During the early years of the show’s run, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was widely accepted as official Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. It boasted Clark Gregg’s fan favorite Phil Coulson in the lead role, operated on the fringes of storylines we’d seen play out on the big screen and featured countless cameos from familiar faces we’d met in the movies.
However, once Kevin Feige folded Marvel Television and set his sights on crafting a lineup of exclusive projects for Disney Plus, he effectively wiped the slate clean. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter were both moved to the Marvel Legacy section of the streaming service’s library not too long ago, so it’s clear the company’s Chief Creative Officer doesn’t view them as part of his shared mythology.
That hasn’t stopped a ton of talk making the rounds that Coulson and Chloe Bennet’s Quake could be welcomed back into the fold, or even that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could be given a canonical reboot as part of the Disney Plus lineup. However, Marvel’s What If…? may have retconned one of the show’s major plotlines to move it further away from continuity.
In the first episode of What If…?, Red Skull wants to use the Tesseract to bring a tentacled being into our world, which fans believed to be Shuma Gorath. Coincidentally, the beast looks the same as the Hydra logo, and Johann Schmidt’s interest in extra-dimensional likely inspired his choice of insignia.
However, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. explained that Hydra took their iconic seal from the Inhuman Hive, who was worshiped by the organization’s followers. It’s a minor thing, but it could be another indication that Coulson and the gang’s adventures unfolded somewhere other than the Sacred Timeline.