Joss Whedon hints at equal opportunity ass-whoopin’ for “S.H.I.E.L.D.”

After the critical and box office success of The Avengers this year, it is safe to say we are living in the Golden Age of Joss Whedon, which means, among other things: more badass women! Now, I loved Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow just as much as every other lesbian with eyeballs, but I still bristle a little about how she was outnumbered six-to-one by super-men. So it’s been a relief to watch the casting announcements role out for Whedon’s new Avengers TV spin-off, S.H.I.E.L.D., because the six-member team promises three lady heroes and three dudely heroes. Equal opportunity ass-whoopin’! But will any of the female leads be gay? We think there’s a chance!

“You’d think the guy who created Buffy might give me more lady backup.”

For the uninitiated among us, S.H.I.E.L.D. is Marvel’s catch-all military enforcement unit. These days it stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, which is really just a fancy way to say: “crime fighting with cool gadgets.” The organization has been around since the ’50s in comic books, and it’s had about ten million members, but Whedon has created five brand-new heroes for the TV series (plus fan-favorite Agent Coulson from the film).

Here’s a brief description of each of the S.H.I.E.L.D. characters and my guess on the probability of their gayness:

Melinda May (played by Ming-Na) — May is a hardcore soldier with advanced skills in weaponry and piloting. She’s also “a little damaged,” which is fine because Whedon writes “a little damaged” better than anyone. (See: The Hulk). Ming-Na played a lesbian badass in Stargate Universe, so in addition to cheering for the casting a woman of color, I’m also crossing my fingers that she’ll be super gay. [Chance of lesbianism: 60 percent]

Agent Leo Fitz (played by Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (played by Elizabeth Henstridge) — She’s a chemist and biologist, he’s a weapons expert. They came through training together, fight all the time, never leave each other’s sides. They’ll be the will they/won’t they, because every TV show needs shippers to stay alive. [Chance of lesbianism: zero percent for Fitz, five percent for Simmons]

Agent Grant Ward (Still uncast) — Ward is a hulking, brooding, solitary guy who is great in battle, but not so good with people. [Chance of lesbianism: Zero percent]

Skye (Still uncast) — She’s a sweet, confident, caring gal in her mid-20s who uses her wit and charm to her advantage when she doesn’t have the upper hand physically. A Willow Rosenberg-type, if you will. [Chance of lesbianism: 35 percent]

“That’s better.”

(Ming-Na as Melinda May, ScarJo as Black Widow, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jenna Simmons, and Yvonne Strahovski as Skye because that’s who I want to see cast in that part more than anyone else on earth.)

All in all, S.H.I.E.L.D. is shaping up to be a helluva TV show. Are you excited about Joss’ new superhero endeavor? Do you think any of these characters will be gay?