Ahead of its sixth season premiere this summer, ABC has renewed Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a seventh season. It is believed to consist of 13 episodes, on par with Season 6.

The timing of the early renewal is likely tied to the cast’s option coming up. Along with picking up the actors’ options, ordering Season 7 ahead of time would allow for the two shorter seasons to be filmed back-to-back, which helps to reduces costs.

When S.H.I.E.L.D.’s move to summer was announced in May, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey made it clear that Season 6 was not envisioned as a final one.

“I feel the season we just had was creatively the strongest yet,” she said back then. “We don’t plan it as a final season. The show has a loyal passionate base. It does incredibly well in delayed viewing.”

While not a strong Live+same day ratings performer, S.H.I.E.L.D. has excelled in on-demand viewing.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stars Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, Henry Simmons as Agent Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie, Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez and Jeff Ward as Deke Shaw. Notably, not listed among the cast in ABC’s press release of the renewal news is Clark Gregg who has starred as Agent Phil Coulson since the series launch. He was last seen at the end of the Season 5 finale retiring to spend his remaining days in Tahiti. Has Coulson’s story come to an end? Stay tuned.

The series was co-created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, who also serve as executive producers along with Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television for ABC.

For next season, ABC also has in the works a Marvel drama about female superheroes from Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg.