To kick off the panel, moderator and S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeph Loeb introduced writer-EP Jed Whedon, EP Jeffrey Bell, as well as stars Clark Gregg, Ian De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen -- and of course, the "big guy" himself, Joss Whedon. (Gregg's introduction was particularly great, as his entrance was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation as he mimed pulling Loki's scepter out of his chest.)
"Due to legal reasons, we can't show you a clip," Joss replied, "so we're just going to show you the episode."
Needless to say, the audience erupted, and the room was then treated to a screening of the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot. Though we'll save our full review for later, the reaction from the crowd was palpably positive. Tonally, it felt very "Whedonesque," an like a natural extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with plenty of action, one-liners and lots and lots of references and nods for fans. No doubt, this is a show tailor-made for well-versed Marvel fans.
As expected, there were also few fun guest appearance in the pilot. Not surprisingly (given it sure sounded like her in the trailer), Cobie Smulders was indeed on hand to reprise her Avengers role as Agent Maria Hill. There was also a surprise appearance from a cast member from a Whedon show we didn't know about, which also garnered huge cheers from the audience. Overall, if the crowd reaction was any indication, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sure please loyal fans of The Avengers and Marvel fans in general.
Other things we learned from the panel? At one point, Joss was asked if we might see any other Marvel superheroes in future episodes, to which he replied, "Bane, we're gonna have Bane," he joked. "We may see some new people from the Marvel Universe that are not yet cinematic... but I can't say when, because that would be spoiling it."
As for Clark Gregg returning from the grave? That remains a bit of a mystery, but the actor did explain to the audience, "I didn't like being dead, but I liked my death... and then I met Lola." (Lola, as we've seen in the trailers, is Gregg's personal fire engine red hot rod.)
But if the crowd thought the first episode was good, Clark said, "Just wait until episode two."