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 of superheroes. 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 films, as well as Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge. Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki joined the cast for the second and third seasons, while Henry Simmons and Luke Mitchell had recurring roles in the second season, before being promoted to the main cast for the third. In addition to original characters, several other characters from Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Marvel One-Shots also appear throughout the series, along with other characters based on various Marvel Comics properties.

This list includes the series' main cast, all guest stars deemed to have had recurring roles throughout the series, and any other guest who is otherwise notable.

Overview[edit]

Key:
     = Does not appear / is not yet confirmed to appear
Character Portrayed by Appearances
First Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4
Main characters
Phil Coulson Clark Gregg "Pilot" Main
Melinda May Ming-Na Wen Main
Grant Ward
Hive
Brett Dalton Main
"4,722 Hours" Main
Daisy "Skye" Johnson
Quake
Chloe Bennet "Pilot" Main
Leo Fitz Iain De Caestecker Main
Jemma Simmons Elizabeth Henstridge Main
Lance Hunter Nick Blood "Shadows" Main
Bobbi Morse Adrianne Palicki "A Hen in the Wolf House" Main[A] Main
Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie Henry Simmons "Shadows" Recurring Main
Lincoln Campbell Luke Mitchell "Afterlife" Recurring Main
Recurring characters
Mike Peterson
Deathlok
J. August Richards "Pilot" Recurring Guest
Ian Quinn David Conrad "The Asset" Recurring
Raina Ruth Negga "Girl in the Flower Dress" Recurring
Victoria Hand Saffron Burrows "The Hub" Recurring
Anne Weaver Christine Adams "Seeds" Guest Recurring
John Garrett
The Clairvoyant
Bill Paxton "T.A.H.I.T.I." Recurring
Antoine Triplett B. J. Britt Recurring
Glenn Talbot Adrian Pasdar "Providence" Guest Recurring
The Koenigs Patton Oswalt Guest Recurring
Calvin Zabo Kyle MacLachlan "Beginning of the End" Guest Recurring
Daniel Whitehall Reed Diamond "Shadows" Recurring Guest
Sunil Bakshi Simon Kassianides Recurring
Kara Palamas
Agent 33
Maya Stojan "Making Friends and Influencing People" Recurring
Jiaying Dichen Lachman "The Things We Bury" Recurring
Gordon Jamie Harris "What They Become" Recurring
Andrew Garner
Lash
Blair Underwood "One of Us" Guest Recurring
Matthew Willig "Laws of Nature" Recurring
Robert Gonzales Edward James Olmos "Love in the Time of Hydra" Recurring
Alisha Whitley Alicia Vela-Bailey "Scars" Guest
Kebo Daz Crawford "S.O.S." Guest Recurring
Rosalind Price Constance Zimmer "Laws of Nature" Recurring
Luther Banks Andrew Howard Recurring
Joey Gutierrez Juan Pablo Raba Recurring
Werner von Strucker Spencer Treat Clark "Purpose in the Machine" Recurring
Gideon Malick Powers Boothe "Among Us Hide..." Recurring
Giyera Mark Dacascos "Many Heads, One Tale" Recurring
Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez Natalia Cordova-Buckley "Bouncing Back" Recurring Guest
James
Hellfire
Axle Whitehead "Paradise Lost" Recurring
Holden Radcliffe John Hannah "The Singularity" Recurring
AIDA TBA "Ascension" Guest Recurring
Robbie Reyes
Ghost Rider
Gabriel Luna TBA Recurring
Lucy Lilli Birdsell Recurring
  • 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 Kree 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, and tasks him with rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. "the right way". Coulson's 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, but Coulson earns their trust after helping save hundreds of civilians, and together they defeat a faction of Inhumans. Coulson loses a hand in the process. A new organization—the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU)—is established as a public front to deal with the growing Inhuman population, and Coulson becomes romantically involved with its leader, Rosalind Price. When she is murdered by Grant Ward, Coulson gets revenge by crushing Ward's chest with his prosthetic hand.

