'S.H.I.E.L.D.' adds J. August Richards to cast: Is it on the road to a pickup?

j-august-richards-shield-gi.jpgA familiar face from the Whedonverse is joining the cast of ABC's pilot "S.H.I.E.L.D."

J. August Richards, who starred on "Angel," is reteaming with Joss Whedon on the show, about the organization that provides support for the Avengers and occasionally has to save the world on its own. His casting was first reported by SHIELDtv.net and later confirmed by other outlets.

No details about Richards' role are available.

Whedon is directing the pilot and co-writing it with his brother Jed and Jed's wife, Maurissa Tancharoen ("Dollhouse"). Or rather, Whedon directed the pilot -- it was on an earlier production schedule than most pilots and wrapped filming in mid-February.  

That would mean either that Whedon will shoot some extra scenes for the pilot featuring Richards ... or that ABC has signaled that it's OK to begin planning for a series pickup. To be clear, the network has not made any kind of announcement about a pickup yet -- ABC reveals its lineup for 2013-14 at its upfront presentation in May.

In January, ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee said he's "very hopeful" the pilot will go to series, but at the time he hadn't seen anything beyond a script.

Richards' post-"Angel" credits include "Conviction," "Raising the Bar" and recent guest roles on "Warehouse 13" and "Emily Owens, M.D."
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