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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went in a bold new direction for the last leg of Season 4. The agents were stuck in a digital framework reality in which long-dead characters were alive again and still-living characters were very, very different. While the framework was obviously a bad place for the good guys of the show, it did enable us to see Ward and Trip and others back in the flesh. Now, executive producer Jeff Bell has revealed whether we can expect to see any framework characters again, saying this:
Aida rebuilt her body out of dark stuff from a dark, terrible universe, so she wasn't exactly human. There was a Darkhold filter through which she came, so it seemed that anyone who came back that way was not, in fact, really themselves, but some corrupted version of themselves.
Although A.I.D.A. was able to escape from the framework and build herself a body of flesh and blood, it seems that the same won't have happened for any other framework characters before the framework was destroyed. Even if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was to reveal that A.I.D.A. somehow built bodies for other framework characters without telling anybody, there's no way that a character with a body built from Darkhold knowledge would be the same as in the framework. Ward, Trip, Radcliffe, and even Hope may have been on the side of the good guys within the framework, but Jeff Bell's comments to EW indicate that their loyalties would have shifted once they had bodies costructed.
Admittedly, with all his history, Ward would be perfectly believable as a character who seemed good before turning very bad. Still, executive producer Jed Whedon has explained another reason why framework characters didn't make it to the real world. Scheduling, personal issues, and other TV show commitments mean that guest stars in Season 4 wouldn't be available again in Season 5. As somebody who was thrilled to see B.J. Britt back in action as Trip, the news that all the framework characters are gone is a bummer for me. Still, it could be for the best that S.H.I.E.L.D. explores more new characters moving forward. After how amazing Season 4 was, I'm inclined to give the show the benefit of the doubt.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was renewed for a Season 5 in the 2017-2018 TV season and it has been pushed from Tuesday nights to Friday nights, but new episodes won't kick off in the fall as usual. Marvel's Inhumans will occupy the S.H.I.E.L.D. time slot first, with S.H.I.E.L.D. presumably returning as a midseason show. We have a while to wait before we can make sense of the crazy cliffhanger.
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