Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. evolved a lot over the course of season two between introducing Mockingbird, unveiling the Inhumans and finally telling us Skye's real name, and the season finale teased an even bigger possible evolution for season three. By the way, if you still haven't watched the finale, you might want to turn away now if you're afraid of SPOILERS.
So, as the two-hour finale neared its end, we saw Coulson and Skye (whose real name is Daisy "Quake" Johnson) getting set for a new mission that will see them hopefully rounding up a team of superpowered people. Remember that blue file folder in the scene? Well, Marvel Comics fans caught on to a very specific comic-book reference stamped on its label.
For those of you who don't know, "Caterpillars" is a code name that the comic-book versions of Nick Fury and Daisy Johnson used for The Secret Warriors, an underground superhero team that was formed in 2008, when Fury first learned of the alien sleeper agents posing as superheroes which would form the basis for the Secret Invasion event. In the comics, they played a major role in fighting off the secret Skrull invasion, got their own ongoing series in 2009, and ultimately regrouped to battle HYDRA sleeper agents in S.H.I.E.L.D., something the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already tackled. The team was specifically made up of obscure heroes because Fury believed they were the least likely to be Skrull sleepers, and that obscurity could help the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, since lower-level heroes aren't likely to get their own movies (at least, not yet; I'm still hoping for a Fat Cobra movie by 2025).
So, are the Secret Warriors really coming to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season three? According to executive producer Jeffrey Bell ... kind of. Maybe.
"Well, Daisy Johnson certainly has a big part in Secret Warriors and having a team like that," Bell said. "If you’ll notice, Coulson says right now she is the only person in what might be this new outfit.
"But you know, the idea of a team of powered people is something we’ve seen in the show, and I think there’s a world down the road where we do our version. We do our version of all these things so they may not be Secret Warriors but there’s a whole lot of super-powered people fighting super-powered people. "
That’s not really what we do or what we can even do on a weekly series. But tipping our hats to that direction I think is something we’re suggesting there in the new season."
So, maybe not exactly Secret Warriors, but a hint of Secret Warriors? A Secret Warriors-esque story? Obviously, Bell doesn't want to give away where the show's going, but it's clear Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is after even more ambitious story goals for season three.