‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Won’t Feature X-Men

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will not feature characters from the X-Men universe due to rights issues, according to executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen.

“We can never [even] use the word ‘mutant,'” Tancharoen told the Wall Street Journal.

The upcoming ABC series is a spinoff of The Avengers, taking place after the film in continuity. While it is something of a sequel, co-executive producer Jed Whedon (who is married to Tancharoen) warned viewers against expecting appearances from other characters in the Marvel universe.

“There is a danger of creating an expectation that [they] are going to see the sequel to The Avengers, Whedon said. “They’re going to see something very cool… but we also want them to come meet our characters and not just wait to see Iron Man swoop into the screen.”

Joss Whedon also previously explained that while characters like Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hall could appear when their schedules permit, “Right now, I want to involve people in the characters that we’ve created for the show and then we’ll worry about the other stuff.” Smulders officially signed on for the series in July.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. revolves around Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the leader of the organization. Coulson was killed by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in The Avengers, but comic books and their adaptations generally don’t adhere to the concept of “permadeath.” Gregg said he has heard a number of theories about how Coulson could have survived, and that he initially wasn’t sure about returning. That is, until he talked to Joss Whedon.

“When Joss described to me the mystery that takes place in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the complexity and the unanswered questions about Phil Coulson standing there trying to deal with this, I found it so fascinating and so true to the world of the comics and mythology in general as I understand them that I was immediately in,” he said in April.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will premiere September 24.