Clark Gregg

Phil Coulson was created by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway for Iron Man.[3][4] 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.[5] 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."[6]

In April 2013, Gregg said that he had found Whedon's explanation for Coulson's resurrection "fascinating" and "so true to the world of the comics and mythology in general as I understand them that I was immediately in."[7] Regarding the amount of creative input he has over the character, Gregg explained that he meets with the series showrunners "once or twice a year [to] talk about what the big ideas are" and called them "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."[8] Series costume designer Ann Foley described Coulson as a "company man", wearing suits in "the S.H.I.E.L.D. palate - grey, black and navy with a distinct but subtle pattern." Foley did note "subtle changes" in Coulson's costuming in the series from the films, such as streamlined suits and "more slick" ties, "now that [he] is back after being "killed" by Loki".[9] 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....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."[10] This practicality issue continued with the prosthetic hand Coulson subsequently has to use, with Gregg saying "the reality informs the thing. It’s really hard to figure out how to use this prosthetic, and that’s what Phil Coulson’s going through....I’m hoping it evolves at some point."[11] Gregg also noted that in the third season Coulson would be wearing more casual clothes, partly because "he can’t even seem to tie a tie" with his new hand.[12]

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...he’s gotten some power. He’s at the front lines, and what is the cost of that going to be?

–Gregg, on how starring in the television series can affect Coulson differently to appearing in the films.[13]

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."[5] 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."[7] Exploring some of those changes, Gregg stated "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."[14]

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....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".[13] Discussing Coulson's character progression through three seasons in relation to him killing Ward on the alien planet, executive producer Jeffrey Bell said, "First season Coulson would have beat Ward up and then thrown him over his shoulder and brought him back to Earth and locked him away. Season two Coulson would have defeated him and left him there on the other planet to fend for himself," while season three Coulson paused while the portal to Earth was already closing to take the time to kill Ward.[15]

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 S.H.I.E.L.D., she did this by killing 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. in 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.

Ming-Na Wen

Wen was cast as May in October 2012.[16] Whedon had the character, who was originally listed with the name Agent Althea Rice on casting sheets,[17] "rolling around in his head" for a long time.[18] In preparation for the role, Wen was "given a couple of background stories" about May, but found it challenging to play a character who is respected by those around her when the audience doesn't know why, stating "It's a challenge in different ways....I use some of my own personal experience where we've been scarred or we've been greatly disappointed".[18] 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."[19] May's shirt is the same blue as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in The Avengers such as Maria Hill, so as to have some continuity between her uniform and those established in the films. The rest of her costume is inspired by military flight suits, including a leather vest, and pants with stretch panels to aid with fighting.[9]

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."[20] Talking about May's reasons for staying with S.H.I.E.L.D., Wen explained "May’s friendship and...loyalty and her love for Coulson [keeps her there]. 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."[21] 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."[22]

On how May deals with her ex-husband Andrew becoming the Inhuman killer Lash, Wen said, "She's come to the understanding that it was something he had no control over. The betrayal might be not sharing that information of what happened to him with her. I think she understands that, in a way, he was scared and trying to be protective of their relationship and doing it all for the wrong reasons. I think, ultimately, Agent May is kind of shut down when it comes to Lash and Andrew at this point. That's why she's re-focusing all her energy back into S.H.I.E.L.D., back being by Coulson's side. That's where she's most comfortable."[23] Wen went on to describe May as "unconventionally maternal...she's taking care of Simmons and really believing that she needs to be able to protect herself, she's very, very concerned about the family's well being."[24]

Wen received nominations for 'Favorite Actress in a New TV Series' at the 40th People's Choice Awards and 'Favorite Female TV Star – Family Show' at the 29th Kids' Choice Awards.[25][26] Wen was also named TVLine's "Performer of the Week" for the week of April 12, 2015, for her performance in "Melinda", specifically her portrayal of May in the flashback sequences.[27]

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 double agent 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, 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 romantic relationship. 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. Joining forces with one of Hydra's previous leaders, Gideon Malick, Ward travels through a portal to an alien planet in search of the ancient Inhuman Hive, but is killed there by Coulson. This allows Hive to use Ward's body as a host.

