List of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters

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This article is about the characters from the television series. For a list of agents in the fictional organization, see List of S.H.I.E.L.D. members.
Main cast members (L-R) Gregg, Wen, Dalton, Bennet, De Caestecker, and Henstridge, at PaleyFest 2014.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an American television series created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), a fictional peacekeeping and spy agency in a world populated with superheroes and numerous supernatural phenomena. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. The series stars Clark Gregg, reprising his role of Phil Coulson from the film series, as well as Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge, with Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki joining them in the second season, and Luke Mitchell joining in the third. In addition to original characters, several other characters from Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Marvel One-Shots, along with other characters based on various Marvel properties, also appear throughout the series.

Overview[edit]

Character Portrayed by Appearances
First Season 1 Season 2 Season 3
Main characters
Phil Coulson Clark Gregg "Pilot"      
Melinda May Ming-Na Wen      
Grant Ward Brett Dalton      
Skye Chloe Bennet      
Leo Fitz Iain De Caestecker      
Jemma Simmons Elizabeth Henstridge      
Lance Hunter Nick Blood "Shadows"      
Bobbi Morse Adrianne Palicki "A Hen in the Wolf House"   [A]  
Lincoln Campbell Luke Mitchell "Afterlife"      
Recurring characters
Mike Peterson
Deathlok
J. August Richards "Pilot"      
Ian Quinn David Conrad "The Asset"      
Raina Ruth Negga "Girl in the Flower Dress"      
Victoria Hand Saffron Burrows "The Hub"      
Anne Weaver Christine Adams "Seeds"      
John Garrett
The Clairvoyant
Bill Paxton "T.A.H.I.T.I."      
Antoine Triplett B.J. Britt      
Glenn Talbot Adrian Pasdar "Providence"      
The Koenigs Patton Oswalt      
Calvin Zabo Kyle MacLachlan "Beginning of the End"      
Daniel Whitehall Reed Diamond "Shadows"      
Mack Henry Simmons      
Sunil Bakshi Simon Kassianides      
Kara Palamas
Agent 33
Maya Stojan "Making Friends and Influencing People"      
Jiaying Dichen Lachman "The Things We Bury"      
Gordon Jamie Harris "What They Become"      
Robert Gonzales Edward James Olmos "Love in the Time of Hydra"      
  • A Palicki began the season as a recurring character until she was promoted to series regular with the episode "Aftershocks".[1][2]

Main characters[edit]

Phil Coulson[edit]

Main article: Phil Coulson

Phillip "Phil" Coulson (portrayed by Clark Gregg) was the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., meant to bring a potential dead Avenger back to life using a drug derived from an ancient alien corpse. However, test patients developed psychosis and hypergraphia, so Coulson had the project shut down. Following Coulson's death, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury decided to resurrect him, despite the risks, and Coulson's memories of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. were replaced so that he could move on with a healthy life. Coulson puts together a team of agents, and they travel the world dealing with strange new cases. During this time, Hydra reveals that it has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., leading to the latter's demise. Fury makes Coulson the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and tasks him with rebuilding the agency "the right way". Coulson also begins to remember Project T.A.H.I.T.I., and as a consequence begins compulsively carving alien symbols on walls, though these compulsions stop when he discovers that the symbols are blueprints for a mysterious city. His involvement with alien materials leads to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with distrust of secrets and the superhuman attempting to take over the fledgling organization. Coulson convinces them to let him stay on as Director after helping save hundreds of civilians, and together they defeat the newly revealed Inhumans.

In a way by being so front and center in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a way that he wasn’t as much in the films, [Coulson] moved in a non super-powered way into a position that a lot of the super heroes are in, which is he’s gotten some power. He’s at the front lines, and what is the cost of that going to be? ... I’m excited to explore what that’s really like to be the one making the calls. Not just being the good soldier, but being a good leader who doesn’t just make decisions all from his heart.

–Gregg, on how starring in the television series can affect Coulson differently to appearing in the films.[3]

Phil Coulson was created by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway for Iron Man, the first film in the MCU.[4][5] Coulson was the first S.H.I.E.L.D. agent introduced in the MCU, and was portrayed by Gregg, who went on to play the character in Iron Man 2, Thor, the Marvel One-Shots The Consultant and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer, and in The Avengers.[6] At the 2012 New York Comic Con, Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige announced that Gregg would be starring as Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite the character dying in The Avengers, with Whedon saying "He's headlining the S.H.I.E.L.D. show and always was."[7]

In April 2013, Gregg said of Whedon's explanation for Coulson's resurrection, "I found it so fascinating and so true to the world of the comics and mythology in general as I understand them that I was immediately in."[8] Regarding the amount of creative input he has over the character, Gregg said, "I have meetings with [the showrunners] once or twice a year and talk about what the big ideas are." Continuing, he added "They're really responsive to the fact that I've been involved with this person four, five years longer than them, but ... I have no complaints with what they're doing."[9] Series costume designer Ann Foley noted that Coulson "has always been a "company man". His suits were in the S.H.I.E.L.D. palate - grey, black and navy with a distinct but subtle pattern. The idea was to blend in and not draw attention. Now that Coulson is back after being "killed" by Loki, we are seeing a subtle change in his wardrobe. I streamlined the suits, custom made the shirts at Anto so they fit beautifully, and his ties are a bit more slick."[10] After Coulson's hand is cut off in the second season finale, which was realized by having a mechanical axe cut through a "faux arm made up of tripe wrapped around a chicken thigh", Gregg described it as "heavy. You go, ‘Wow that’s a big change,’... It’s one of those things where you’re having the practical difficulty your character does. People were handing me stuff, like files, and I couldn’t really open them without using my nose. I had to do a lot of practicing."[11]

Gregg has described Coulson as "the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent", and has said of the character that "after all these years, [Coulson is] a guy with a full life. I think every day he’s somewhere doing something for S.H.I.E.L.D., and yet I don’t always know what that is. The fun thing for me is, every time I get a new script ... I’m always happy about it because I get to find out a little bit more about what his life is like and who he is. There’s always a different twist. In this one he gets to show more of his wisecracking wit, and in this one he’s a little bit more of a badass."[6] On whether the resurrected Coulson would be the same as before he died, Gregg said "I don’t know how you could not change going through what he went through. I think if he hadn’t gone through some kind of change, it wouldn’t be any good. That said, I don’t know if he understands how much he’s changed."[8] Later exploring some of those changes, Gregg stated "In some ways, he kinda finds himself not nearly as cold or ruthless as he would like to be, or as he has been. And at the same time, putting together this team, he feels driven by motives inside of himself that he can't quite always make sense of and that feels very new to him."[12]

After Coulson was promoted to Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gregg said "He kind of got his dream job that I don’t even think he would have ever dreamed he would be given. ... As he was exploring all the lies behind how he’d been brought back and what he’d been doing all his life, working for a company that would keep all these secrets from him, he got a little touchy-feely, whereas he hadn’t been before. The main thing is doing this job the way he can do it best seems like it’s going to require him to move a little bit in the direction of a more pragmatic figure like Nick Fury, while keeping the parts of himself that differentiate him. I guess you could say he’s got a little bit more of an idealistic, big hearted side of him, some of which is going to be extinguished by the hard decisions he has to make." Speaking about the evolving nature of Coulson's relationship with his team, Gregg said "There’s a way he can afford an intimacy with all of them when they’re part of a small, elite squad on the Bus. It’s different than what’s possible for him as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s just a different position he has to maintain, and there are secrets he must keep. I think that takes a toll on some of his relationships".[3]

Melinda May[edit]

Melinda Qiaolian May (portrayed by Ming-Na Wen) is a S.H.I.E.L.D. ace pilot and weapons expert who is called "the Cavalry", against her wishes, after a mission to Bahrain where she saved an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. team from a rogue gifted – unbeknownst to the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D., she did this by murdering a young girl. Still struggling to move past this event years later, May agrees to watch her old friend and partner Coulson for Fury, reporting to the latter and looking for potential side-effects of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. on the former. When Coulson becomes the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., May acts as his second-in-command, and over time begins to move past the events of Bahrain and even develop familial relationships with characters such as Skye.

