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The premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 6, which was once thought to be held until the summer, is fast-approaching. Although no official date has been announced at this point, the new season is set to kick off in May, and Marvel released a brand new image hyping Season 6 that could indicate a betrayal from one of the major characters.
In this new pic, the main members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. are arranged in a clear homage to Leonardo da Vinci's famous The Last Supper painting, and The Last Supper doesn't exactly depict a happy dinner party where everything goes swimmingly. Take a look:
In case your art history is a bit fuzzy, The Last Supper depicts the final meal between Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles. At the supper, Jesus reveals that he knows one of his not-so-loyal apostles is set to betray him to the Romans, but he doesn't name the identity of the traitor. The traitor is of course Judas, and the rest of the apostles are a combination of shocked, doubtful, and appalled at the news. Is the S.H.I.E.L.D. character standing in Judas' spot going to turn on the team?
Now, the S.H.I.E.L.D. ensemble is not comprised of 13 characters, so the show's take on The Last Supper took some liberties. New S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Mack is in the center position held by Jesus in the painting; it's where the other characters are positioned that is more interesting. Interestingly, Mack is looking straight into the camera.
Yes, the appearance of Fitz alive and awake (and pointing to what looks more like a craps table than a dinner table) is certainly worth noting, and Simmons looks happy to be hanging out between her living husband and future grandson. Along with Daisy, they stand in for four of the apostles who don't do any betraying and aren't really the biggest names among the apostles. The placements of note are on the left.
Yo-Yo is in the place of the apostle John, who is considered by many to be one of Jesus' most beloved apostles. Then, on the farthest left, we have May and Coulson. If the S.H.I.E.L.D. image does follow the placement of The Last Supper, then it stands to reason that either May or Coulson could betray the good guys.
Why the uncertainty? Well, in The Last Summer, the positioning of the heads puts future pope Peter on the right of Judas, but the seating arrangement actually has Judas in the middle between Peter and John. May and Coulson don't overlap in the image like the people do in the painting, so: which character is more likely to betray S.H.I.E.L.D.? May as Judas, or Coulson as Judas? Let's start at the left with Melinda May.
May Betrays S.H.I.E.L.D.
May has always been on of the most difficult major characters to read, as she excels at putting up a stoic front to hide her true feelings. A limited number of people have broken through that barrier, with the most notable being Coulson. Unfortunately for May (as well as fans and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Coulson apparently died over the hiatus between Season 5 and Season 6 due to his deal with Ghost Rider. Could May retreat behind her mask and be more unreadable than ever after losing him?
If so, it's possible that she could seem like she's betraying some of the others at S.H.I.E.L.D. It wouldn't be the first time she was mistaken for a traitor, as she seemed like a pretty likely candidate way back in Season 1, before she and Coulson got cozier with each other.
May can also be very pragmatic when necessary, even if she doesn't enjoy it. If she sees something that needs to be done for the greater good, even if it means betraying what her friends want, isn't it conceivable that she would do it? Honestly, after what Fitz did to Daisy last season, I can't really imagine a S.H.I.E.L.D. betrayal being much more of a violation. Thank goodness he wasn't in his right mind for that, or it could be difficult to root for him and Fitzsimmons!
Honestly, if May is depicted as a "Judas" in Season 6, as her placement in the Last Supper image hints is possible, then I expect it will be the result of a misunderstanding or something done for the greater good. May is too central a figure and too firmly one of the good guys for it to be believable that she betrays everyone and everything for selfish reasons, even if she did lose the man she loved.
I do have to wonder if it means something that May is one of the three characters looking in the general direction of the camera, if not quite as directly into it as Mack. Does this mean that the three looking into the camera are going to be among the biggest players? And will the non-Judas stand-in become Mack's right-hand? This brings us to...
Coulson 2.0 Betrays S.H.I.E.L.D.
Once upon a time, it was all but impossible to believe that a character played by Clark Gregg would betray the good guys of S.H.I.E.L.D., unless that character was a LMD or doppelganger or perhaps even a Skrull. Season 6 will be a different story, though, as Gregg confirmed that the character he plays in the new season will not be the Phil Coulson fans have come to know and love.
The trailer seemed to reveal a more sinister Coulson who didn't have the S.H.I.E.L.D. connections and humor that made him so endearing, and Clark Gregg told CinemaBlend's TV Editor Nick Venable that the new Coulson will look "an awful lot like Phil Coulson to these people," but "may be a little disturbing." Even the agents who have encountered things like LMDs may not be inclined to assume that this new guy who looks just like their friend who died is a baddie, especially if they're deeply missing Coulson 1.0.
If Coulson 2.0 manages to worm his way into the good graces of S.H.I.E.L.D., isn't it all too believable that he could betray them to further his own cause? Playing Coulson has been a challenge for Clark Gregg, as he himself admitted, and it would stand to reason that playing a totally different personality while looking exactly the same would make his job in Season 6 all the more complicated. Coulson 2.0 isn't a longstanding hero like May, so him playing the Judas makes sense.
Plus, he's totally lurking creepily in the background of the Last Supper-esque pic, even as he looks into the camera. Aesthetically speaking, he strikes me as way more of a Judas stand-in than good old May. That said, there is another possibility from this Last Supper/Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. image.
Nobody Betrays S.H.I.E.L.D. And This Is Just A Fun Image To Get Fans Talking
Not all images actually need to have a deeper meaning, right? The Last Supper-esque image is just that: an image, not an episode still or screenshot. Maybe the folks at Marvel and S.H.I.E.L.D. just thought arranging the characters like da Vinci's Jesus and the apostles would be a fun way to get fans hyped ahead of the premiere. Battlestar Galactica did a Last Supper image that didn't have any deeper meaning, according to Katee Sackhoff. May that's the case with S.H.I.E.L.D.
We'll have to wait and see. As mentioned above, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has not yet announced a premiere date for Season 6 beyond that it will hit the airwaves in May on ABC. We do know that S.H.I.E.L.D. has already been renewed for Season 7, which Clark Gregg believes will be the final season. If you need some viewing options between now and May, swing by our midseason TV premiere schedule.