Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still ignoring the cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War, where Thanos erased half the life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. The first trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 has released, and – although it clearly picks up shortly after the events of season 5 – there’s no reference to the Decimation.
There’s a sense in which Thanos was the real villain of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, with Hydra striking a deal with an alien Confederacy in the hopes of staving off Thanos’ attack. There were even brief scenes that showed the Black Order arriving in force in New York, with Tony Stark going missing. But, surprisingly, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 finale completely ignored the moment when Thanos fulfilled his insane goal and halved the universe’s population. And now it seems the same thing is happening in season 6.
The first trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 hints at that trend continuing. It’s clear that season 6 picks up soon after the events of season 5, with S.H.I.E.L.D. heading out into space to recover their lost comrade, Fitz. According to the trailer, Agent May stayed with Phil Coulson until the end, and was with him until he breathed his final breath. But here’s the thing; there is absolutely no reference to Thanos’ snap. Coulson seems to have lived out his last days in peace, with Earth apparently safe from harm. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ranks are entirely untouched by Thanos’ horrific, genocidal act. It’s as though the Decimation never happened.
Of course, it’s quite possible that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in a universe where it never did. It’s generally believed that Avengers: Endgame will see Earth’s surviving heroes attempt to avert or undo Thanos’ snap by using time travel to rewrite history. If the Avengers succeed, then it will be at a cost, but the cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War will literally be written out of the MCU timeline. That could be why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is choosing to ignore the snap; season 6 airs after the release of Avengers: Endgame, meaning history will already have been changed. The showrunners presumably either know this, or at least suspect it, and are choosing to dodge the bullet.
Whether this theory is true or not, it’s certainly surprising to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. completely ignore Thanos’ snap like this. The series has always tended to tie in with the MCU movies as much as possible, but this time it’s avoiding dealing with the biggest event in the history of the entire MCU – the deaths of half the life in the universe.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 will air on ABC this summer.