Over the course of seven seasons of the ABC melodrama, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the events of the show seemingly became more and more detached from the goings on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Indeed, the majority of the events of the show’s final season were revealed to have taken place in an alternate timeline complete with its own unique history. Even before the show ended in 2020, the canonicity of it was a matter of debate and Marvel Studios has added fuel to that fire more than once in the last couple of years. Now, a new rumor suggests they may be preparing to do it again.
Production on the WandaVision spinoff, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, has been ongoing for a few months now and while not much in the way of spoilers has made its way off the Atlanta set, something incredibly interesting–and in line with the decanonization of AoS–just did. According to insider Daniel RPK, the Kathryn Hahn-centric streaming series will delve a little further into Agatha’s personal past and explore her history with one of the MCU’s most dangerous objects: the Darkhold.
The Darkhold played an important role in both WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before being destroyed by Wanda so while it may not play a role in the future of the MCU, Agatha: Coven of Chaos is rumored to include a revelation about the book’s past that will open a Pandora’s Box. According to RPK, Agatha: Coven of Chaos will make clear that Agatha Harkness has been in possession of the Darkhold for hundreds of years. Fans of both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Runaways will most certainly understand how impactful that rumored revelation will be to the canonicity of those shows.
Fans haven’t learned anything from WandaVision so while there’s certain to be any number of wild theories generated to work around what Agatha’s centuries-long possession of the book means, if this rumor is true it would effectively (once again) call into question the canonicity of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Darkhold played an integral part in Season 4 of the ABC series but if Agatha has kept the book with her for over one hundred years, Lucy and Joseph Bauer didn’t find it in a basement and Robbie Reyes didn’t take it to Hell with him because…you know…Agatha had it.
In cases like this, Occam’s Razor works best and the simplest explanation makes the most sense: the Darkhold in Agatha’s possession in WandaVision isn’t the same as the one from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because the two shows don’t take place in the same timeline. Fans can still enjoy all seven seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but the evidence continues to mount that the entire series should not be considered MCU canon though an argument could be made that some early seasons were. Marvel Studios already went well out of their way to completely redesign the book for WandaVision, so this rumor shouldn’t ultimately be too shocking; however, we’ll have to wait to see Agatha: Coven of Chaos to get the full context and history of the Darkhold before knowing for sure what Marvel Studios intentions are.