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?

After all that talk of inclusivity, Star Trek Beyond falls into the Hollywood trap of implied sexuality.

Mild spoilers for Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Beyond, already a wildly anticipated movie, made headlines ahead of its release because of the franchise’s decision to introduce the first openly LGBT character: Mr Sulu, played by John Cho.

While this decision was certainly met with excitement, there was disappointment, too. The original Mr Sulu, George Takei, openly voiced his opinion that they should have introduced a new LGBT character rather than expand on original canon (as they have been the whole trilogy), while Simon Pegg beautifully argued that there was power in using an established character who wouldn’t be defined by his sexuality.

Then came the movie itself, and while the introduction of gay Sulu is still a great thing, we’re left sorely disappointed by Beyond‘s decision to depict the LGBT relationship — or rather, hardly depict it at all.

As reported by our friends at The Mary Sue, the scene featuring Sulu and his husband Ben depicts a “lukewarm” relationship, although Sulu is very affectionate with the pair’s daughter.

This is, unfortunately, a common problem in Hollywood when an LGBT couple — almost impossibly — makes it into a big franchise film. They’re allowed to be there, but having any kind of physical interaction even remotely resembling what a heterosexual couple might have still seems to be off-limits.

Related: Hollywood is failing the LGBT community: GLAAD slams Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros.

And, according to John Cho, there was actually a kiss filmed. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” he told Collider. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Cho points out that Ben was played by a non-actor, writer Doug Jung, and says, “Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”

And we wish we could have seen it. Introducing a major LGBT character in the Star Trek franchise is a fantastic first step, and depicting two POC actors raising a child together is a great statement — but, unfortunately, the decision to cut out their kiss (which was already chaste, by the sounds of it) is emblematic of Hollywood’s continuous phobia of depicting LGBT relationships and intimacy on the big screen.

As Screen Crush also points out, this exact same scenario played out in Independence Day: Resurgence, too. In Finding Dory, the lesbian couple are only implied, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence.

LGBT representation (when present at all) is always so subtle, evidently in fear of offending straight audiences while not totally erasing non-straight sexualities. And, sadly, even that is considered a big step forward — but maybe it’s time we start depicting humanity as it is, and not what society wished it was 100 years ago.

Here’s looking at you, Star Wars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”