Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. truly deserves a hand for its Season 2 finale “S.O.S.,” but Coulson’s work is far from finished with Season 3 fast approaching in the fall. To wit, producers have confirmed a major Secret Warriors nod from last night’s installment, which may already set up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s season 3 tie-in to the MCU.

You’re warned of major spoilers for last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 finale, but eagle-eyed viewers spotted something familiar about one of the outing’s final scenes, in which (a one-handed!) Coulson and Skye set off for their new mission, putting together a team of super-powered individuals. Looking closely at the blue file folder, one could spot the same “Caterpillars” codename that adorned Nick Fury and Daisy Johnson’s Secret Warriors team from the comics.

Agents of SHIELD Finale Secret Warriors Caterpillars

Executive producer Jeffrey Bell played a bit more coy about the Secret Warriiors setup, telling IGN:

Well, Daisy Johnson certainly has a big part in Secret Warriors and having a team like that. 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.

Also note the “secret” in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3's official logline:

Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) embarks on a deadly new secret mission to protect the world from new threats in the wake of SHIELD’s wars with Hydra and a rogue faction of Inhumans.

As with the prior Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons, it seems likely that Season 3 will build to some kind of tie-in with Captain America: Civil War, following The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron before it. That said, the Secret Warriors of the books were rooted primarily in the “Secret Invasion” storyline, in which Nick Fury deliberately chose obscure heroes for their anonymity (to Agents’ benefit, surely), while the MCU has long proven itself liberal with adopting the titles and stories of its source material.

Granted, we’d have to imagine that any whiff of crossover would have to come from the TV side, as Agents Season 3 reacted to whatever incarnation of the Superhuman Registration Act Captain America 3 ends up using, rather than a TV incident factoring into the film. Now that Season 3 will delve deeper into the search for enhanced humans (fingers crossed for at least some Defenders references), it’s hard not to imagine that Civil War would offer the most thematically relevant S.H.I.E.L.D. tie-in yet.

We’ll learn more from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 in the coming months, but could the show’s take on Secret Warriors end up the most Marvel-ously ingrained yet? What of Ward’s rogue Hydra branch, or that mysterious Kree stone that seemed to suck up Simmons? Start counting down and making your own predictions for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3!

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