Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD originally planned to feature iconic comic book villain MODOK as a major antagonist, the showrunner has revealed.
Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the series saw Clark Gregg reprise his role as agent Phil Coulson, assembling an eccentric team of agents for strange missions around the world.
While the series was able to incorporate some elements of the comic books, introducing Ghost Rider, Quake and the Inhumans to the MCU, it generally forged into new terrain with its own original characters.
However, it has now emerged that the writers had planned to install one of Marvel’s most infamous villains as a major antagonist: MODOK (which stands for Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing).
The somewhat bizarre character was created in the 1960s as the leader of terrorist organisation Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), instantly recognisable by his appearance as a giant floating head with little arms and legs.
Jed Whedon, who co-created the sci-fi series alongside Avengers director Joss Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, told AV Club why MODOK ultimately never made it into the show.
He said: “We had a lot of ideas where we were — and I’ll say this, I don’t care — we were given the green light originally to use certain characters from Marvel, and started to break story based on those characters – [Cough] MODOK – and then they retracted it.
“So there were a bunch of things that were going to get a little bats**t crazy that were above our pay grade, in terms of the toys we were allowed to play with.”
It’s unclear exactly why Marvel withdrew their support for a MODOK appearance, but the character does seem to be gaining prominence across the company’s output.
Not only is he set to star in a comedic animated series, voiced by Patton Oswalt, but he also features as the main villain in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game, which arrives on Xbox One and PS4 next month.
Many fans have wanted MODOK to make his debut in a live-action Marvel film, with Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Stephen Markus and Christopher McFeely among the advocates.
However, due to his strange and unconventional design, there would be some storytelling challenges to overcome in bringing the character into our world.
Still, there’s plenty of weirdness in the Marvel Cinematic Universe already (courtesy of Guardians of the Galaxy), so a little bit more can’t hurt?
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is available to stream on Disney+. Sign up to Disney+ now for £5.99 per month or £59.99 for a full year. If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.