Brett Dalton

Dalton was cast in November 2012.[28] From the conception of the series it was decided that Grant Ward would be a traitor, with executive producer Jed Whedon saying "since [the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier are] 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."[29][30] Ward's initial 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.[9] After Ward was outed as Hydra and became a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dalton grew a beard for 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."[31] Austin Lyon portrays a young Ward.[32]

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.

—Dalton on being informed of his character's double agent status.[33]

Dalton has described Ward as he first 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, since going undercover meant letting his guard down to make the other characters trust him, opening himself up to those relationships despite his ulterior motives.[33]

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." Dalton called the character a 'wildcard', since he was loyal to Garrett as a father figure rather than Hydra, "and he was more about his teammates rather than the team",[31] later elaborating 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."[34] 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....But it really [has] 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.[35]

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.'"[36]

Speaking about the monologue Ward gives in "Maveth", Dalton noted that some viewers thought Ward sounded like "a born-again, devout, off-my-rocker person at that point", but Dalton felt that it was "a real moment for Ward where he actually gets a sense of there's something greater than revenge and all of these smaller emotions; there's actually something that's bigger out there that he's a part of."[37] Following Ward's death later in the episode, Bell discussed whether the writers ever considered redeeming the character, saying, "No character is too high to fall or too low to be redeemed, theoretically....but for someone to be redeemed, they need to ask forgiveness, or want to be redeemed....[Ward] never felt like he needed to apologize for what he did."[15]

Dalton won for 'Male Breakout Star' at the 2014 Teen Choice Awards.[38] The character of Grant Ward garnered a large fan following, with a group known as the "Ward Warriors" often using the hashtag "StandByWard" on social media. Dalton was surprised that people "seem to be standing with Ward no matter what he does....there are people out there who just seem to be following this character wherever he goes. I think that’s brilliant....There isn’t any character like him on the show, and I would say even within the Marvel canon." As a "shoutout" to these fans, Palamas says "I will always stand with Ward" in the second season finale, which Dalton called "a testament to the fans, this incredibly loyal fanbase that has now influenced the script of our show."[39]

Hive[edit]

Further information: Hive (comics)

Hive (from Latin: Alveus) is one of the first Inhumans, a parasite who can connect with and control the minds of other Inhumans and feed off of or possess humans. Created by the Kree from a Mayan hunter (portrayed by Jason Glover)[third-party source needed] to lead their Inhuman army against mankind, Hive ultimately incited a rebellion, uniting humans and Inhumans to drive the Kree from Earth. Soon, a faction of Hive's followers who feared his power banished him through a portal to the planet Maveth, where he destroyed an entire civilization over centuries. He eventually only survived on human sacrifices sent through the portal by followers, and their descendants, still loyal to him—Hydra. Hive escapes back through the portal in modern times by possessing the body of Grant Ward. He retains the memories of all the bodies he has inhabited, including now Hydra leader Gideon Malick's brother Nathaniel, and punishes Gideon for causing Nathaniel's sacrifice by murdering his daughter Stephanie, before taking control of Johnson, who Ward was in love with, and using her to kill Gideon. Hive then takes steps to recreate the original Kree experiment that made him, planning to use a warhead to spread a pathogen around the world and transform all humans into Primitive Inhumans. He is destroyed when S.H.I.E.L.D. traps him in a quinjet with the warhead and detonates it in space.

What's so great about [Ward] is, he started off as one of the good guys, as one of the original team. Here we are, coming full circle, with him being on the completely opposite side of that. He's not just one of the bad guys—he's the bad guy!...I feel like I've gotten to do three characters.

