The ever-surprising Joss Whedon delivered again by bringing the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD along with him to San Diego Comic-Con 2013.

The episode begins with a little boy and his dad (who may look familiar to Angel fans, as he is played by J.August Richards) looking into a shop window at some toys when all of a sudden there is an explosion in the building behind them.

The father quickly jumps into action and uses his hidden supernatural abilities to scale the brick building, plunging his hands into the brick with each movement. He then jumps and lands safely, bringing with him the woman he has now saved.

Whlie all of this is going on, we see the girl we will soon know as Skye, filming the entire encounter with her cell phone, plunging us all into queries of “Who is this girl?” and “I wonder whose side she’s on?”

While the audience was left to wonder about this mysterious girl, a new face, Agent Grant Ward steps into the scene, pulling off a caper in which he steals fingerprints off a glass, uses them to break into a fireplace/safe and manages to fight off the hostiles that appear quickly and escape on a helicopter.

The introduction of this character does one thing exceptionally well, it shows just how capable Agent Ward is of handling things by himself.

The next punch comes as Ward is talking to someone we haven’t seen, and the reveal shows it is none other than Agent Maria Hill, played by Colbie Smulders, and they are discussing the presence of beings with supernatural powers, including the green guy, the retro guy in a star-spangled suit, and the god from that fight in New York City.

Ward goes on to say, “I don’t think Thor is technically a god.” and Agent Hill responds, “You haven’t been near his arms.” We then get our first look at the very much alive Agent Coulson just as Agent Ward is discussing the knowledge of his death. It will never not be great seeing our favorite agent donning his own version of a super suit.

We go on to find out that Nick Fury faked Coulson’s death in order to bring the clan of superheroes now known as the Avengers together to save the planet. Coulson was sent to a grass shack in Tahiti, where he got a little time off, but he is now more than happy to be back on the job.

'Agents of SHIELD' episode 1 recap

Next is the first mention of the Rising Tide, a force that we believe may be the antagonistic force for season 1. We also get a little thrill as Ron Glass (better known as Shepherd Book to any and all Firefly fans out there) steps on screen in a small role, but it is never not thrilling seeing him involved in another Joss Whedon project.

Agent Hill and Ron Glass’ character share a quick moment about Coulson’s trip to Tahiti that suggests that everything may not quite be as it seems with the faking of his death. There are definitely some variables in play that we cannot wait to see more of in season 1.

Next we fly back to Skye as she sneaks in to meet with the hooded hero we saw at the beginning of the episode. The immediate feeling about her personality is that she seems a little bit of a fangirl when it comes to guys with superpowers.

She tries to convince the hooded hero, whose name is Mike Peterson, that he should come out of the shadows and be proud of what he’s done. She also gets a chance at an iconic line, but doesn’t quite get it right when she says, “With great power comes… a ton of weird crap.” She leaves him with a warning, “They’re coming for you.”

We then get our first look at Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda Mays, a clearly experienced agent that has opted for desk work in exchange for the ever crazy field-work. Coulson tells her just how badly he needs her help, and she reluctantly agrees to “drive the bus.” The “bus” is a very impressive black jet that serves more as a flying command center for their outfit than simply a mode of transportation.

The following scene is a first look at Fitz and Simmons, a dynamic duo when it comes to technology and investigation, including a Hermione joke from Simmons, which made this writer instantly love her and her partner.

It was at this point in the episode that it was clear that this was just another amazing property from Joss Whedon, and that his stamp of wit, humor, and action is all over Agents of SHIELD.

Next we go back to Skye as she is broadcasting herself talking about the Rising Tide, threatening SHIELD amongst other things. Coulson triangulates her position and interrupts her by thrusting open the van door and throwing a black hood over her head. They take her back to their turf and interrogate her about the name of the hooded hero.

She mentions something called Centipede, which elicits a ‘What?’ look from Agent Ward. When she refuses to name the hero, Coulson threatens her with a newly developed truth serum, which he surprisingly injects into Agent Ward, leaving his agent in the hands of a skilled hacker who has a few interesting questions to ask.

While Skye doesn’t get anything top secret out of Agent Ward, she does feel more like a part of the team, and we realize that Coulson is more interested in making her a part of the team than punishing her for the trouble she has caused.

agents of shield partners wide

We then flash to Agents Mays, Fitz and Simmons at the site of the fire from the beginning of the episode as they investigate what may have caused it in an attempt to solve the mystery of the hooded hero.

The elusiveness of the hooded hero continues, as we saw him taking on the phone to a mysterious ‘doctor’ who somehow managed to give him his powers, and the next time we see him, he is confronting a former boss as he looks desperately for work that will allow him to take care of his son. He ends the interaction by killing his boss, proving that whatever has given him his powers has also altered his mind.