Wen was cast as May in October 2012.[13] Joss Whedon had the character, who was originally listed with the name Agent Althea Rice on casting sheets,[14] "rolling around in his head" for a long time.[15] In preparation for the role, Wen was "given a couple of background stories about her", but found it challenging to play a character who is respected by those around her, even though the audience doesn't know why, stating "It's a challenge in different ways. I think, at this point, I really am starting to know who she is and the stuff that I use to help me understand what could have happened to her to have brought her out of the field and into a desk job, I think we've all pretty much experienced that. So I use some of my own personal experience where we've been scarred or we've been greatly disappointed".[15] When May's past was revealed in "Melinda", Wen called it "devastating", explaining "She was married, she was in love with Andrew, she had a job that she excelled at and loved and believed in — so her world was pretty perfect ... To have learned what she had to do, for the good of the many... I can understand why it would traumatize her so much and cause her to retreat."[16] May's shirt is the same blue as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in The Avengers, including Maria Hill, so as to have some continuity between her uniform and those established in the film. The rest of her costume is inspired by military flight suits, including a leather vest, and pants with stretch panels to aid with fighting.[10]

Following the series premiere, Wen teased the character, saying "She's very much the observer, and whenever she wants to put in her two cents, it's something that you want to listen to and kind of pay attention to ... She's slow in getting acclimated to part of the group and being in the field again."[17] Talking about May's reasons for staying with S.H.I.E.L.D., Wen explained "May’s friendship and loyalty to Coulson runs so deep. I find that relationship so fascinating and so fun to play between the two of them. But it’s basically her loyalty and her love for Coulson. Maybe not romantic [love], it’s just really – it’s hard to describe – it’s a bond, it’s unbreakable, and she will watch over Coulson and take care of him and help him through whatever he needs to at this point in his life ... She wants to be there for him, and if it serves S.H.I.E.L.D., that’s just more or less a side effect, really."[18] Wen admitted that May develops a relationship with Skye over the course of the series, going from thinking of Skye as "someone that she didn’t want as part of the team and didn’t understand why Coulson wanted her" to wanting Skye "to be the best agent that she can be." After discovering that Skye is an Inhuman, Wen stated that "it’s like when you have your child or your daughter losing control or getting involved with situations or people that you’re not sure about. You don’t have the control anymore. It’s very frightening. For Skye to be an unknown entity, May still holds out hope. She hopes that her training with her will help her be able to control her new powers, but you never know. Sometimes the power overtakes everything else."[19]

Grant Ward[edit]

Grant Douglas Ward (portrayed by Brett Dalton), the son of politicians, was abused by his parents and older brother, Christian, growing up. After attempting to kill Christian by burning their house down, Grant meets John Garrett, a Hydra infiltrator within S.H.I.E.L.D., who trains Grant to be a skilled agent. Later being assigned to Coulson's team, Grant is outed as Hydra when that organisation is revealed to the world, and after the death of Garrett, Grant becomes a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D. In love with his former teammate Skye, Grant escapes custody, apparently kills Christian and their parents, and infiltrates Hydra so Skye can meet her father. Despite this, Skye turns on Ward and shoots him, and he escapes only with the help of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Kara Palamas, with whom he develops a relationship. Eventually, he accidentally kills Palamas while she is in disguise as May, and blaming S.H.I.E.L.D., decides to take over the now leader-less Hydra.

... they proceeded to let me in on what their plan for my character had been all along. I don’t think anyone knew who the Clairvoyant was, so they told me first, “Well, Garrett is the clairvoyant and Garrett is your supervising officer and you trained under him so that makes you also part of Hydra.” And I think I just sat there with my jaw open for the next 20 minutes ... Then it sank in and I started to think wow, what a cool opportunity. Because the Ward I thought I was going to be playing for the next few seasons, the whole thing just changed. Now I think what I was given was just a huge opportunity to play somebody who is more complex, more interesting, more dangerous, scarier in a way that Ward wasn’t. I get to play two different characters in a way ... It’s so juicy [and] it’s so much more complex than the character I was before that.

—Dalton on being informed of his character's double agent status.[20]

Dalton was cast in November 2012.[21] From the conception of the series it was decided that Grant Ward would be a traitor, with executive producer Jed Whedon saying "since this is an infiltration based on betrayal on a massive scale, we wanted to have it on the small scale, and have it be a really personal dagger to the heart."[22][23] Talking about creating an original character, Dalton said "In some ways, originating gives you a kind of freedom because there’s not volumes of comic books behind you that you need to live up to."[24] Ward's costumes were inspired by Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt, with his look based purely in function and with a muted color palette to reflect his serious attitude.[10] After Ward was outed as Hydra and became a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dalton grew a beard to portray the character, explaining that S.H.I.E.L.D. would not provide a prisoner with a razor, "so it just happens to work out that I have a beard and beards can have a sort of evil connotation."[25]

Dalton has described Ward as he initially appeared in the series as "a guy who is very trustworthy and rolled up his sleeves and did all the heavy lifting and didn’t really question authority. You know, a by-the-book risk assessor". Although it was eventually revealed that Ward was a Hydra imposter, Dalton noted that that doesn't necessarily mean the relationships the character built with his S.H.I.E.L.D. team weren't genuine, saying "Being an embedded spy has to be one of the most difficult jobs I could imagine. Because you have to wear one mask, and not forget about your job, your duty, at the same time. You have to let your guard down in a way, because they need to trust you. But it’s a false sense of letting your guard down."[20]

Following the death of Garrett, the question was asked, "Who is [Grant Ward] without someone telling him what to do?" Dalton answered that "He can follow commands really well. He can do and make tough choices and he can sometimes do unpleasant things in the name of something that he feels he believes in. But ... I don’t think that Ward knows the answer to that question himself." Also, on Ward's allegiances, Dalton said "I think he’s a wildcard. At this point his allegiances are kind of put into question because he wasn’t really loyal to Hydra. He was loyal to Agent Garrett. He was loyal to what became a father figure, and he was more about his teammates rather than the team."[25] Dalton later elaborated that "It’s not quite good guy, it’s not quite bad guy. It’s not trying to get in with S.H.I.E.L.D. again, it’s not trying to get in with Hydra. He’s really on his own path. He’s living by his code at this particular point in life."[26] Explaining Ward's relationship with Palamas, Dalton stated,