—Dalton on transitioning to the role of Hive for the third season.[40]

Based on the Hive, "a genetic experiment created by Hydra" in the Secret Warriors comic,[41] Hive possesses the corpses of first Will Daniels and then Grant Ward in the show, with Dillon Casey and Brett Dalton portraying the reanimated bodies, respectively.[42] On having Hive possess Ward's body, Whedon explained that Ward has "been the baddie for a while and I thought it was a nice way to escalate this character....there’s still memories in there. So there’s still an aspect of the man we came to love to hate in there, but we wanted to give it some extra juice and we wanted to give Brett one more challenge where he has to change his character." Tancharoen added, "I think we’re very interested in seeing how our team will respond, [and] eventually...[how will his memories] play into scenes with our characters?"[23]

Hive's true form, as portrayed by Dalton through motion capture[43]

Dalton aimed to emulate Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada, who never spoke above "a conversational level...She didn't pound on her chest and make sure everybody knew that she's powerful, she just was."[44] Dalton also changed his voice to represent the memories of Will Daniels and Nathaniel Malick "just a little bit. I tried to change my voice in there, I tried to change even my level of expression in there because I was supposed to be channeling somebody else entirely coming through."[45][46] Dalton called the coat that Hive wears later in the third season "iconic and timeless", noting that "fashion wasn't on the forefront of [Ward's] mind", while Hive is more theatrical, "colorful without having to do much."[44]

Hive's ultimate goal is "connection", with Dalton saying, "all these Inhumans have a purpose. Hive finds his purpose has to do with somehow connecting all of the Inhumans. What we see is Hive's attempt to fulfill what he thinks is his destiny...this desperate need to connect.[40] Gregg called Hive "the perfect villain for this show because he carries with him the memories, desire, hatreds and agendas of Will and of Grant Ward. At the same time, he’s got a much deeper, bigger agenda that’s thousands of years old, and gave birth to Hydra."[23] Dalton described him as a "survivor" who "does not think small. This person has been around for way too long to think in anything other than global terms." He saw this as a fundamental difference between the character and Ward, who "just becomes single minded and is hellbent on one thing at a time....Hive is the opposite. He sees every move on the chess board. That's what we're seeing in terms of Hive's thinking. It is about a new world order of sorts." On how much influence the memories of those whose bodies Hive inhabits have on the character, Dalton said, "It's the motivations...you're seeing a flash of it. It's almost like seeing your kid. There are flashes of you in there...but then again, it's not me."[45]

Dalton realized that Hive would not be on the show for long when he took the part, with "the big, big bad" less likely to last as long as an "anti-hero" like Ward.[47] On Hive's final scene in the third season finale, Dalton noted that there would have been no point in the character doing anything other than reflect: "It's like looking into a fire. Somehow the truth comes out. You're looking at the Earth, man. It's so far away. And you'll get a perspective on things. For Hive, he was trying to change that entire thing and everyone who was on there....I think there's a great deal of remorse [that he was not] able to achieve that connection and do all the things that [he] wanted to do. But there was also an acceptance.[48]

Daisy "Skye" Johnson / Quake[edit]

Further information: Daisy Johnson

Daisy 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 chooses 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 Jiaying, who helps Skye control her abilities. Skye's loyalties are tested when Jiaying attempts to start a war with S.H.I.E.L.D., and she ultimately sides with S.H.I.E.L.D. Now using her birth name, Johnson forms a S.H.I.E.L.D. team of Inhumans named the Secret Warriors. After briefly being connected to Hive, and watching Lincoln Campbell, with whom she developed a romantic relationship, sacrifice himself for her, Johnson leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. and becomes known as the powered vigilante "Quake" to the public.

Chloe Bennet

Daisy Johnson was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell'Otto for Secret War #2.[49] 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."[50] Bennet was cast as Skye in December 2012,[51] out of more than 400 actress who auditioned for the role.[52] 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."[50] During a single-shot fight sequence in "The Dirty Half Dozen", Bennet broke her arm and finished the second season without wearing a cast.[11]