He then visits the hospital to see the woman that he saved, who we quickly find out is the ‘doctor’ he was talking to earlier. She is not happy about his heroic stunt, and scolds him for showing off and exposing them both. We find out that there was a patient before that had also been given the Centipede, and he went crazy and eventually killed himself in an explosion.

While the hooded hero continues to seek knowledge of his condition and find a way to be there for his son, Coulson’s team is getting closer to solving the mystery themselves. Fitz digitally replicates the scene before the explosion, and we find out that the previous patient of the ‘doctor’ was the source of the explosion, not just a victim.

The Centipede may give a person superhuman abilities, but it also causes them to lose their minds and eventually burst in anger due to a volatile substance known as Extremis.

Peterson takes Skye hostage in an attempt to save her and himself, also requesting that she delete any and all of his presence so he can effectively disappear and keep himself and his son safe from the powers behind Centipede.

Skye skillfully triggers a security breach and gives Coulson the coordinates of her position, and our favorite agent responds just as we expect, he rushes to her aid. A fight breaks out as Peterson tries to escape both Coulson’s team and the assassin that the doctor had instructed to kill him, and results in Ward being forced to shoot Mike in the head.

Fortunately, due to his superhuman abilities, Mike Peterson survives and last we know, his child is safe as Mike Peterson recovers from his wounds.

Our last look at the episode shows Skye and Coulson zooming away in his hovercraft vintage red car toward what Agent Ward called a “084,” after Coulson requests that Skye seriously consider joining the team long-term and helping them further their cause.

Are you excited to see ‘Agents of SHIELD’ premiere this fall?

Hollywood reacts to ‘Begin Again’ director’s candid criticism of Keira Knightley’s acting skills

Should the trust between actors and directors ever be broken?

10:33 am EDT, May 30, 2016

After Begin Again director John Carney’s candid comments about Keira Knightley’s acting went viral, Hollywood has taken to Twitter to defend the British actress.

In case you’ve somehow not heard the story, here’s the sitch:

Over the weekend, The Independent released an interview with Irish director John Carney, in which he had some harsh words for former colleague Keira Knightley.

The pair worked together on the 2013 musical rom-com Begin Again, where Knightley starred opposite Mark Ruffalo as a promising young folk singer recovering from a broken heart.

Carney evidently wasn’t satisfied with Knightley’s performance, claiming she “always has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done.”

Related: Exclusive: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright talk Anna Karenina and the choice to set it in the world of theater

Going on to praise both Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s performances, Carney said, “I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

“I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he continued. “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.”

Carney concluded, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Now, Carney clearly had a frustrating experience working with Knightley on this film, and his distinction between ‘proper film actors’ and ‘movie stars’ may be legitimate in theory. Begin Again certainly wasn’t the great critical hit that Carney’s Once had been, and at the time of the movie’s release, Keira Knightley herself admitted that she struggled with the material, not being a singer-songwriter herself and having no great appreciation for music.

“It’s terrible. I know nothing about music whatsoever,” she told The Guardian. “I was always more into reading and drama. I was such a geek. … There’s often a huge link between music and memory. And I’ve got such a bad memory.”

But the issue Hollywood professionals have with Carney’s comments seem to have less to do with Knightley’s specific performance, and more about the fact that Carney made these comments at all.

Ava DuVernay certainly makes a great point about why Carney should have stayed silent:

Both industry professionals and notable journalists have joined DuVernay in speaking out against Carney. Here are some of their reactions:

All the same, there are some that find Carney’s candidness refreshing.

What do you think? Should John Carney have held back his criticism of Keira Knightley out of professional courtesy? Or was he right to share his negative experience?

John Carney rose to international fame with Once in 2007, and this year he’s coming out with a musical drama titled Sing Street.

Spectre director Sam Mendes is officially not returning for more James Bond movies.

While we wait for (almost certain) confirmation that Daniel Craig won’t reprise his role as 007 in the next James Bond film, we can at least contend with the knowledge that Sam Mendes will not direct Bond 25.

The two-time James Bond director came on board the franchise for the wildly successful Skyfall, but his follow-up Spectre was not considered as great of a success.

Even before Spectre‘s release, Mendes was talking about quitting the all-consuming franchise, saying at the time, “I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.” But it was only during a Welsh literature festival that he finally confirmed his departure.

Related: Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra doesn’t want to be a Bond Girl, she wants to be Bond

“It was an incredible adventure. I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else [to direct],” said Mendes, as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

Bond 25 is likely to be completely new chapter of the franchise, with Daniel Craig set to follow Mendes’ lead and officially announce his departure soon. Everyone’s been expecting him to bow out ever since his controversial promotional campaign for Spectre, and it’s even more likely now that his two-time collaborator has called it quits.

On the speculation about who might replace Craig, Mendes says, “I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect.”

