storytelling, or their bringing a comic-book-style cohesive universe to films (and TV), with all the attendant crossovers, or their terrific casting sensibilities, or even the huge, well-deserved boost they've given to Joss Whedon's career; no, Marvel's two greatest achievements are teaching people that staying until the end of the credits is good, and that spoilers are bad. Two seemingly obvious ideas, which many people oddly fail to grasp. Still, they're learning. (Thanks to Marvel. It's a perfect story; so they say. Marvel's leading the way...)

Of course, some viewers have reported that their TV network put talking over the end of the credits, even sometimes over Joss Whedon's famous Mutant Enemy “Grr Arrgh.” Grr Arrgh.

Unlike Samuel L. Jackson or Nick Fury, this is not cool. The only people allowed to talk over people are Fitz and Simmons, and only because they're smart and geeky and adorable.

Still, if the worst thing to happen to a Joss Whedon show is that people might occasionally talk over the bit at the end of the credits, that's kind of amazing. With ratings like these, we've probably got many seasons of excellent Whedon-y TV to look forward to. Numfar! Do the Dance of Joy!


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