With sky high anticipation leading up to the "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." premiere on ABC, fans were understandably waiting with baited breath for references to the Marvel Universe, and the pilot didn't disappoint, with a cameo appearance by Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill) and references not only to Natasha Romanov, but also Extremis -- the technology showcased in "Iron Man 3."
However, the attention to detail in the pilot and possible clues to where the series is headed goes far deeper than an off-hand remark. After reviewing through the episode to look specifically at the smaller details, here's some of what CBR's Steve Sunu uncovered.
MUSIC TO MY EARS
One of the only pieces of music that exists within the world and not as part of the score in the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot comes when Agent Grant Ward inflitrates the Parisian apartment. The song playing in the background is "Fais Comme Si," sung by Edith Piaf. Translated from the French, fais comme si means "pretend" -- an appropriate theme for a spy show.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." takes place primarily in Los Angeles -- but many of the roads will likely be unfamiliar to its real-life citizens. Although Marengo St. (the location of the lab explosion) and Cattaraugus Ave (the bus stop where Skye spots Michael Peterson) both exist in the real world, neither actually houses the locations seen in the pilot. At least Marengo and Cattaraugus exist -- Michael Peterson's apartment is apparently so out of the way, it doesn't even have a real-world location!
(Also, there's a blink-and-you'll miss it ad for Stark Industries on the Cattaraugus bus.)
According the driver's license Skye lifted from him, Mike lives at 1141 Abali Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90404. Hilariously enough, the sheriff's name on his apartment eviction notice is Bart Allenby -- a name very similar to that of DC Comics' Kid Flash.
If you're looking to get a bite to eat at an actual restaurant from the Marvel Universe, try the fictional Ruthie's Skillet. Ruthie's may be a fake restaurant, but that doesn't make the establishment any less impressive. The various menus and blackboards around the restaurant where Skye meets Mike has everything from sandwich specials (including a sloppy joe) to daily evening activities (karaoke on Saturdays and Sundays) -- and even a menu just to tout their apple pie and ice cream.
However, the most fun comes when inputting the coordinates Skye sends back to the mobile command unit towards the end of the episode: +34.056438º, -118.236757º. Those coordinates are the exact spot of the van outside Union Station in real life.
Mike's license isn't the only piece of identification shown in the pilot -- Agent Coulson, Agent Ward and Agent Maria Hill all get their IDs flashed on a screen when entering the command center of Hill's field office. Here's all the information on each ID:
Birthday: July 8, 1964
Badge Number: SKJ 08U7342
Issue date/expiration date: April 25, 2011 / April 25, 2015
Birthday: January 7, 1983
Badge Number: A 0849329
Issue date/expiration date: September 9, 2013 / September 9, 2015
Birthday: April 4, 1982
Badge Number: A 946430
Issue date/expiration date: February 25, 2010 / February 25, 2016
On top of those IDs, the seemingly nameless S.H.I.E.L.D. officer that Maria Hill entrusts the Chitauri artifact to actually does have a name: Agent Kirk Skadden, born August 30, 1962.
Apparently, 2015 is a popular time for IDs to expire -- Mike Peterson's license lists the expiration date as August 28, 2015.
Out of all the dates listed on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents' IDs, only Coulson's birthday falls on a Wednesday -- otherwise known as New Comic Book Day -- and brief research shows Marvel released two comics the day Agent Phil Coulson was born: "The Avengers" #6, the first appearance of the Masters of Evil, and "Tales of Suspense" #55 which featured a fight between Iron Man and the Mandarin.
WORDS, WORDS, WORDS
Skye's van has a staggering number of documents -- many of which are reports of super powered individuals exposed as frauds or speculation as to what S.H.I.E.L.D. actually does. (Plus, there's a text reference that actually refers to Centipede as "Human Centipede.") However, one particular headline on a report reads, "Mysterious Power Outages Traced to Valley Village Woman." The article is a printout from a publication called the "LA Daily Edge," which does not actually exist in real life.
When viewers are first introduced to Agent Melinda May, she's collating a Level 3 S.H.I.E.L.D. report. Its topic: a technical memorandum on the formation of central uplift in meteoric craters. There's even a diagram.
When Skye is deleting Mike Peterson's identity, here's a list of the items she deletes:
Department of Motor Vehicles Records Results
Federal Legal System Archive Results
State Archives Results
Image Recognition Search Run
The official designation for Coulson's mobile command center is S.H.I.E.L.D. Mobile Ops A-201, according to every screen on the plane.
On the smaller side, Coulson's red corvette, Lola, has a license plate number: 681 PCE. Skye's van is I54E965.
Mike Peterson's apartment has a few interesting tidbits that can be seen while he's talking with the Centipede doctor -- behind him are a stack of board games on a shelf including "Pac Man" and "DuckTales," both by Milton Bradley.
While searching the want ads in the print edition of the Los Angeles Daily Edge, one of the jobs Mike decides he doesn't want is Children's Apparel Production Manager.
The usually familiar beep of a heart monitor isn't present when Mike goes to visit his Centipede doctor in the hospital (room 5W008) -- that's because she's not connected to it. The screen is black with two words in red on it: "No Leads," which refers to the fact that it's not connected to a patient, but certainly could have a double meaning when it comes to an espionage show.
The truth serum QNBT16 actually does have another meaning: it's the official abbreviation for a barcode used by the Fort James Corporation for Quilted Northern Bath Tissue -- specifically, the 16-pack.
Skye hacks the mobile command center to get her coordinates to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, which triggers a security breach. The breach's code is 245762-ID. However, she's likely one of the more non-security conscious hackers around -- or at least pretty arrogant. Her login to access her secure network is SKYE and she only has an 8-character password.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."