‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Cast Talk the Supernatural, Spanking, and the Mysterious New Director

'Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D.' cast
Photo: ABC

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes up its new time slot tonight, and from the opening frames, it’s clear that the show is embracing the change with a darker, sexier feel. We spoke with some of cast at the red carpet premiere of Season 4 and got their thoughts on some of the new changes and learned why you should never let a superhero drive your van.

When Daisy (then Skye) was introduced on the show, she was a loner — and she ended last year the same way. She’s in a very dark place when Season 4 opens. “Her way of protecting the people she cares about,” Chloe Bennet tells us, “and protecting S.H.I.E.L.D. and protecting the team is to distance herself from them. I think she feels like whenever she gets close to anybody, something bad happens to them.” At the panel, she recounted her history with other characters: “Her first boyfriend was a Nazi, and then she met her parents, and her mom is like, ‘I love you.’ Then she tried to kill me; then my dad had to kill her while y’all are trying to kill each other. Then my new boyfriend killed himself.”

So this season, she’s back in her van. Well, not the van from Season 1, but it sounds like she would have preferred that. “Out of all the stuff I did in that frickin’ episode, driving the van was the most dangerous! And I was completely incapable of doing it. It stalled in the middle of the street.” Among other things, she was put off by the blue plush carpeting on the ceiling. “Where did we get that van? What happened in there? I think that van was the reason she was ready to die.”

Fitz and Simmons
It’s difficult to rein in Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge when they’re together, but when they’re near Henry Simmons, who plays Mack, it’s practically a madhouse. “Did you spank me in the ass?” an incredulous De Caestecker asks Henstridge. (For the record, no — she was grabbing Simmons’s left pec, and it was Simmons who spanked his ass).

Related: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ First Look: See Ghost Rider in His Fiery Glory

When they do get it together, though, they say the Ghost Rider problem is much easier for them than figuring out an alien planet was last season. “At least you know I’m alive this time!” says Henstridge. “With the supernatural stuff,” De Caestecker says, Fitz and Simmons’s approach is, “I know there’s a scientific explanation — because we don’t believe in that supernatural stuff. We just don’t know what it is yet.” Adds Henstridge: “We work best as a team. So while we’re still on the same planet, we can figure anything out.”

The New Director
Neither Mack nor May is a big fan of the new director. “Mack likes the idea of Coulson being the director,” says Simmons. “He believes in Coulson’s character. Not necessarily all of his decision-making, but that’s why Mack doesn’t mind checking him. But I don’t think Mack embraces the new director.” Agent May feels the same way. “She doesn’t really hold a high regard for the new director,” says Ming-Na Wen of May. “She preferred the old S.H.I.E.L.D. more than the new S.H.I.E.L.D. There’s too much protocol. There’s too many rules and restrictions.”

Who is the new director, anyway? He’s still listed as “The Director.”  Executive producer Jed Whedon isn’t saying, but when asked directly if he’s based on a character from the comics, Whedon’s response was clear. “You will know that very shortly. Put it this way — probably a comic book character if I didn’t just say no.”

Playtime With Yo-Yo
Natalia Cordova-Buckley isn’t much for games and toys, but she’d still happy to see some merch for her character, Yo-Yo. “A video game would be pretty cool because my husband’s huge into video games and I’d love him to just play me. And a little toy would be awesome too. To see little girls — especially Latin girls — to have a Latina superhero to play around with instead of a Barbie would be pretty cool, right?”

(Credit: Marvel)
Photo: Marvel

More Supernatural
In the screening audience were two Marvel comic legends — Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog — both of whom have a connection to Ol’ Flame Head. (Conway scripted some early issues,and Ploog co-created the character with Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich.) Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb said we would find out later in the season why both men were there. Could that mean the introduction of their co-creation — Jack Russell, aka Werewolf by Night?

Season 4 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. on ABC.