MARVEL Changes The Name of SHIELD Show and Casts That One Dude Who Killed Vampires

Joss Whedon’s dipped into his bag of cronyism and decided to cast J. August Richards in the new SHIELD show.  If that name sounds familiar, then you probably recognize it  from the “cancelled just when it was gettin’ good!” series Angel. We still haven’t heard any specifics on his role, but I hope he serves for more than a single episode’s villain.

I know that may sound a bit bizarre, especially since I like to criticize Whedon’s work with the Marvel Universe (must every character be a humorous parody?), but I always enjoyed Richards as vampire slayer extraordinaire Charles Gunn, troubling television tropes and all.

But that’s not the only news to surface from the House of Ideas. Apparently the title “SHIELD” wasn’t specific enough (or maybe it just sounds too similar to CSI & NCIS), so they’ve decided to re-title the project MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

A mouthful, isn’t it?

Here’s the full press release from our pals at ABC who love to release press releases on Saturday afternoons:

Joss Whedon (MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) shows us not all heroes are super with MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fresh from his role in the summer’s box office smash, MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns to the worldwide law enforcement organization S.H.I.E.L.D. He puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown. That team consists of straight arrow Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), an expert in combat and espionage; pilot and martial artist Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen); and brilliant if socially awkward scientists Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). They’ll be joined by civilian new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).

Prepare for an epic adventure that showcases the hope and wonder of the human spirit. This is a world of Super Heroes, aliens and the unusual – of action, spectacle and world spanning stories. The show will speak to the human condition through the lens of our very human, non-powered S.H.I.E.L.D agents – that together we are greater than we are apart, and that we can make a difference in the world.

Executive Produced and co-written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse, Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias) and Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) comes Marvel’s first live-action TV series, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

But at least the current logo is a change of pace from the usual gun-iron font of typical Marvel fare.