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Disney Reportedly Forced ABC To Renew Agents Of SHIELD

The news of the renewal of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD for a fifth season came as a surprise to many viewers and media commentators, and now we might know why it happened. The ABC show may have been revived only because Disney, which controls both Marvel and ABC, forced the network to do so, according to a report in Variety.

According to the Variety story, the relationship between ABC and Disney has grown strained over recent years, with a special amount of tension surrounding the Marvel Television branch of the conglomerate. 

Some at ABC wanted to end the show after the fourth season, with the series never having been a great ratings performer since its first season in 2013. But Disney overruled those wishes, mandating a fifth season for unknown reasons.

Other clashes between ABC and Disney have revolved around the show Inhumans, which ABC executives expressed grave concerns about during its development. Production continued regardless, and the series debuted to uniformly poor reviews.

The reason this news should be any cause to alarm for fans is because it serves as an example of a potential case of corporate interference into the independence of a creative process. If the producers of a show want more episodes to tell a story, that's great, the thinking goes. But if the producers of a show want to end their story and aren't allowed to, the result has commonly been some pretty subpar TV.

Despite the back-of-the-house skullduggery, it's not necessarily bad news for fans that the original Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series is continuing for another 22 episodes, especially considering the new season will take the series into an exciting new setting: outer space. But it still raises questions as to the broader direction of Marvel Television going forward, particularly concerning its relationship with ABC.

We'll have more on Agents of SHIELD and all other things Marvel as news develops. For some Marvel Comics action that you'll never see on screen, check out our feature on all the major characters you'll never see in a Marvel movie.