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With the production for what has been one of the most talked about pilots of the season finished, Joss Whedon is feeling pretty excited about the prospects for his ABC pilot, S.H.I.E.L.D.. He’s also addressing some of the talk that’s been going around regarding familiar faces showing up from Whedon’s past projects and other Marvel characters' potential appearances.

S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in the Marvel comics universe where Joss Whedon has made himself quite at home on the big screen, but while he isn’t discounting the possibility that we’ll see some familiar characters from that world, he’s dedicated to introducing us to the new ones first. He says there's "not a ton" of other Marvel character appearances planned, although it's certainly been discussed.

The same goes from bringing back some of the actors he's worked with in the past. Of course, there’s one familiar character set to return for the pilot. Clark Gregg will be reprising his role from The Avengers as Agent Phil Coulson. The rest of the cast, which includes ER’s Ming-Na, Chloe Bennett of Nashville and Killing Lincoln’s Brett Dalton among others, is made up of actors new to Whedon’s work. Whedon told TVLine how he chose the actors for the pilot.
You look for the best person for the role, and if that person is someone you already know, then great. That’s some work done for you, but as much as I would love to - and once did - make a movie just with my friends, you always want to increase the family.”

That’s not to say there won't be some familiar faces showing up, should the pilot go to series. Whedon addressed the talk that Cobie Smulders might return as Maria Hill, saying that her involvement in How I Met Your Mother limits that likelihood, but “if we can get a hold of her anytime, we will.”

Bottom line is that Whedon is mainly focused on the current cast of characters and of course on the future of the show. A hit series does tend to bring the guest stars out of the woodwork, however, and the longer it runs the more room there might be for bringing in some well-known Marvel characters - so the success of the project may well determine a lot. Word is the pilot is on the fast-track, so we’ll likely have answers on its future soon enough.