Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has always been in a bit of a weird position in the MCU. Though it is a part of the Marvel cinematic universe, it can’t fully crossover with the Marvel films, at least not now. It’s simply a difficult process crossing the TV and cinematic screens. Of course, that doesn’t mean Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D can’t display some sort of connection to the larger MCU.
Since the beginning of AoS, there have been special episodes or arcs that directly reference MCU movies. For example, the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D in Captain America: The Winter Solider reaches Coulson and his team in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 of the show and its theme of “Are Inhumans good or bad?” was heavily influenced by another Captain America film, Civil War, and its similar themes.
However, it’s not a one-way street, the films have been influenced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as well. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers are escorted off of a floating Sokovia from a Hellicarrier. It’s revealed in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D that Nick Fury got the Helicarrier from Agent Coulson.
With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D continuing for its fourth season on September 20, the series will be continuing its tradition of connecting to MCU films- this time with Doctor Strange. AoS Executive Producer Jed Whedon discussed how the show will connect with Doctor Strange in an interview with EW.
“The tie this year will feel more of a reflection of the movie, less an interweaving plot. As that movie hits the world, it comes at the right time in our show, and you will see some of those same ideas being explored.”
It seems that Doctor Strange and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will have a more thematic connection, rather than a direct crossover. This is similar to season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and its shared themes with Captain America: Civil War. The world of Doctor Strange and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are both going to deal with the bizarre side of the Marvel universe, with the latter getting deeper into the world of superhumans with the introduction of Ghost Rider.