When they first started this relationship, I thought they’re two people who have experienced something similar by following orders and then finding themselves not knowing who they are when someone’s not telling them what to do. Ward is on the other side of that. When they first had that connection after Skye shot me and she picks me up and it’s our version of walking off into the sunset, I thought she’s going to help me out and this isn’t going to last. But it really had developed into something that’s much more complicated than that. There’s a teacher-student relationship there as well as what seems like a genuinely romantic relationship. You see us really lovey-dovey in the cockpit and it’s making everybody around us sick. In some ways, we have the most healthy relationship out of all of the other dynamics on the show, which is saying something because Ward is not a lovey-dovey kind of guy. That’s interesting that he’s now in probably the most stable relationship there is.[27]

When Ward accidentally kills Palamas in the season two finale, Dalton said that "This affects him in a way that is deep and lasting. There was a shred of humanity in there, and always the possibility and the thought that he could be redeemed... After Kara’s death – that is actually at my hands – after all the time and effort and energy that’s been invested in this relationship, it turns him. You see it in his eyes. ... This whole thing of closure keeps coming up over and over again. There is so much closure out there in the world that needs to be achieved. There’s a lot of unfairness that he wants to fix, so we see somebody who is determined, who knows who he is, and is like, “Fine, if you want to call me the bad guy, I’m the bad guy.” I don’t think there’s any question at the end of that of who he is and what he wants to do."[28]

Skye[edit]

Main article: Daisy Johnson

Daisy "Skye" Johnson (portrayed by Chloe Bennet) was born in China to Calvin Johnson and his Inhuman wife Jiaying, but was soon taken by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and raised as an orphan by nuns. Taking the name Skye, she became a skilled hacktivist, opposing organisations like S.H.I.E.L.D. This led to her involvement with Coulson, who decided to recruit her, and have Ward, and then May, train her to be a formidable field agent. After reuniting with her father, Skye choses to drive him away, knowing him to be a monster and murderer, though his wishes for her to fulfill her destiny – by unlocking her Inhuman abilities – are granted when she unintentionally comes into contact with the Terrigen Mists, which give her earthquake-generating abilities. Skye soon meets her mother, who helps her learn to control her abilities. Skye's loyalties are tested when Jiaying attempts to start a war with S.H.I.E.L.D. in an effort to prevent them from ever harming her people, and she ultimately sides with S.H.I.E.L.D.

Daisy Johnson was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell'Otto for Secret War #2.[29] When the character of Skye was introduced to the series, it was always intended that she would be the MCU version of Johnson, as executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen explained, "there are always the series of clearances, but we always knew we wanted to evolve Skye into something else. Daisy Johnson was the main character that we wanted to go for. We got confirmation on that very early on, so we’ve been on that track ever since."[30] Bennet was cast as Skye in December 2012, the final primary cast member to be added to the first season.[31] Unlike the comic version, Skye is an Inhuman; Jed Whedon explained that "We’ve created a different origin for her ... We merged those two ideas together also because there are such rabid fans out there that if we stick to original story points from the comics, they will smell story points from miles away. Those two factors led us to coming up with a different notion of how she got her powers."[30] Skye's costume design was intended to keep her relatable, with inspiration coming from street style blogs.[10]

Bennet, talking about Skye's commitment to S.H.I.E.L.D., stated that "I think at the beginning she came into S.H.I.E.L.D. thinking it was this government-run, CIA-type thing, where they’re not for the people and their motives were not good ones. But throughout the season, being on the team and seeing what was happening, she really got to know why S.H.I.E.L.D. is there. It really is to protect people, and the intention behind the organization is pure.... I think she finds a parallel between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson, and I think that’s why she’s committed to it so deeply." Elaborating on this, Bennet said "she’s always had this unspoken bond with Coulson that’s a very father/daughter relationship where clearly the love they have for each other is evident in a very caring way."

Going into the second season, Bennet noted on the character, "I think she’s always someone who will wear her heart on her sleeve, but I think she’s much smarter about it now, if that makes any sense. I don’t think she’s the type of person who can halfass anything, and that includes emotions. If she feels something, she feels something. But she knows how to control it more".[32] Talking about the changes to the character after it was revealed that she was Daisy Johnson and an Inhuman, Tancharoen said "With this discovery will come some consequences, especially in her relationships with everyone around her, specifically Coulson ... Needless to say, it’s going to be a very complex, emotional journey for her. We have the ability on a television show to really explore the emotional journey of that. What does that mean now that she has this ability? Does she even want it?"[30]

Leo Fitz[edit]

Leopold "Leo" Fitz (portrayed by Iain De Caestecker) is brought on to Coulson's team as an engineering and weapons technology specialist, and provides tech support for the team throughout the season. He has a close bond with Agent Simmons, the two having graduated from the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy together. At the end of the first season he confesses to Simmons that he has romantic feelings towards her, before nearly dying in an attempt to save her. Left with severe brain damage, Fitz struggles with technology and speech, but over time becomes a full member of the team again.

De Caestecker was cast as Fitz in November 2012.[33] Following injuries the character receives at the end of the first season, the series began to deal with brain trauma, as De Caestecker explained "From the get-go, before I even knew about it, the writers had the idea, and they did a lot of research in it with doctors. When I found out about it, I did my own research and correlated it together. It's just something that should never be trivialized. It's a real and serious thing to a lot of people, brain trauma, so we just have to constantly be respectful towards it. We talk about it all the time. Even if you don't see it or it's not obvious, it's always something that's in our heads that we're keeping going. It's the realization that you never get fully better, it's about embracing the new side of you and making that work in the world that you're in. I suppose the idea of a cure – I don't know if that could happen. I'm not too sure about that. It's still a work in progress for him."[34] For Fitz's costume design, Foley tried to have his clothes reflect his personality, without "getting too cliché ... we try and play up his "heritage style" ... using classic design details on him like paisley & leather elbow patches and mixing them with different plaids."[10]

De Caestecker, in describing the character, said that "Fitz has got this funny kind of temper. He’s quite passionate about what he does. So those moments where – I don’t think he’s someone that really responds very quickly to emotion; he doesn’t really understand emotions as much, so when you do see that kind of side to him, I think it’s quite interesting."[35] Fitz has a lot of interaction with Simmons in the series, with De Caestecker explaining "My character, he’s Engineering, so he’s on the computer and tech side of everything. He’s consumed within that world, and he works very closely with Simmons, who’s Biochem. They’ve got this kind of weird chemistry together, and they just kind of fit each other in a very weird way."[36] Regarding the changing dynamic over time between Fitz and Simmons, De Caestecker said "I suppose what's happened from the start of Season Two up to midseason is, they've become a lot stronger as individuals, I think. But I think they still care for and need each other a lot, and they also work better together when they are together. But I think there's a lot of things that have still been unsaid and will hopefully come out, certain confrontations that are still bubbling under."[34]

Jemma Simmons[edit]

Jemma Simmons (portrayed by Elizabeth Henstridge) is brought on to Coulson's team as a life sciences (both human and alien) specialist, and has a close bond with Agent Fitz, the two having graduated from the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy together. She grows to mistrust all things alien and superhuman, but shows her loyalty to Coulson despite this when they are faced with the rival S.H.I.E.L.D. faction. Following the fight against the Inhumans, Simmons is absorbed by the Kree monolith.

