Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has been teasing constantly that they plan to “shockingly” kill off a member of the team in the season finale next month. As an act of promotion, Marvel is issuing this special rare cover for the first issue of their “CIVIL WAR II” comic that mimicks the famous “Death of Gwen Stacy” issue of Spider-Man. IGN was given the reveal. Since it’s drawn by Greg Land, you can be certain these faces have been traced:


Here’s why this is a bad idea: the show just got rid of two characters. These characters (Mockingbird and her ex-husband) took a while to get established, but by this season were welcome members of SHIELD — and now they’re not there. Instead they’ve been kicked into their own 2017 spinoff, Marvel’s Most Wanted (which hopefully does not mean the end of Agent Carter). And they’re not alone: I doubt the show will be hanging onto Ward now that he’s technically dead and a monstrous hivemind creature is using his body. Once the creature is defeated, we’ll have seen the last of him. And now they want to get rid of a fourth person too?

I wouldn’t be concerned if replacing all these people was easy. But this show has a hard time breaking in new characters and really needs to hold onto the surviving ones it’s got. It’s not hard to imagine how Season Four will begin. A pretty face shows up and makes a few quips, maybe karate-kicks somebody, just like new members have done previously, and it’ll just be so hard to care. When new guys show up on SHIELD they are little more than a bag of cliches. Mockingbird started out like this.

Instantly likeable characters has never been what SHIELD is good at. It’s good at fleshing them out over time, but a lot of TV viewers don’t have the patience for that kind of thing, and they really won’t have the patience for four replacements at once.

As for who this marked actor or actress is, there have been rumors that Ming-Na Wen wants off the show, so Melinda May is my best guess. Least likely are either part of FitzSimmons — I know they just did it, but that’s only a dead giveaway if the writers are hacks, and on top of that, both of them have already gone through arcs where they thought the other was dead. It can’t be FitzSimmons because it’s been done.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC.