In the eyes of fans, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had its own timeline problems in the early parts of the series. Beyond season 2, the events of the series just didn’t fit in with the main MCU timeline. The show ultimately helped us come to the conclusion that it always existed in a different timeline than the films. The two timelines were almost similar until the point of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and then they deviated dramatically. Even with this multiverse model, the series tried to stay as connected to the MCU as possible. And, it almost solved one little problem that was created by the casting of Enver Gjokaj in Agent Carter after his prior appearance in The Avengers.
Agent Carter is said to be the past story of the MCU. Kevin Feige & co possibly acknowledged that when they brought in James D’Arcy to play Edwin Jarvis in Avengers: Endgame after his appearance in Agent Carter. As mentioned above, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. timeline & the main MCU timeline were mostly similar to at least the point of The Winter Soldier (with one alteration – Phil Coulson survived in one timeline, but he didn’t in another). So, we believe that the events of Agent Carter took place in the same way in the 2 timelines that differ only in the future. Hence Daniel Sousa’s death would’ve happened in 1955.
That is why the appearance of Enver Gjokaj in The Avengers doesn’t make a lot of sense. At most, we could just believe that his character just looked like the decorated Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daniel Sousa. But in the past, Marvel has made sense out of casting the same actors for two different MCU projects. Kenneth Choi appeared as the principal of Peter’s school in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But before that, he also appeared as Jim Morita, one of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger. Marvel explained this casting by making Peter’s school principal the grandson of Jim Morita. Martin Starr first appeared in The Incredible Hulk & then we saw him in the two Spider-Man films as Peter’s teacher. They explained Martin Starr’s situation by just stating that Starr played the same character of Mr. Harrington in all three films.
In the same way, fans were hoping that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could actually explain how a guy who looks exactly like Sousa appears in The Avengers as well. We believed that after Coulson & co saved Sousa, stripping him out of the time, Sousa might somehow end up in the 2010s and become a police officer. As it turns out, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. almost did connect Sousa’s events and made a little more sense to the situation.
Here’s what the co-showrunner of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. said during an interview with The AV Club:
“There was talk about Sousa having to do a detour undercover as a cop to fight in the streets in Avengers because Enver was in that film [as a police officer], but there was enough timeline problems [Laughs.].”
Obviously, the showrunners were aware of the complex timeline issues. They did a commendable job rounding everything up towards the end. Even though it would’ve been cool if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took us directly into the thick of the battle of New York, it’s okay for the show to not have been able to connect Sousa’s story. We could just go on believing that the police officer miraculously looked similar to Sousa. There are several examples of doppelgangers in the real world. Take a look at Pope Francis & Jonathan Pryce. Believing the doppelganger story of a fictitious world like MCU is not crazy.
The ending that Sousa ultimately got was quite amazing in itself. A man from 1955 suddenly became an Agent of SWORD, leading deep space missions in 2020. What more could we ask for?