Henstridge was also cast in November 2012.[33] Henstridge described her character as "a biochem expert. She’s young and hungry and she’s a great woman to play because she’s intelligent and focused and curious and she doesn’t apologize for it. She’s got a wonderful relationship with Fitz. They kind of bounce off each other."[37] Speaking of the reveal during the season two premiere that Fitz is just imagining Simmons, and that her character is actually working undercover in Hydra, Henstridge explained, "They sent us all the first episode and it was revealed that Simmons was imaginary. They took me aside and said she’s coming back, but she’s just gone for a second and roughly explained that she would be working undercover in Hydra. You just never know because they could tell you, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re undercover,” but then they could turn it around and say, “Oh, you’re not actually undercover. You’re a triple agent.” They tell you what you need to know to act your scenes, but anything after that, you never know. Any of us could still be Hydra. You can never relax too much on that".[38] For Simmons costume design, Foley tried to have her clothes reflect her personality, without "getting too cliché ... we mix the hard with the soft – we combine the feminine elements like peter pan collars, silk blouses and florals with the masculine touches like ties".[10]

Henstridge talked about the characters of Fitz and Simmons being separated over the course of the series, saying "That's interesting because then you see that they've never been without each other. When you see them without each other, that brings a whole new dynamic just to them as characters in discovering what it's like to have to be independent because this whole S.H.I.E.L.D. team has come together and everybody is on their own apart from Fitz-Simmons. We will get to see that and it's quite funny."[39] On Simmons' guilt over what happened to Fitz, Henstridge said "She feels a huge amount of guilt. There’s a lot of emotions happening. A lot of it revolves around Fitz and Ward. She feels a lot of anger and resentment at the situation. When something catastrophic happens to someone you love, or a situation arises that affects people you love the most, if that’s the first time you’ve been in that position, you never really know what to do."[38] As this relationship developed through the second season, Henstridge said, "I don't think they fully realize the implication of how far apart they are. There's so much hurt there. I don't think they realize what they're sacrificing by not figuring this out. When that comes to light, that he's kept [Skye's transformation] from her, that's the start of trying to chip away at, "This is what it's going to be like if we don't figure this out – it's going to be secrets." It also pains her that he would have to carry a burden and she wouldn't be able to ease that pain. It's going to get muddier before it gets clear, but this is potentially the first step at trying to figure their relationship out."[33]

Talking about the harsher side of Simmons seen later in the second season, after the reveal of the Inhumans and the subsequent death of Agent Triplett, Henstridge said "In some ways, this is Simmons coming full circle. Because before coming into this team and all of a sudden being practical medicine, she's always been very mathematical in a way. It makes sense if there are these people – call them what you want; Inhumans – that cause destruction, and you can get rid of them, then they won't be a destruction anymore. That's where she started in Season One from the beginning, being very mathematical. She's a scientist. Throughout Season One, she understood that it was more about human relationships and what it means to save someone's life and that connection. She's had a traumatic event and she's gone straight back to what she knows of trying to make everything black and white. Of course it isn't, and she'll go on that journey again."[33]

Lance Hunter[edit]

Main article: Lance Hunter

Lance Hunter (portrayed by Nick Blood), an SAS lieutenant turned mercenary, joins post-Hydra S.H.I.E.L.D. at the request of Coulson following a recommendation from his ex-wife Bobbi Morse. Despite a tumultuous relationship with Morse, Hunter becomes a full time S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and risks his life to save her when she is kidnapped.

Lance Hunter, created by Gary Friedrich as the British version of Nick Fury for Captain Britain Weekly,[40] was confirmed in September 2014 to be a member of the principal cast for the second season.[41] Blood was announced as cast at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, where the character was described as not a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but a mercenary.[42] On his character joining the cast, Blood explained that "each different character, the original characters, has a different kind of response to [Hunter]. Generally I think they’re slightly wary, a little bit suspicious, [but also] a little bit amused by him. Because the nice thing about him coming into this group is that Lance doesn’t really care that much of what people think of him. So he’s very much himself and very comfortable in it. He doesn’t bow down to the etiquette of the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy."[43]

Talking about Hunter's intergration into the team following an offer from Coulson to become a full-time agent, Blood said, "I feel Hunter probably feels very independent, still, so I don't think he would like to admit that he's not an outsider, that he's a part of it. But I think they've been kind of welcomed. Obviously, Bobbi's got a history with S.H.I.E.L.D. – I think he doesn't have too much respect for authority and titles, particularly in this world, but I think he takes each decision as it comes. If Coulson does something he respects, that's all good. If he doesn't, he's going to say something. But I think he sees that [Coulson is] trying to do the right thing and, he's got a lot of respect for him in that sense, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's not going to challenge him." Also, on Hunter's on-again, off-again relationship with Morse, Blood said, "I think the dynamic's great. I think it's really good and there is a lot of truth in it of those relationships you have where it's kind of, "can't live with each other, can't kill each other," and that sort of thing. It's that love/hate thing. I think it's a lot of fun. I think there'll be lots of twists and turns."[44]

Bobbi Morse[edit]

Barbara "Bobbi" Morse (portrayed by Adrianne Palicki) is Hunter's ex-wife and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. A founding member of the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." after disobeying Fury's orders to save hundreds of S.H.I.E.L.D. lives, she infiltrates Coulson's group for reconnaissance. Coulson sends her undercover within Hydra, where she gave up the location of Agent 33 rather than risk the lives of many other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. She later agrees, along with her fellow "real S.H.I.E.L.D." leaders, to combine their faction with Coulson's. Ward then kidnaps her in an attempt to force her to confess to giving up 33 to Hydra, but when Morse is unrepentant, Ward sets a trap for Hunter which will see him killed in front of her. Morse takes the bullet for Hunter, barely surviving.

At the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, the character of Bobbi Morse / Mockingbird was revealed to be appearing in the second season.[42] The character was first introduced in Astonishing Tales #6 by Gerry Conway.[45] In August 2014, Palicki was cast as Morse in a guest role, to appear in the season two episode "A Hen in the Wolf House", but with the potential to return.[46] Palicki, a comic fan, was approached by the showrunners specifically for the part, and at first hesitated to take the role, thinking "I will never be able to play another Marvel character if I go forward in this role." Palicki already had martial arts and gun training, but had to learn to use the character's signature arnis sticks, and noted similarities between Morse's fighting style and that of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow from the MCU films.[47] Palicki was promoted to series regular with the season two episode "Aftershocks".[1][2] When asked about her character potentially appearing in an MCU film, Palicki said "that was one of the things that was discussed when I was coming on for the part, and you know, we’ll see what happens. It’s such a nice world that we live in that crossover can happen so often now which in the past it never really did so, to see these worlds come together on the small screen and the big screen is really cool."[48]

In approaching Morse's costume, Foley "looked at all of her comic appearances and really wanted to try to bring elements of the look from the comics into the costume that we're doing now for the show ... but we had to change it, obviously, for practicality, because it had to fit into our world. It had to have a kind of tactical feeling to it too so that it made sense in our universe. She's got rivets that are in the straps across her chest, and those are there as a tribute to the buttons that go down the side of her [most recent] costume [in the comics], as well as the colors that we were using, [which] are a tribute as well. Her colors are navy blue and white with a little bit of black in there, [but] white would not have been pretty on camera so we changed it to grey. [We] still tried to maintain the original style of what was in the comic book because [with] that white panel that goes up her center and down her legs, [so] we've mirrored that in her costume but in gray instead of white."[49] The costume was produced three times for the series, two for Palicki to wear, and one for her stunt double. Foley used "lots of stetch panels" and leather to ensure freedom of movement in the character's many action sequences.[50]