Skye's initial costume design was intended to keep her relatable, with inspiration coming from street style blogs,[9] but as she became a more experienced S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the second season, she received a more tactical outfit.[53] For the third season, Bennet cut her hair to further her character's transformation to Daisy Johnson, as she is portrayed in the comics, though she did not cut her hair as short as her comic counterpart; Bennet explained that "the comic book version of Daisy Johnson has very short, Miley Cyrus-esque hair. We wanted to stay true to the comic book character fans love; I wanted to please them but also make sure there was still some movement and length and sexiness in the hair."[54] Bennet also received a superhero costume for the third season, again bringing the character closer to the version in the comics.[11] Foley felt that "one of the most important things was that the symbol be incorporated into her costume but especially onto the gauntlets, And it’s also on the back of her suit, which was a fun little touch that we added. As far as the silhouette, we wanted to stay true to the comics and pay tribute to those original designs. I also wanted to incorporate the gold color that I’ve seen in some of the illustrations of her suit throughout the comics, which is why we have the gold lines that we see on the suit. Finally, for me personally, I wanted a nod to her tactical look from last season, so if you look at the style lines around the top of the costume, you will see that they’re similar to her tactical hood from Season 2." The suit was "made out of printed EuroJersey, which works well for these costumes because it’s a four-way stretch that gives Chloe the ability to move and do her stunts... But there is a lot more leather in her suit than in some of the others." Legacy Effects created Johnson's iconic gauntlets from the comics, making them "out of flexible materials painted to look like metal" so as not to injure anyone during stunts.[53]

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 [first] 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".[55] 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?"[50] Explaining some of these changes in the character, Bennet stated that "I make sure to try to keep the season one Daisy weaved through the new, badass Daisy....[but] she's changed a lot. She went into S.H.I.E.L.D. hating organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D., and now she's the epitome of S.H.I.E.L.D. She believes in everything that they believe in."[56]

Discussing the character becoming leader of the Secret Warriors, Bennet said, "What makes her such a good leader is how much she's been through, so she can relate to everyone on the team and she really has so much empathy and that's what I love about playing her. She really genuinely cares about everyone so deeply and it wears heavily on her because she obviously went through this big Inhuman change...And so what I think makes her such a good kind of...unconventional leader is that she's really kind of still learning and I think that's so realistic that leaders are—it's almost like when you grow up and you realize that your parents are just humans, parenting." Wen noted how the character "has evolved from being so anti-establishment into suddenly being someone who wants to create an establishment that would help and enhance the betterment of the world", to which Bennet said, "she was lost for a really long time, she was an orphan and she wanted to find her parents and all of a sudden she does and it's not what she expected. You know, when your mom tries to kill you and your dad is Hyde. So she's kind of grown into this."[24]

Bennet received nominations for 'Favorite TV Actress' and 'Favorite Female TV Star – Family Show' at the 28th and 29th Kids' Choice Awards, respectively.[26][57]

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 first 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.

Iain De Caestecker

De Caestecker was cast as Fitz in November 2012.[58] 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."[59] 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."[9]

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".[60] 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."[61] 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."[59]

De Caestecker was named TVLine's "Performer of the Week" for the week of September 27, 2015, for his performance in "Laws of Nature", particularly the episode's final scene.[62]

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, a portal to the alien planet Maveth. There she falls in love with Will Daniels, who sacrifices himself so she can return to Earth. Simmons eventually moves on from Daniels, and begins a relationship with Fitz.

Elizabeth Henstridge

Henstridge was also cast in November 2012.[58] She 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."[63] After the reveal during the season two premiere that Fitz was just imagining Simmons in the episode, Henstridge explained that the showrunners "tell you what you need to know to act your scenes, but anything after that, you never know."[64] 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".[9]

Henstridge talked about the characters of Fitz and Simmons being separated over the course of the series, noting that they have "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".[65] On Simmons' guilt over Fitz's brain damage, 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."[64] 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."[58] 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 explained that at the beginning of the series, Simmons was "very mathematical" but throughout the first season "understood that it was more about human relationships and what it means to save someone's life". Now, "she's had a traumatic event and she's gone straight back to what she knows of trying to make everything black and white", and so "It makes sense [to her] 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 [sic] anymore....Of course it isn't" that simple.[58]

