Well, True Believers, it happened. When Jeph Loeb, Joss Whedon, and the whole crew from ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con, they brought the whole pilot episode with them. I know, I’m extra bummed that I wasn’t there too, BUT we now know some of the nagging details that the internet has been toiling over since the first trailer was released.

The panel began with a short question and answer segment where a young fan asked if any heroes or villains from previous Marvel Studios productions would be making appearances in the new show. Executive Producer Joss Whedon fielded that question with this response:

“We may see some people, and we may see some new people from the marvel universe who are not yet cinematic… Probably, but I can’t say when because that’d be spoiling it.”

After a couple more questions, the crowd was then permitted to watch the pilot. Once credits rolled, the gang was brought back out to discuss the show further. /Film has video of the parts of the panel that were allowed to be filmed, so check that out below and pretend that you were there:

Now for the stuff that was cut out of the video. I warn you that things are going to get spoilery from here on out, so leave while you still can if you’re not into that sort of thing. I repeat, there are SPOILERS AHEAD. Since that’s out there now, you can’t get mad at me for ruining anything for you.

The first thing that semi-comes as a surprise is that Cobie Smulders is reprising her role as Agent Maria Hill for the series. She appears in the pilot, but Whedon says that she won’t appear in every episode. And I say that it semi-comes as a surprise because if you listen closely in several promotional videos, you can hear Smulders speaking with Brett Dalton’s Agent Grant Ward.

This is pretty great news because besides Coulson and Nick Fury, Hill is the face of S.H.I.E.L.D. that fans have already come to know. It’s always good to see a familiar face. And even though we’d love to see Samuel L. Jackson be the one to pop in and out every episode, how often do we see him on TV? Plus, as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury probably has other things he should be doing than checking in on Coulson and his team.

Comic Book Movie provided a bit more info about Smulder’s role in the pilot, along with the first look at Agent Hill from the series. According to this new information, the theory of Life Model Decoys might just have more clout after the first episode airs:

In the pilot, Coulson believes he died briefly, but was revived shortly after. None of The Avengers could know the truth since they don’t have the right clearance level. But when he’s not around, Maria Hill notes that Coulson can never know the truth about his death, possibly giving credence to our theory about Coulson being a Life Model Decoy. Whedon has previously noted that the mystery behind Coulson’s revival will unfold throughout the season, so don’t expect an answer soon!

So if Agent Coulson is in fact an LMD, then he’ll live on forever and we’ll get to see Clark Gregg in every Marvel movie ever! WOOO!

The other big reveal to come out of the panel is the identity of J. August Richards’ character. Previously, many theories surfaced suggesting that he would be playing Luke Cage, Patriot, or Rage, but all three are completely wrong. According to /Film, the actor plays Mike Peterson. As many of you are out there saying, ‘Who?’, this character does in fact appear in the Marvel Universe. First appearing in ‘Slapstick’ #1, Mike is a student that plays a supporting role to the New Warriors. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the character shares very little similarities with his comic book counterpart. In the show, Peterson is actually tied to the Extremis storyline that originated in ‘Iron Man 3’ and that’s where his powers come from.

From what we’re seeing in terms of reactions to the pilot, though, we were told that the show is not an Easter egg hunt, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is very connected to Marvel’s rich history on the page and on the screen. However, it still plays well to new fans who are unfamiliar with ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, ‘Iron Man’, or ‘The Avengers’. (But let’s face it, how many of those fans are stoked for this show and plan on tuning in?)

Basically, what I got out of all of this is that I can’t wait to put in my two cents when the show finally airs. What about you? Are you excited for Joss Whedon’s return to television? What do you think about the revelations from Comic-Con about the show? Sound off in the comments.

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg premieres on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 8:00pm on ABC.