With the reveal of Morse's loyalty to the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." faction, Palicki explained that the character was "not doing anything wrong in her [own] eyes ... This was a choice she made. She’s been through hell with these people. She does care about Coulson’s team. She’s torn because of Hunter and she has a soft spot for Coulson. But at the end of it, she really is a true soldier and she feels there has been a compromise and she needs to take care of it."[51] Executive producer Jeffrey Bell, in response to a question on whether Morse had more secrets than those revealed during the second season, stated that "she and Hunter have been keeping secrets from one another, evidently for years. And one of the things I find interesting about her is she seems to be more of an ideologue – she’s loyal to an idea – and sometimes, the short term of what appears to be betrayal or short term conflict is often because of what she views as the greater good. And that’s an interesting character to have in a world where Coulson is much more “we need to protect or save that person.” Are you loyal to a person? Are you loyal to the guy in the bunker next to you? Or are you loyal to the larger concept of what we’re fighting for? And having her represent that, I think, has generated a lot of interesting discussion and story."[52]

Lincoln Campbell[edit]

Lincoln Campbell (portrayed by Luke Mitchell) is an Inhuman transitioner with the ability to control electric charges. He helps Skye adjust to her new life post-Terrigenesis, and his later attempt to protect her from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra leads to his capture and experimentation at the hands of Dr. List. Skye saves his life, and when she turns on Jiaying once realizing her true intentions, Lincoln is shortly convinced to do the same.

Mitchell was introduced as Lincoln, a recurring character, in the second season.[53] He was promoted to series regular for the third season.[54]

Recurring characters[edit]

Mike Peterson / Deathlok[edit]

Main article: Deathlok

Mike Peterson (portrayed by J. August Richards) is an ordinary man that was artificially enhanced with the Extremis-containing Centipede serum by Project Centipede. Peterson later joins S.H.I.E.L.D. and falls under the control of the "Clairvoyant" after losing his right leg, which was replaced with a bionic prosthetic as part of "Project Deathlok". After the defeat of Centipede, Peterson works for Coulson covertly, and aids in the take down of Hydra leader Dr. List.

Richards previously appeared in Joss Whedon's Angel as Charles Gunn.[55] The character was revealed to be the MCU version of Deathlok in January 2014.[56] Created by Rich Buckler and Doug Moench in 1974, Deathlok has gone through many iterations of the years, including as Mike Collins.[57] Richards said "This is a role I've been preparing for since I was nine years old. It’s literally a dream come true. Because as a boy my favorite show was Superman and my favorite movie was Star Wars – along with other science fiction shows and movies."[55] He later noted that, for Deathlok's final appearance, "it takes about five departments to make Deathlok and so there are people around me at all times touching me and adjusting things and doing my makeup or turning the lights on on the costume ... it takes two hours to do the makeup and then it takes 15 or 20 minutes to get into the costume, although by the end of the season, we'd gotten down to about five minutes" and that "The costume, it helps help me, because it actually does make me feel stronger and bigger and that I'm being contained. It is restrictive. I love the costume and it really helps me to play the character, because it makes me feel part-machine, part-human."[58] The costume also had to be enhanced with visual effects, including the addition of a robotic leg and an arm mounted rocket launcher, as well as a half metal plated skull with robotic eye for when Deathlok is seen using x-ray.[59] For his appearance in the second season, Deathlok receives an updated costume. When asked if this would eventually lead towards the comic appearance, Richards said "it's such work in progress and I can see a scenario where that happens. I was really excited in one episode where Mike was under a x-ray and we got to see that underneath it all he does look a bit like the comic character. We’ll see, it’s constantly evolving".[60]

I think when I said in one of the episodes that “Mike Petersen is dead,” I thought the only way that line could have meaning [is] if it were not true. I always think of Mike Petersen being at the core of this character, and whatever happens as a result of that, is all Mike Petersen. I think he’s 100% there.

–Richards, in response to being asked how much of Deathlok is an android, and how much is Mike Peterson.[60]

Richards explained that "the theme of Deathlok is about deep, internal conflict, and that's what we're bringing with this [version]. I’m actually working something out in my own mind right now, [and it’s that Deathlok is] about a deep internal conflict that is also mirrored externally. Meaning that you are being controlled by an outside force against your will, and you’re also battling with your own yin and yang, if you will. I guess it’s just about conflict, it’s about moral conflict. I think that that’s the theme [that unites] all the Deathloks [in the comics]."[61] After returning late in the second season, Richards said "When I’m playing him now, I like to think Mike is now owning Deathlok. Before I think he was really reluctant. Even back when I was playing the character, honestly I didn’t know how to move, or act. I felt that was really Mike with this body that got forced on him. ... I also feel from the very beginning he’s been looking for redemption and seeing Coulson as a key to that. Coulson can help him be the hero he’s always wanted to be for his child. And even that theme I think is playable if you’re a superhero, or a character in a drama. Like just trying to be that person for your child. That’s the only thing I think about with this character, him as a father, with a son."[60]

Ian Quinn[edit]

Ian Quinn (portrayed by David Conrad)[62] appears as a wealthy industrialist/philanthropist and the CEO of Quinn Worldwide, who is involved with The Clairvoyant. After acquiring the Deathlok leg from Cybertek for Mike Peterson, and shooting Skye in the stomach, Quinn is detained by S.H.I.E.L.D. and taken to The Fridge, where he is later released by John Garrett following the Hydra reveal. He attempts to sell Deathlok soldiers to the US military as a replacement for S.H.I.E.L.D., but after Garrett is defeated, Quinn escapes with his gravitonium.

Raina[edit]

Raina (portrayed by Ruth Negga) was raised by Calvin Zabo, and grew up with stories of her heritage as an Inhuman, and her potential to be more. Becoming the Project Centipede recruiter due to her interest in powered people, Raina works with Hydra in an attempt to replicate the GH-325 serum that was used to resurrect Coulson. She eventually goes through Terrigenesis, gaining the power of precognition, but also a monstrous appearance. Raina comes to accept her new circumstances, and later allows Jiaying to kill her so that Skye can learn of the former's true intent.

