It looks like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. missed out on a prime opportunity to tie in with the new Avengers: Infinity War film, at least based on their choice of aliens to feature in the new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
When the new extended trailer for Season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dropped the other day, we saw that the Agents are being hunted on a space station by a mysterious alien. One agent manages to get out the name of the aliens before he was killed. The aliens hunting them are the Vrellnexians, one of the more obscure alien races in the Marvel Universe.
The Vrellnexians are a deadly, hive mind race of aliens who tried to conquer Asgard in Thor #212 (by Gerry Conway and John Buscema).
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When the Avengers: Infinity War trailer dropped on Wednesday, among the many fantastic moments in the trailer was a shot of the Black Panther punching out an alien who looked very similar to a Vrellnexian.
Instead, the alien that Panther was tangling with was actually a relatively new alien race in the Marvel Comic Universe, the Outriders.
They are a powerful, insect/humanoid hybrid that served Thanos during the Infinity crossover event a few years back. Thanos’ Black Order would send them out into the universe to find planets worth conquering by Thanos. Once they succeeded in their mission, they would be “rewarded” by the thing that they crave the most – their own death!
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Seeing as how the Vrellnexians are very minor figures in the Marvel Comic Universe, it seems like a rather large lost opportunity for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which airs on the Disney-owned ABC, to choose them as the aliens hunting down the heroes when they could have had them be Outriders and tie in with the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has had a mixed bag when it comes to crossovers with the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the years. The biggest issue is that the creators behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe feel that having Agent Coulson show up alive in the films would require too much explaining (after he seemingly was killed in the first Avengers film), so one of the easiest ways for the show to crossover with the film, Coulson himself, is off the table.
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The show has managed to tie in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past, though, with the first season having a major twist tie directly in with the revelation in Captain America: Winter Soldier, that a good chunk of S.H.I.E.L.D. had been overrun by Hydra.
In the second season, it was Agent Coulson who discovered the location of Loki’s scepter, which kicked off the action in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Later, Coulson worked out a program that rebuilt the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, just in time for Nick Fury and Maria Hill to use it to save the day in Age of Ultron.
Otherwise, though, besides the occasional Nick Fury or Sif cameo (which both came early on in the series), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been doing its own thing the last few years. They had a chance to change that with their alien choice this season, but they chose otherwise.