After Simmons is trapped on the planet Maveth for six months, she becomes "profoundly different", with Henstridge describing her as "definitely still her essence—she doesn’t just completely change. But she’s been through so much. She’s hardened. She’s had to face things that she never would’ve imagined, also by herself without Fitz, so she’s definitely changed, stronger and kind of damaged."[66] Describing the relationship that Simmons develops with Daniels on the planet, and comparing it to that with Fitz, Henstridge said, "It's very visceral. It's more primal and intense. That just comes from having to survive in a hostile environment, only having each other on the whole planet. The stakes are always so high, so it's more physical than her relationship with Fitz. FitzSimmons is a slow burn that's taken years and years, and they connected over intellect, whereas her and Will, it's an "us against the world" kind of thing."[67] After Daniels dies and Simmons eventually moves on with Fitz, the latter two are shown consumating their relationship after several seasons worth of build up. "We imagine they spend the morning after laughing a lot about what just happened," said Whedon and Tancharoen, "We want their relationship to feel like their friendship did, because all the best relationships are just that. So moving forward, while this change in their friendship would hopefully only deepen their connection, it is bound also to make things a bit more complicated."[68]

Henstridge was named TVLine's "Performer of the Week" for the week of October 25, 2015, for her performance in "4,722 Hours", particularly for carrying the episode herself.[69]

Lance Hunter[edit]

Further information: 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. Following an incident in Russia involving the near-assassination of Prime Minister Olshenko, Hunter and Morse decide to disavow themselves from S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect Coulson and the team.

Nick Blood

Lance Hunter, created by Gary Friedrich as the British version of Nick Fury for Captain Britain Weekly,[70] was confirmed in September 2014 to be a member of the principal cast for the second season.[71] 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.[72] 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."[73]

Talking about Hunter's integration 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....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". 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."[74] After Hunter kills a man in "A Wanted (Inhu)man", Blood said, "I think that’s probably newer for the audience than it is for Hunter. I think Hunter, in his past, has probably done some morally questionable acts....not to say he’s ever been a vicious, vindictive, or immoral person. I think he’s just kind of straddled that line between right and wrong."[75]

Blood left the series following the season three episode "Parting Shot" to star in the spin-off show Marvel's Most Wanted.[76]

Bobbi Morse[edit]

Further information: Mockingbird (Marvel Comics)

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. Following an incident in Russia involving the near-assassination of Prime Minister Olshenko, Morse and Hunter decide to disavow themselves from S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect Coulson and the team.

Adrianne Palicki

At the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, the character of Bobbi Morse / Mockingbird, who was first introduced in Astonishing Tales #6 by Gerry Conway, was revealed to be appearing in the second season.[72][77] That August, Palicki was cast as Morse in a guest role, to appear in the episode "A Hen in the Wolf House", but with the potential to return.[78] 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.[79] Palicki was promoted to series regular with the season two episode "Aftershocks".[1][2]

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 comics] costume". The character's comics costume is traditionally navy blue and white, which was changed to navy blue and grey for the series.[80] Three sets of the costume were produced; two for Palicki to wear, and one for her stunt double. Foley used "lots of stretch panels" and leather to ensure freedom of movement in the character's many action sequences.[81]

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."[82] 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?"[83]

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."[84] Palicki left the series following the season three episode "Parting Shot" to star in the spin-off show Marvel's Most Wanted.[76]

Palicki was named as an honorable mention for TVLine's "Performer of the Week" for the week of March 20, 2016, for her performance in "Parting Shot".[85]

Mack[edit]

Further information: 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. Coulson makes Mack acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D. when he goes after Ward and Hydra.

Henry Simmons

In August 2014, Simmons joined the cast as Mack, a recurring character inspired by one that first appeared in Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. #3.[86] He was promoted to series regular for the third season.[87]

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."[88] On 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."[89]

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."[89]

Lincoln Campbell[edit]

Lincoln Campbell (portrayed by Luke Mitchell) is an Inhuman doctor 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, Campbell is shortly convinced to do the same. Following Jiaying's death, Campbell attempts to live a normal life, convinced that his Inhuman abilities are a curse, but is hunted by the ATCU and becomes a fugitive. He subsequently joins S.H.I.E.L.D. for protection and to be near Skye—now going by Daisy Johnson and with whom Campbell forms a relationship—and becomes a Secret Warrior. Campbell chooses to sacrifice himself to save the team and the world from Hive's plan by taking Hive and a nuclear warhead to space in a quinjet where the weapon can detonate without affecting Earth.

