Wow. We have come a long way since 1998’s Nick Fury: Agent of SHEILD that featured David Hasselhoff in the starring role and was written by Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer. While I do admit that Hasselhoff was the spitting image of Fury, the movie was a joke like most of the efforts to adapt Marvel characters (remember Captain America‘s helmet or Roger Corman’s take on Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four).

Now enter Marvel Studio’s shared movie universe, which will be expanding onto the small screen and could provide us with as many as 20 new hours a year of content. ABC and Marvel have announced that they are going into production on a SHIELD pilot to be written and (possibily) directed by Joss Whedon, who not only helmed the big screen Avengers but created cult television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly. Joining Whedon on the new Marvel series will be usual contributors Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanchareon, who both wrote for Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse and helped shape both of those properties.

At this time it is unknown whether we’ll see familiar faces such as Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury or Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, or any of the big guns like Ironman, Hulk, Thor, etc. Depending on the time period of the show, there is always the chance to see Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson again. I think it is a given that we’ll see everyone from the Marvel universe in some capacity (even archive footage) at one point or another. The most exciting thing about the series is that they’ll be able to present so many more characters; including heroes, villains, and smaller supporting characters. What would bring in the ratings more than an episode that introduces Doctor Strange or Black Panther? Here is hoping that they will go all out- with Whedon directing the pilot and developing the series, they are taking all of the right steps. I can’t wait to hear more about SHIELD.