Negga was first cast as a guest star in October 2013.[63] Executive producer Jeffrey Bell later said, looking back at season one, that "Some things we couldn’t have predicted, like the character of Raina. Ruth Negga showed up and we just fell in love with her and found ways to use her beyond our initial conception, and that was terrific."[64] Foley was informed of Raina ahead of time, allowing her to flesh out the character with illustrations, as well as print specific fabric. When Raina is introduced in "Girl in the Flower Dress", her intentions are unclear, so a softer silhouette for the first dress was used, with a pattern of white with black flowers. For her second appearance in the episode, "it's becoming clear that she has an agenda so the dress is more streamlined and we flipped the colors - black background white flowers." For her final appearance in the episode, "she is in a sleek Balenciaga inspired dress - red background, black flowers. The final touch is a black onyx carved rose at her neck designed by Karen Karch. Ruth [Negga] and I wanted to show a progression in her dresses that reflects where her character might be going. So by the time you see her again in ["The Bridge"] you know she means business".[10]

For the second season, Raina's Inhuman look was created by Glenn Hetrick of Optic Nerve Studios. To get to the final look, the writers spent a lot of time discussing what her transformed look would entail, such as if she would have a nose, or a tail, with series writer Drew Greenberg eventually suggesting thorns. With the design idea in hand, Hetrick and his team began compiling potential designs for the character, looking to the Clive Barker film Nightbreed, specifically the character Shuna Sassi, because "She’s a creature covered in porcupine quills and that image is so strong — it creates such a striking silhouette". Since Hetrick and his team did not have source material to pull from in the comics, he wanted to "make her feel like the first real Inhuman" and give her face a level of symmetry. When creating the prosthetic makeup, which was done in two weeks, the producers wanted to still be able to see Negga's eyes, with Bell saying, "Ruth Negga has amazingly expressive eyes and eyebrows. And she gets so much of who Raina is through the eyes. We wanted her to still be able to communicate, we still wanted you to feel her expressions through all of [the makeup]."[65]

Victoria Hand[edit]

Main article: Victoria Hand

Victoria Hand (portrayed by Saffron Burrows) is introduced as the high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who runs the S.H.I.E.L.D. base The Hub. After discovering that Hydra exists within S.H.I.E.L.D., Hand turns on Coulson, believing him to be a double agent. However, Garrett reveals himself to be the traitor, and Hand works with Coulson to detain him. She is killed by Ward when he reveals himself to be a member of Hydra.

Burrows was announced as playing Hand in November 2013.[66] The character was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato, and played an integral role in their Dark Avengers comic book series.[67] With the introduction of Lucy Lawless as Isabelle Hartley in the second season, the executive producers considered establishing a relationship between Hand and Hartley, since the comic book-counterpart of Hand was in a relationship with a character called Isabelle, but Tancharoen explained that "it started to be irresponsible if we addressed it to not address it with more weight and time and energy."[68] However, this relationship was later hinted at onscreen in "One Door Closes".[69]

Anne Weaver[edit]

Anne Weaver (portrayed by Christine Adams),[70][71] the director of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology, joins the leadership of the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." following the fall of the original organization, in which she fought one of Hydra's enhanced soldiers, developing a distrust in the superhuman. She takes over command of the S.H.I.E.L.D. warship The Iliad following the death of Robert Gonzales.

John Garrett / The Clairvoyant[edit]

Main article: John Garrett (comics)

John Garrett (portrayed by Bill Paxton) was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was left for dead by that organization, and only survived by becoming the first Deathlok. Joining Hydra, he became "The Clairvoyant", leader of the Centipede group, and was focused on discovering the secret to Coulson's resurrection given the impending failure of his now outdated Deathlok technology. Under the guise of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent tasked with capturing and interrogating Ian Quin, Garrett joins in Coulson's efforts to find the GH-325 drug. Based on his findings, Raina is able to synthesize a version of the drug, which does save his life, however after Hydra is revealed to have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and Garret is outed as the Clairvoyant, Coulson kills him by disintegration.

In December 2013, "a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/munitions expert who has past ties to both Coulson and Ward" was set to be added to the series.[72] The next month, Paxton was cast as Agent John Garrett, "a rough-and-tumble former cohort of Agent Coulson with a little bit of attitude and cigar-smoking swagger".[73] Garrett was first introduced by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz in Elektra: Assassin.[74] Jed Whedon said that "We actually discussed Bill Paxton in the room, when we were talking about the character ... Then when he came up as an actual possibility, we couldn't believe it."[75] Tancharoen explained that "He is the type who wants to stay out in the field no matter how high-level he gets."[73]

Following the revelation that Garrett was The Clairvoyant, Paxton said "I think this character, which was revealed in the last episode how he was betrayed by the very organization that he was willing to give his lifeblood to, that sent him to the other side. He’s felt like he’s found a true home in Hydra, which is more of a Darwinian outfit. It’s survival of the fittest. He can relate to that. It really depends on how you look at it."[76]

Antoine Triplett[edit]

Antoine Triplett (portrayed by B.J. Britt) worked with Garrett before the Hydra reveal, and joins Coulson's team to become a loyal supporter of him. He is killed by the Diviner when he tries to help Skye during her Terrigenesis.

In December 2013, "an African-American agent who specializes in combat/weapons" was set to be added to the series.[72] In February, Britt was anounced as cast in the role of Triplett.[77] Britt's smile and charm were incorporated into the character after he had worked with the writers for several episodes, with Tancharoen saying to Britt "I love your smile. We have to incorporate the smile of Trip into the show."[78]

In describing the character, Britt said "Trip is there to do his job, but at the same time he has the charm as well. He wasn’t just played one way. He has flow in his job."[78] On the character earning the trust of S.H.I.E.L.D. after his supervising officer Garrett is outed as Hydra, Britt said "Trip likes to make sure everything is in order and he likes to make sure that everything is going smoothly. ... The fact that he’s sticking around and he’s proven himself to be a worthy advocate for S.H.I.E.L.D., the people and the fans are loving that aspect of him. He’s going make sure that stuff doesn’t go wrong. He’s one of the good guys. ... Even now I still feel like Trip has something to prove. That’s going to cross over to the second season where Trip wants to show Coulson that he can trust him."[79]

Glenn Talbot[edit]

Main article: Glenn Talbot

Glenn Talbot (portrayed by Adrian Pasdar) is a United States Air Force colonel and later brigadier general who hunts active S.H.I.E.L.D. agents after the organization's disbandment. Coulson earns his trust over time, and the two soon enter an agreement in which S.H.I.E.L.D. provides the government with sensitive assets and helps with the take down of Hydra in exchange for being left alone.

Pasdar was cast as Talbot by March 2014.[80] Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Tales to Astonish #61, Talbot was a recurring antagonist of the Hulk. For the series, the Hulk is replaced with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra.[81]

The Koenigs[edit]

Main article: Eric Koenig

Eric, Billy, and Sam Koenig (portrayed by Patton Oswalt) are S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Eric is stationed at Providence base and assists Coulson in the wake of Hydra's emergence, but is soon killed by Ward. Coulson and his team meet Billy, the "brother" of Eric, at the Playground base soon after. Billy and Sam work with Coulson on the mysterious Theta Protocol, the maintenance of a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier for use by Nick Fury alongside the Avengers.

Oswalt joined the series as Eric Koenig in March 2014.[82] This version of the character is loosely inspired by one that first appeared in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #27.[82] Oswalt also portrays Billy and Sam Koenig.[42] Oswalt, who previously worked on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and is a long time fan of Marvel, was sought for the part specifically.[82]

Calvin Zabo[edit]

Main article: Mister Hyde (comics)

Calvin Johnson (portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan), a young doctor, meets Jiaying whilst in China and the two eventually marry, having a daughter, Daisy. After Jiaying is torn apart by Hydra, and Daisy is taken by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Cal stitches his wife back together, finds innocent people whose life-force is used to bring Jiaying back to life, and begins searching for his daughter, at some point changing his last name. He also begins experimenting on himself in an attempt to be stronger, blaming himself for not protecting his family. Jiaying eventually abandons the search to live a peaceful life with other Inhumans like her, but Cal continues, eventually meeting Daisy, now going by Skye, and over time forming a bond with her, despite her hatred for his actions whilst searching for her. Coulson later convinces Cal that Jiaying is a monster who has forced him to do terrible things, and when Jiaying starts a war with S.H.I.E.L.D. that leads to a face down with Skye, Cal kills Jiaying. S.H.I.E.L.D. then wipes Cal's memory to allow him to live a peaceful life.