Luke Mitchell

Mitchell was introduced as Lincoln Campbell, a recurring character, in the second season.[90] He was promoted to series regular for the third season.[91] Regarding the character's introduction, Bell stated that "Meeting Luke’s character in the Inhuman world is just setting up a new dynamic. We’re taking Skye into a group with a whole bunch of different people. So far, we’ve seen that there’s a guy with no eyes, and there’s a woman who now is covered in thorns. And as in the X-Men world, there are a handful of people who look more like them, but a lot of them turn out to be just attractive people with powers. And we thought, "Hey, let’s have some of those as well!" We were looking for a new character to come on, and Luke just really impressed us. He was a good actor, had a nice quality, and we felt he might be a good person to sort of usher Skye into this other world."[92]

Heading into season three, Mitchell explained that "the Lincoln that the audience was introduced to in season two was a side of Lincoln, and that side of Lincoln was not necessarily a lie or the truth or whatever, but we all put on different faces in different environments...I think in that environment Lincoln was very much under the spell of the Inhuman Elders. He played his part in the hierarchy there and he believed in the cause, which then was exposed to be evil. Then in season three, it’s like, wow, how is he dealing with the events in season two?"[11] On seeing Lincoln's darker side in the third season, Mitchell said, "I think we’re going to see a lot more of Lincoln’s issues with his past pop up, in particular possibly some anger issues that have been unresolved. They pop their heads up from time to time. Certainly in matters of conflict, in pressure situations".[23]

On the relationship that Campbell develops with Johnson, the only person who can "keep him somewhat in check when it comes to his anger", Mitchell said, "he wants to make something of his life, but he doesn’t see anything without Daisy in the picture", and "if something were to happen to Daisy, I think Lincoln wouldn’t stay in S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy is his life. He’ll do anything to get her back." This is seen when he agrees to wear a "murder vest" as a fail safe, and when he disobeys orders to test an experimental antitoxin on himself—"Once he does that, and it doesn’t work, then they put him in the containment module for his own benefit, because his immune system is done. It becomes incredibly frustrating." Mitchell added, "He makes these decisions, but you still see the fear in him when he does this. It’s not just bravado....There’s a deep well of emotion in him."[93]

The episode "Bouncing Back" opens with "a mysterious flash-forward to three months in the future, showing an unidentified S.H.I.E.L.D. agent seemingly dead in space",[94] leading to a "four-episode event" for the final episodes of the season, marketed as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Fallen Agent.[95] A poster created by Greg Land for the event recreated the cover of the "iconic" The Amazing Spider-Man #121 that served as the first issue of the story arc "The Night Gwen Stacy Died",[96] and ahead of the season finale, Marvel released a series of videos that "memorialized" each of the potential character who could have been the Fallen Agent.[97] The final episode of the season reveals that it is Campbell who dies, which the executive producers had known going into the season when forming the arcs for Lincoln, Daisy, and Ward.[98] Bell said he "earned it", adding that Lincoln comes to a point where he realizes what his purpose is, with Whedon explaining that the decision was based on the fact that the series did not "want to be a body count show, but it is a real world with real stakes. What we had not done is the heroic death and the full-sacrifice death. This was a conscious decision. We also think that there’s a poetry in the fact that the person doing it doesn’t consider himself a hero. That’s the beauty of the moment—it’s not just for [Daisy], but it is, and it’s not just for him, but it is."[99]

Recurring characters[edit]

Introduced in season one[edit]

Mike Peterson / Deathlok[edit]

Further information: 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, but is caught in an explosion and awakens without his right leg and under the control of the "Clairvoyant", who gives him a bionic prosthetic limb as part of "Project Deathlok". After the defeat of Centipede and the "Clairvoyant", Peterson works for Coulson covertly, and aids in the take down of Hydra leader Dr. List.

