By Scott C.
Warning: this article will contain minor spoilers for season six, episode one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back after an emotional and fantastic fifth season, and at WonderCon 2019, Friends of Comic Con had a chance to meet with the show’s cast including Clark Gregg, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Simmons, Jeff Ward, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley. The cast were also joined by executive producers Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeff Bell, as well as the head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb (unfortunately Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May) and Chloe Bennett (Daisy Johnson) were not at WonderCon, due to their busy schedules).
Whedon and Tancharoen stated that season five was treated as the final season for the series, in case the show was not renewed by ABC. Luckily, the show was renewed and once again during the filming of season six (which did affect this season’s ending). Fans are getting thirteen episodes for this year and another thirteen for season seven, which is in production right now. Of course, both executive producers stated that a shorter season means that the stories for both seasons will conclude faster, unlike the previous seasons, which saw bigger episode orders.
The executive producers both agreed that they wanted Gregg (Formerly Phil Coulson, now Sarge) to direct “Missing Pieces”, the sixth season premiere episode, while they were working on the script. And after seeing the premiere, I agree that they made the right choice, as I enjoyed the episode very much. It definitely had an MCU flow to it, especially when the cosmic/multiverse scenes popped up. Gregg said that he had to make sure that the storylines, as well the new characters, were established fully to kick the season off since it was a “huge episode”. Gregg also wanted to make sure that the space scenes and the two-team setup flowed nicely. Because of all of this, he noted that it was nice to have his new character show up at the end of the premiere, as it gave him more time to focus on the episode itself.
Whedon and Tancharoen also stated that they would love to use every MCU character out there, but different lead times and the different rules and restrictions being for each movie/TV studio prevents them from doing this.
It is interesting to note that season six takes place one year after season five ends, which means that the show’s timeline will not match up with the events of the last two Avengers movies. (According to a few media outlets, season six is still considered “pre-Snap”, even though Thanos’ attack on Earth was mentioned last season.) Regardless, the showrunners just want the series to operate on its own without worrying about the movies. They want to tell their own stories, which I do not mind seeing at all. As expected, they like having that kind of creative freedom.
Cordova-Buckley (Elena Rodriguez/Yo-Yo) said that it was great to work with new guy Lucas Bryant (Agent Keller) who plays Yo-Yo’s new boyfriend for season six. She said that more will be said about this current relationship later in the season. I am guessing that we will see what Mack has to say later on.
Loeb said that he loves that the show “continues to grow … there are unexpected things” that will always keep the show intriguing, especially when ‘fracturing’ a relationship (he was alluding to the Mack/Elena relationship from last season). He just likes knowing that this is the show that got every other Marvel TV show going, yet he loves all the Marvel shows equally.
Loeb stated that the odds of a crossover with Cloak & Dagger or other Marvel television property have improved, due to now being part of the Disney family through the Fox merger, but he does not want Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to do a crossover just for the heck of it. Loeb wants it to make sense for Agents of S.H.I.EL.D., plus the other shows as well, if such a thing were to happen. With regard to crossovers, Bell said that the showrunners can only do what they are allowed to do. This pretty much echoes what Whedon and Tancharoen said earlier. He is just grateful that everyone on the show can tell the story they want to show to the fans. He did say to keep an eye out for Easter eggs throughout this season, though.
Caestecker (Leo Fitz) and Ward (Deke Shaw) loved watching the season six premiere at WonderCon with the fans, which was also the first time both actors saw the episode onscreen. Caestecker said it was interesting to learn an alien language for this season, but the crew helped him throughout the process. They did, however, say the writers tried to be vague when discussing the scripts to the cast. Of course, not much was shared about their upcoming arcs.
However, Ward was asked if he is pleased with Deke’s evolution so far, and he stated that he was pleased of his character’s growth. He just likes knowing that his character is a “survivalist.” Ward also joked that the cast and crew do not trust him with the show’s scripts anymore, which is similar to what Marvel Studios feels with Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man).
Henstridge (Jemma Simmons) stated that Simmons will not be stopped when trying to find Fitz. Even Thanos could not stop Simmons from finding her true love, according to the actress. She also said that whatever plan/decision Simmons comes up with will be “totally rational” in her own eyes. Simmons will block out any logical reasonings presented by her friends. This testament was already shown in the premiere episode; Simmons could not convince her 3-man crew to go to a distant planet. The ship did not have enough fuel to travel to the planet and also required much-needed repairs, yet Simmons wanted to move-forward anyway.
Bell and Henstridge both said that they would like to see Bobbi Morse (played by Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (played by Nick Blood) return to the show. Bell then went on to say that Bobbi would love to be in space (Palicki is on a space-centric show called The Orville, after all) while Hunter would not care for it. He believes that Hunter is not into space travel.
Gregg said that he was excited on playing a new character after playing Phil Coulson for so long, even when the ‘answers’ were not available right away during filming. He did not mind that, though, because it brought a whole new challenge in doing what he needed to do to bring Sarge to life. “It was really nice to be scared and unsure again,” said Gregg. He then added that the fans will find out if Sarge is evil or not later on this season. I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens here!
Simmons (Alphonso ‘Mack’ Mackenzie) feels that his character is not “attracted to power,” despite becoming the director of a ‘rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D.’ program. Mack just wants to defend the world, even if it means distancing himself from others. “He’ll do whatever is necessary,” said Simmons.
When asked to choose between wielding the Infinity Gauntlet with all of the stones, or Captain America’s shield, Gregg said that if Coulson was still alive, his character would still choose the Shotgun-Axe that Mack made many seasons ago. Simmons, who was right next to Gregg, smiled and laughed once he heard that response. It was a great fan moment for everyone listening.
There you have it! I hope everyone is ready for season six and seven because the cast and crew are. To me, the future looks super bright!
You can catch season six of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. every Friday night at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. Of course, don’t forget to visit the FoCC forum to keep the conversation going.