During the first season finale, Skye's father is briefly seen from behind, portrayed by a stand-in. In August 2014, MacLachlan was cast as Skye's father,[83] in a recurring role for the second season.[84] Initially referred to as "The Doctor",[83] in December 2014 his character was revealed to be Calvin Zabo, also known as Mister Hyde,[85] who was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck for Journey Into Mystery in 1963 and is influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.[86]

Following the conclusion of season two, Bell said on Cal's storyline, "He had a great season. He got to live a happily ever after in a beautiful way. We would never write off the idea of finding more story for him down the road, but we had a great time with Kyle this year and feel like that was a story that ended nicely. At least for now, we’ll put that down."[87] Elaborating on this, Bell also said "We all loved Kyle and Cal so much and felt like everything he did came from the right place but that he was just a really horrible, broken man. The idea of being able to use the T.A.H.I.T.I. program to reset him as the good person that has always been in there was too good to pass up. I think emotionally, for Skye, it's also in many ways more painful because, yes, he lives and he gets a full life, but he has no idea who she is, or that he has a daughter, or any of those things. For us, there's a both real beauty to it as well as a sadness to it."[88]

Daniel Whitehall[edit]

Werner Reinhardt (portrayed by Reed Diamond), an elite member of Hydra in 1946, was experimenting on the Diviner when his base was taken by the S.S.R. and he was imprisoned for life. Released by Alexander Pierce in 1988, Reinhardt discovered that a woman unaffected by the Diviner, Jiaying, had apparently not aged in four decades. Dissecting her, Reinhardt discovered the secret to her youthfulness and used it to de-age himself. Taking the name Daniel Whitehall, he became the North American leader of Hydra following Pierce's death, fighting against Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. while remaining interested in the Diviner and other alien matters. He is killed by Coulson while trying to unlock the true power of the Diviner.

At the San Diego Comic Con in July 2014, Diamond was announced as portraying Daniel Whitehall,[42] also known as the Kraken in the comics,[89] where he was introduced by Jonathan Hickman for Secret Warriors #7.[90] Diamond previously worked with the creators on Dollhouse and Much Ado About Nothing, and though they had wanted him for parts throughout the first season, he had been unavailable due to commitments to another series. When the oportunity to play Whitehall arose, just 24 hours before he was required to begin filming for the part, Diamond leapt at the opportunity, having been a life-long fan of Marvel and "always wanted to play the bad guy". Whilst travelling to set during those 24 hours, Diamond worked out the German accent he wished to use for the character's flashback sequences. In developing the character, Diamond watched Nazi documentaries, and re-watched Marvel's films, looking at the characters of Loki and Red Skull in particular. From the former, Diamond was inspired by his The Avengers quote, "I am burdened with glorious purpose.", as he had never played a super villain, "someone who really believed that they were the best person to rule the universe, or at least the Earth." For Hugo Weaving's portrayal of the Red Skull, Diamond looked at his anger and voice to see "how [Whitehall] would fit in within that spectrum", and settled on "this is TV. I’m the smiling, calm, villain." Diamond also sought advice from Malcolm McDowell, who told him to "Always smile and let the lines do the work." For the character's physicality, Diamond explained that he "devised a whole workout program for him because I thought, okay, he’s this very sort of rigid, Aryan, dramatic evil guy, so he’s going to stand a certain way, he’s going to walk a certain way, he’s going to speak a certain way." On the character's signitury glasses, Diamond explained that "When Jed [Whedon] came up with the glasses, that was sort of the key. That’s your eye-patch. That’s your iconic piece, and he came up with the idea of cleaning the glasses. This is your character-identifying quality or feature." Diamond also noted that "In all my shows, I wear Hugo Boss suits because they just fit me really well. And my first fitting was to try on my SS uniform, which fit like a glove and were coincidentally designed by Hugo Boss. [That’s] a semi-well known piece of history, but he designed those uniforms."[89]

On Whitehall's calmness, Diamond stated that "just by being relaxed and enjoying it, it comes off that much creepier by being unfazed. [Whitehall has] that confidence that everything’s going to work out his way, because it always has. He’s just icky!" Regarding the character's motivations, Diamond explained, "I always felt that he thought he should rule the world because he thought he was the smartest man on the planet. It was all intellect, because he’s obviously not a man who ever dirties his hands. I’ve got other people who are the muscle... I had to take full on sadistic pleasure in unraveling what makes people tick and then reprogramming them. I have time and patience. He’s lived for such a long time, he always has the big picture in mind."[89]

Mack[edit]

Main article: Al MacKenzie

Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie (portrayed by Henry Simmons), a S.H.I.E.L.D. mechanic under Robert Gonzales, is a founding member of the "real S.H.I.E.L.D.", and infiltrates Coulson's group with Morse. After being briefly mind-controlled by Kree technology Mack's distrust in alien and the superhuman is deepened, and he decides to leave S.H.I.E.L.D. when his fellow leaders agree to join forces with Coulson. However, following the war with the Inhumans, Coulson convinces Mack to stay, and places him in charge of all alien materials.

In August 2014, Simmons joined the cast as Mack, a character inspired by one that first appeared in Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. #3.[91]

Simmons described Mack as "a big guy. That is, he has a big heart, but when it comes down to it and business has to get done, there’s another side of him that gets it done. ... He wants to make a difference, so that’s why he wants to be a part of this team". On the different dynamic that a mechanic brings to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, Simmons said "I think my guy does have a little bit of a different element, [because] the other people have the stress of the everyday life or death danger situations. Mack doesn’t have that quite yet. He has the stress of getting things done because he wants to contribute, but he’s not out there in the field. ... They might have their quips and everything, but everything is very serious. I see that my guy brings a little bit of a different color to everything. He has a little bit more humor to him, he’s a little bit more laid back."[92] About Mack's stance on violence, Simmons confirmed that "Mack really is a guy that does not like violence at all, but, when pushed, it’s “by any means necessary.” He doesn’t enjoy it, but he’ll do what he has to do."[93]

After Mack's allegiance to the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." faction is revealed, and as his distrust of Coulson grew throughout the second season, Simmons spoke of Mack's feelings towards Coulson: "He respects Coulson. And I think he genuinely likes Coulson. But I think he just believes that Coulson is not the right man for the job. ... look, I’m loyal, but if the head is going about doing things that really aren’t in our job description, and he’s using us to do things for personal reasons, and then one of my brothers dies because of it? Yeah, I have a problem. And everyone else should, too. ... when Coulson is in his most crazed state and on the verge of killing Sebastian Derik, no one has ever seen Coulson like that. Skye witnessed it, but she has a different relationship to him; there’s like a father/daughter thing going. So out of the whole team, I was the only one to see him like that, completely out of control. I tried to explain it to Hunter — if that happened in that instant, what’s going to happen when everything is on the line? How is he going to act? — and Hunter kind of brushed it aside. But that’s another reason why Mack is very, very deeply skeptical."[93]

Sunil Bakshi[edit]

Sunil Bakshi (portrayed by Simon Kassianides), the right-hand man to Whitehall, is instrumental in the brainwashing of Hydra's subjects, including S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Kara Palamas, who later gets revenge by brainwashing Bakshi herself. Now loyal to Palamas and Ward, Bakshi sacrifices his life to save the latter when Simmons tries to kill him.

