Derek Phillips Joins The 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

by Rosie Narasaki

Though his time spent playing Billy Riggins on Friday Night Lights ended in 2006, Derek Phillips has been all over TV since then (basically, he's been on every show from Parenthood to Castle). Still, his newest guest-starring gig might be the coolest of all. Phillips will be appearing on Tuesday night's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent O'Brien — presumably, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Interestingly enough, Tuesday's new episode, "Melinda" is all about Agent May's backstory, and the foggy legends surrounding how she became mythically known as The Cavalry (forget Hydra, Coulson's resurrection, and Skye's parents — this is the mystery I've wanted answers to since day one). With that in mind, it would make a lot of sense if Phillips was playing an agent from May's past — perhaps an old flame (older than Blair Underwood's Dr. Andrew Garner, anyway), or maybe someone who fought on her side during her storied-yet-shrouded trip to Bahrain. He could also be a present day agent — either way, let's hope he comes back on the show again, because the world could always use some more of him on TV.

Any way you cut it, Phillips' appearance on the show is cause for celebration — so here are five reasons to get excited for this mini-Friday Night Lights/S.H.I.E.L.D. crossover.

Billy Riggins Is Back

Even if he has JUST one line (and I suspect he'll have many more), it'll be awesome.

He Already Knows How To Handle Dramedy

S.H.I.E.L.D. and FNL are/were both hour-long dramas with a good sense of humor. Hopefully, Phillips can bring some laughs over to S.H.I.E.L.D., where things have been pretty dark as of late.

He'll Be Reunited With Tyra

I don't know if they'll be in any scenes together, but the mere fact that Tyra Colette and Billy Riggins were on the same set again is good enough for me — it's like a mini family reunion!

It Could Open The Door For More FNL Crossovers

Adrianne Palicki and Derek Philips today, Scott Porter and Taylor Kitsch tomorrow. Heck, I'd love to see Jesse Plemons as a sociopathic tech whiz colleague of Fitz and Simmons, or Gaius Charles as a superpowered Inhuman. I mean, what if S.H.I.E.L.D. had as many FNL cameos as Parenthood did? Then it really would feel like Texas Forever...

We'll Get to See a Different Side of Him

Look, I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that Billy wouldn't have exactly made the best S.H.I.E.L.D. agent — he's something of a hothead, and football coaching skills notwithstanding, I don't think he'd exactly be the best tactician (I just re-watched an episode where he takes great umbrage at being called an idiot multiple times). That said, it'll be fun to see Phillips playing a stone-cold badass, as most S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tend to be.

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