“[Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who is going to be the next Bond, end of story. And without that there would have been no Daniel Craig because public support for Daniel was zero. It was her saying: ‘That man over there, he’s going to change the whole tenor, I’m going to cast him.’ That turned the whole thing on its head,” says Mendes.

Rumor has it that Tom Hiddleston is in talks to be the next James Bond, but until we learn more, we can speculate away as we wish! It’s also time to start making those Bond 25 director wishlists. Anyone know if Ava DuVernay is available?

How will ‘The Flash’ finale affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?

Or will it at all?

11:00 am EDT, May 29, 2016

In the final moments of the Flash‘s season 2 finale, Barry made a decision that could have major ramifications for the other Arrow-verse shows.

It looks like The Flash is headed in the direction of Flashpoint, a comic book story in which Barry saves his mother and creates an alternate future in which he never became The Flash, and the world is in chaos. I’ll do a more in-depth look at this story later in the hiatus.

On The Flash, the death of Barry’s father sent him on a downward spiral that resulted in him going back in time and stopping The Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. Barry watched as his season 1 counterpart faded away as the timeline changed before assuring his mother that she was safe.

It’s early, but I’ll take a shot at theorizing what this change could mean not only for The Flash but the other Arrow-verse shows as well.

The Flash season 2, episode 18 recap Barry, Caitlin, Cisco

‘The Flash’

All we know about The Flash‘s third season so far is that Tom Cavanagh will be back as a series regular, indicating there will be some version of Harrison Wells in play. I believe that is likely to be the Earth-1 version of Wells, the one who Eobard Thawne murdered and whose identity Thawne stole, since the original timeline of those events has been changed.

There is also a good chance that when Barry returns to the alternate future he’s created, he’ll no longer have his speed since there would have been no impetus for Barry to become a CSI. Without being at his lab at CCPD, he wouldn’t have been thrown into a rack of chemicals when he was struck by lightning, thus granting him powers.

It’s also likely Barry also won’t be as close with the West family, since he wouldn’t have been taken in and raised by them, which will be heartbreaking.

We also know that the original Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator wasn’t meant to go active until several years after the one Eobard Thawne-as-Wells created; he wanted to expedite the process so he could return to his own time. If that timeline remains the same, there won’t be nearly as many metahumans on the the loose since the particle accelerator created the majority of those we’ve met.

Flash and Arrow crossover

‘Arrow’

Stephen Amell doesn’t know whether the Flash finale will affect Arrow, though it will be odd if it doesn’t since time across Earth-1 has been changed. “I do know that we’ve done a lot of work on Arrow to introduce the other shows, for lack of a better term, and now that that’s all done, we’re focused on doing the things that we do well for season 5,” he tells ComicBook.com.

He adds, “Arrow is at its best when we’re dealing with problems in Star City. We’re not a time-travel show, we’re not a multi-Earth show, though obviously [we do that] with crossovers and stuff like that. We’re Arrow, we deal with Star City, and I feel like we’ll be better off focusing on that.”

Considering Barry was directly responsible for the Team Arrow’s survival in Nanda Parbat at the end of season 3 as well as when Vandal Savage attacked in the season 4 crossover, though, it seems impossible that such a major change in time wouldn’t affect the group in some way, especially if there is no longer a Flash.

One change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Laurel’s survival, but I won’t hold my breath.

Legends of Tomorrow season 1, episode 1 recap team

‘Legends of Tomorrow’

One reveal from the Flash finale that seems especially likely to impact Legends in some way is the appearance of Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger. In the comics, Jay Garrick is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, which the Legends finale introduced via Rex Tyler.

John Wesley Shipp has teased that the writers are excited to explore more of the Jay Garrick character, and he speculates that will include the JSA. It will be interesting to see if he crosses over to that show at any point.

As for the time travel change, if the team does take on the role of the Time Masters, as they’d considered doing before Rex Tyler’s arrival, that seems like a major event for them to take notice of.

It’s also worth noting in the comics during Flashpoint that Leonard Snart is a hero in Central City known as Citizen Cold — I’d love to see Wentworth Miller (who will recur on both Flash and Legends next season) play that part for a bit.

Supergirl season 1, episode 18 airs tonight Kara, Barry

Bonus: ‘Supergirl’

Some are theorizing that this change may, somehow, merge Kara’s world with the Arrow-verse now that Supergirl is on the same network with the other shows. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it since Kara and Barry are an absolute delight together — and we know a major four-series crossover is in the works.

All that being said, there is also the possibility that the Flashpoint events will remain on The Flash, such as in an alternate universe, because of the concern that too many viewers of Arrow in particular don’t also watch The Flash and don’t want to have to catch up just to understand the show. This is a complexity of having a shared universe.

While I understand that concern, however, I feel like storytelling concerns should take precedent. And if you’re going to create that shared universe, you need to embrace what comes with that, including shows having direct affects on one another.

How do you think the ‘Flash’ finale will affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?