Warning: This post contains storyline and character spoilers for this week’s season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been through a lot this season: rebuilding after Hydra, rebuilding again after S.H.I.E.L.D. splintered into an anti-Coulson faction, bringing Ward back into the fold, kicking Ward back out of the fold. All while the Inhumans — the largest group of super-powered individuals the Marvel universe has yet seen — revealed themselves, and Skye herself found her loyalties divided between her biological family and her adopted one. Tuesday night’s finale left a lot of rubble to pick through, so we spoke with executive producer Jeffrey Bell about what those events might mean for next season.
He won’t reveal if we’ll be seeing Skye (Daisy?) build her team of gifteds throughout the season, or if — like this season, when the first episode found her already basically a full agent — we’ll see the team fully formed when Season 3 returns. Nor can he say who we can expect to see on the team: “Getting the rights to characters is complicated,” he tells us. “Some we can get, some we can’t for a whole bunch of reasons — more to do with lawyers than storytelling.” They like to bring in characters when they can — Mr. Hyde or Whitehall, for example.
But as Lincoln and Alisha — the “ginger ninja” with Multiple Man-like powers (played by Alicia Vela-Bailey, who is also Mockingbird’s stunt double) — prove, they’re perfectly capable of creating their own. “We’re hoping to bring some characters from the Marvel comics into our world as well as some of our own, depending on what the storytelling demands.”
In fact, it was storytelling demands that appear to be the main reason why Bobbi and Hunter are still on the show, despite their talk of retiring near the end of the episode. Rumors have been swirling that Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood would star in their own spinoff series, but it didn’t get picked up; ABC president Paul Lee said, “The right thing now is to leave them on S.H.I.E.L.D.,” suggesting that they contributed to the show’s hitting “its creative stride.”
“Bobbi and Hunter are part of Team S.H.I.E.L.D.,” agrees Bell. “The consideration of whether there’s a show for them comes from everybody’s love for them, and that continues, so we look forward to them being a part of the team next year.”
Just because S.H.I.E.L.D. is back on its feet after beating Hydra, reuniting the warring branches, and repelling the Inhuman invaders from the carrier, don’t expect them to return to the place of world prominence they had back in Season 1 (not even after Theta Protocol helped save the day in Avengers: Age of Ultron). “When S.H.I.E.L.D. was the giant monolith that had hegemony,“ says Bell, "it’s hard to be excited about rooting for the NSA. You know, 'Yay! They can tap my phone! Yay! They can find me anywhere! Yay!’ But after it fell and we had this truly covert, on-the-run, illegal group, suddenly us helping people seemed to matter more.”
They’re not quite on the run anymore after making peace with Talbot, but Bell still thinks that staying under the radar is a better choice, creatively. “It’s allowed us to tell a very different kind of story than when you’re the giant government policing the world,” he says with a laugh. “It’s hard to root for Big Brother!”
So who will S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Big Bad be next season? Hydra is broken up and Ward seems ready to pick up the pieces, so he seems like an ideal candidate. Bell is cautious. “I was considering who our Bads were this year. We had Whitehall and we had Cal and we had Jiaying and we had Ward. We had Gonzales as an antagonist, Reina as an antagonist, Talbot. So we like conflict, and we like bad guys. Whether Ward is our Big Bad or not, I think we’re promising him being one of our favorite antagonists next season, now that it seems like it’s personal.”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for Season 3 this fall on ABC.