Agents of SHIELD has a complicated and confusing history with the MCU. The action-packed series was introduced to the world in 2013 as the first television expansion of the comic book world with frequent crossovers to Marvel Studios' biggest blockbusters. As time went on, the ABC show continued to reference the world of heroes around it, but even as its own events grew bigger in scale, the MCU movies never referenced the small-screen events.
For a while, the same applied to every other Marvel TV series, including Agent Carter, Runaways, and Cloak and Dagger. But Avengers: Endgame threw a spanner in the works when James D'Arcy reprised his Agent Carter role as Edwin Jarvis, marking the first appearance from a Marvel TV character on the big screen.
Similar events have since taken place in recent months, as Charlie Cox's Daredevil popped up in Spider-Man: No Way Home in the same week that Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin was revealed as the surprise big bad of Hawkeye.
Looking ahead to the future, with Agents of SHIELD and "The Defenders Saga" having just made the jump to Disney+, hope is higher than ever for more crossovers. But it appears Edwin Jarvis' Avengers: Endgame cameo almost wasn't the only Marvel TV crossover in the blockbuster event.
Avengers: Endgame's Cut Agents of SHIELD Crossover
VFX studio Cantina Creative recently revealed new looks at their work on Avengers: Endgame, including the plans for the Time Heist sequence.
One design - shared on Twitter by @bej_t - features Agents of SHIELD villain Daniel Whitehall alongside Red Skull and Armin Zola on the Space Stone (Tesseract) theft plans.
In response to the tweet, Whitehall actor Reed Diamond shared his shock as he finally understood why Marvel "called to check [his] availability:"
"Wow! Now, the mystery of why they called to check my availability has been solved. Thank you! ...oh...and...Hail Hydra!"
Cantina Creative designed ten digital panels for Endgame, of which only two sadly made the cut, with the Agents of SHIELD reference being among the absent eight.
Avengers Endgame Almost Included Marvel TV
Marvel Studios made its first major reference to the television side in Avengers: Endgame. Agent Carter's Edwin Jarvis made a brief cameo as Howard Stark's butler during the 1970s Tesseract segment of the Time Heist, tying those two projects together.
But it seems the same sequence came close to bringing Agents of SHIELD into the picture through Season 2 antagonist Daniel Whitehall. The Hydra boss spent the early days of his career recovering powerful artifacts under the Red Skull before joining him to work on the Tesseract, explaining his link to the Time Heist plans.
Despite being born in 1904, Whitehall retained his middle-aged appearance in the modern-day after using harvesting the DNA and organs of an Inhuman to de-age himself. After causing half a season of trouble for the Agents of SHIELD team, Whitehall was finally shot and killed by Phil Coulson in 2014, meaning he was still alive during the Avengers' first attempt to recover the Tesseract for 2012.
Reed Diamond must have been shocked to receive a call from Marvel to check his availability, given his Hydra villain had been killed off years earlier. Since Whitehall was alive throughout the entire Time Heist, it's anyone's guess where he may have appeared. The Hydra Boss was captured by the SSR in 1945 and held until 1989, meaning he may have been considered for the 1970s SHIELD base scene with the young Peggy Carter, Hank Pym, and Howard Stark.
The scrapped Agents of SHIELD crossover would have left Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, and all five heroes of "The Defenders Saga" as the only major omissions from Avengers: Endgame. Since the blockbuster event was already so packed with heroes, perhaps it was for the best that Marvel didn't try to integrate its many TV fan-favorites into the mix.
Despite Agents of SHIELD's many references to the MCU, Marvel Studios has yet to reference any characters or events from the seven-season epic, leading some to justifiably call its canon status into question. But with the series having just recently made the jump to Disney+, speculation is rife that the SHIELD team could be in for a comeback in the near future.
Avengers: Endgame and Agents of SHIELD are streaming now on Disney+.