After spending years working to take over the world of Hollywood blockbusters, Marvel Studios has now truly made themselves a part of television history as well. Last night we watched the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. come to an end with its first finale, both closing the doors on some months-long mysteries and opening other cases even wider. But the events that took place on the show have ramifications that go far beyond the central characters, as they are just a small part of a much larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted last fall, it has been working to add whole new layers to the comic book world, and now that the first season has ended it’s easy to see the most significant elements really stand out. So how exactly did the series affect the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe? Read on to find out!

SPOILER ALERT!: The rest of this article contains massive spoilers from the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so read on at your own risk!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tony Stark Has Privatized Global Security
It’s almost as though Tony Stark predicted the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe all the way back in Iron Man 2. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee and explaining the real power of the armor he created – describing himself as a "nuclear deterrent" – the billionaire/playboy/philanthropist boldly announced that he had successfully privatized world peace. Of course, this wasn’t true at the time, as that responsibility actually belonged to the folks over at S.H.I.E.L.D. But not anymore.

This little bit of information was spilled in an off-hand line by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Nothing Personal," and while it may have seemed insignificant, it may actually be a big deal: Tony Stark has now truly privatized global security. With S.H.I.E.L.D. destroyed, somebody had to pick up the slack and find a way to protect the world from unknown threats, and Stark Industries stepped up to that challenge. So how will this mission be accomplished? Perhaps through the creation of an android army… which is what ultimately leads to the robotic terror known as Ultron.

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