Kassianides, a fan of the series and of comic books in general,[94] was cast in the "major recurring role" of Bakshi in July 2014.[95]

Speaking of Bakshi's relationship with Whitehall, Kassianides explained, "I think it’s fair to say that [with] Whitehall, we’re at a moment where the trust and the relationship between the two has reached a point where Bakshi really feels he can act under the authority of Whitehall on his own, using his own judgment. He has the trust of Whitehall and is acting as he sees fit, the consequences of which will play out." On Bakshi's motivations and thought process, Kassianides said "You have objectives. You need to know, I’m a villain. There’s a grand plan which we are executing, and within that, what makes me Whitehall’s right hand man? What makes me that effective? It’s because I’ll go that extra yard. I’ll go that extra step and commit myself to that. And when you’re that committed to any ideology, I think that it allows for elements of insanity, I guess. Your reality becomes warped when you’re that ideological about anything. I’m certainly married to playing extremes, and I also think he’s very, very sinister and creepy. ... He’s certainly at a stage where however he’s come to be, given the backstory that we don’t know much about at this stage, he’s certainly warped or been warped. Whether that’s been trained in him or it’s inherent, it’s not clear, but he’s certainly at that point where hurting people, torturing people, and operating under this ideology is something he quite enjoys."[94]

Kara Palamas / Agent 33[edit]

Kara Palamas (portrayed by Maya Stojan) was S.H.I.E.L.D. agent betrayed to Hydra by the then undercover Morse and subjected to brainwashing by Bakshi and Whitehall, who used a nanomask to take on the appearance of May. The real May electrocutes Palamas whilst in this disguise, leaving her stuck as May, but deformed. After Coulson kills Whitehall, Palamas works with Ward, the two beginning a romantic relationship while the latter does everything in his power to bring Palamas "closure". They get her nanomask repaired so that she can become whoever she wishes, brainwash Bakshi, and kidnap Morse in an attempt to force a confession out of her. When May and Hunter come to rescue Morse, Ward accidentally kills Palamas while she is in disguise as May.

While Stojan portrays Palamas,[96][97] the character is also portrayed by other cast members, including Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet, when she takes on the appearance of their characters.[98] Stojan had to balance working on the series with her concurrent recurring role on Castle, but was still able to appear in every episode offered to her.[99]

Speaking about portraying Palamas, and the differences between her and May, Wen said, "not only did she lose her face, she lost her will, really. I mean she is completely controlled by Whitehall and he’s done some other stuff to her. She was a very competent, strong S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and has been completely brainwashed into sort of idolizing and worshipping Whitehall and willing to do his every bidding. It’s sort of a sad character for me to portray because she’s so opposite from May. May is so confident and knows exactly what she needs to do and can get the job done based on her own opinions and with Agent 33, not only is she disfigured, not only doesn’t she have her face anymore, she doesn’t have her identity anymore."[100] After Palamas breaks free of her brainwashing and joins Ward, Stojan said of the character and their new relationship, "That love/romance that she has with Ward, and just how they're very connected, and, through it all, they just - she just stands by him. No one knows if she's been brainwashed or not, but she's really, I think, trying to find herself - whether it's good or bad. She truly believes in that one man, and she's going to follow him."[99]

Jiaying[edit]

Jiaying (portrayed by Dichen Lachman)[1][101][102] is the Inhuman wife of Zabo, and Skye's mother, who does not age and can heal rapidly thanks to an elder of her village giving their life each year. Pieced back together by Zabo after Whitehall dissects her to discover the secret to her abilities, Jiaying is never the same, and goes to great lengths to find her daughter, now willingly taking lives to feed her abilities, having no regard for humans. Eventually Jiaying tries to escape this new persona by founding Afterlife, a haven for Inhumans, and when Skye journeys to Afterlife, Jiaying happily becomes her mentor. However, when S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers the location of Afterlife, Jiaying starts a war with them, and attempts to kill all humans with artificial Terrigen crystals. She even tries to drain Skye's life when the former turns on her, but is stopped by Zabo, who kills her.

Speaking about the levels of violence depicted in the series, Bell admitted that the executive producers and the network did question the graphicness of the sequence where Jiaying is dissected by Whitehall, but that it was ultimately kept as is because they felt that "it was important for you to understand how horrible that was and what she went through and miraculously survived — that was a big part of our story."[103]

In regards to Jiaying's perceived role as the main villain of the second season due to her actions in the final episodes, Bell said "In our minds, [Jiaying] wasn’t a villain so much; she was an antagonist, but if you look at why she feels the way she does, Jiaying really earned that position."[104] After the character's backstory and motivations were revealled, she was compared by some to the Marvel Comics character Magneto. In response to this, Bell said "We didn’t consciously mimic [Magneto], but what they both have in common is a valid motive. Jiaying was ripped to shreds... I feel like her motive is really earned in the same way that Magneto’s is fairly earned. We always want our antagonists to have good motives... We tried to make everything she says be true."[103]

Gordon[edit]

Gordon (portrayed by Jamie Harris)[1] is an eyeless Inhuman with the ability to teleport and emit force fields. His transition to an Inhuman was tended to by Jiaying, and he remained loyal to her in his adult life, ensuring that only a select few could enter and/or leave Afterlife, and joining with her in her war against S.H.I.E.L.D. He is killed by Fitz while trying to spread Terrigen mist through the ventialtion of The Iliad during a fight where Fitz was able to minimize the distance of Gordon's teleportation.

Robert Gonzales[edit]

Robert Gonzales (portrayed by Edward James Olmos) is an elderly S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and tactician, and the commander of The Iliad during the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., and is tasked with protecting the Kree monolith. He is convinced not to destroy the ship (to prevent Hydra from claiming the monolith) so that the hundreds of agents on board may live, disobeying Fury's orders, and hence becomes a founding member of the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." He remains distrustful of secrets and all things alien, even after agreeing to keep Coulson on as Director of a new, unified S.H.I.E.L.D., but still attempts to negotiate with Jiaying and the Inhumans peacefully. However, Jiaying kills Gonzales and shoots herself, claiming that he attacked her, in order to start a war against S.H.I.E.L.D.

It was announced in January 2015 that Olmos would be joining the series as Robert Gonzales.[105] Olmos called joining the MCU "one of the high points of [his] career."[106]

Concerning the seeming difference in philociphies between Gonzales and Coulson, Olmos explained, "Our philosophies, it’s not that they’re different. It’s just that the situations that I’ve come across and the situations that he’s come across have changed our ability to work with the same understanding. He’s working like Fury worked and under that understanding. I don’t work under Fury’s understanding. ... I think that Coulson’s philosophy is the same as mine! We are S.H.I.E.L.D. We are not anything but S.H.I.E.L.D. people. It’s just that our S.H.I.E.L.D., the one that we originally put forth, was very, very transparent. And the S.H.I.E.L.D. that has materialized under Fury – and now Coulson – is much more secretive." Olmos also compared the relationship between the two factions of S.H.I.E.L.D. to that between the Democrats and the Republicans.[107]

Guest characters[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Season 1
Season 2

External links[edit]