Richards appeared in Joss Whedon's Angel as Charles Gunn before being cast as Peterson,[100] who was revealed to be the MCU version of Deathlok in January 2014.[101] Created by Rich Buckler and Doug Moench in 1974, Deathlok has gone through many different iterations in the comics.[102] Richards called the role "a dream come true",[100] and described the character's costume and makeup, which took "about five departments...two hours to do the makeup and then [about] 15 or 20 minutes to get into the costume", as "restrictive. I love the costume and it really helps me to play the character, because it makes me feel part-machine, part-human."[103] 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 with x-ray vision.[104] The costume was updated and evolved to be closer to the comic version for Deathlok's appearance in the second season.[105]

Richards found "the theme of Deathlok [to be] about deep, internal conflict, and that's what we're bringing with this [version]."[106] After returning late in the second season, Richards looked back, and felt that his initial awkwardness and reluctance with the character and the costume reflected Peterson's own journey becoming Deathlok. He also noted that when the character says "Mike Petersen is dead", "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."[105]

Ian Quinn[edit]

Ian Quinn (portrayed by David Conrad)[107] 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 U.S. military as a replacement for S.H.I.E.L.D., but after Garrett is defeated, Quinn goes into hiding 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,[108] with executive producer Jeffrey Bell later explaining that "Ruth Negga showed up and we just fell in love with her and found ways to use her beyond our initial conception".[109] 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", Foley and Negga "wanted to show a progression in her dresses that reflects where her character might be going", with her initially unclear intentions paired with "a softer silhouette" and 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 the colors are flipped to black with white flowers. For her final appearance in the episode, her dress is red with black flowers. Foley concluded, "By the time you see her again in ["The Bridge"] you know she means business".[9] After Raina is transformed in the second season she hides her hideous appearance with a hooded jacket, which Foley subtly added a flower pattern to, as "she was always going to be the girl in the flower dress, so I wanted to pay tribute to that".[110]

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]."[111]

Victoria Hand[edit]

Further information: Victoria Hand

Victoria Hand (portrayed by Saffron Burrows) is introduced as the high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who runs The Hub, a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. 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 soon 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 to save Garrett from imprisonment.

In November 2013, Burrows was announced as playing Hand,[112] who was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato, and played an integral role in their Dark Avengers comic book series.[113] 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 stated that "it started to be irresponsible if we addressed it to not address it with more weight and time and energy."[114] However, this relationship was later hinted at onscreen in "One Door Closes".[115]

Anne Weaver[edit]

Anne Weaver (portrayed by Christine Adams)[116] is the director of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology who 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 superhumans. 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]

Further information: 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 Quinn, 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.[117] 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".[118] Garrett was first introduced by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz in Elektra: Assassin.[119] 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."[120] Following the revelation that Garrett was The Clairvoyant, Paxton said, "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."[121]

Antoine Triplett[edit]

Antoine Triplett (portrayed by B. J. Britt) worked with Garrett until the Hydra reveal, after which he joins Coulson's team. Trip perishes when he becomes trapped in the chamber Skye and Raina undergo Terrigenesis in, as he was not descended from Inhumans.

In December 2013, "an African-American agent who specializes in combat/weapons" was set to be added to the series.[117] In February, Britt was announced as cast in the role of Triplett.[122] 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."[123] Britt said of the character, "Trip likes to make sure everything is in order...he’s going make sure that stuff doesn’t go wrong. [But] 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."[124]

Glenn Talbot[edit]

Further information: 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. He is made head of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU) following the death of Rosalind Price, an arrangement which sees him reluctantly working for Coulson.

Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Tales to Astonish #61, Talbot was a recurring antagonist of the Hulk.[125] Pasdar was cast as Talbot by March 2014, with this version focused on taking down Hydra.[126]

The Koenigs[edit]

Further information: 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.

Oswalt joined the series as Eric Koenig in March 2014.[127] This version of the character is loosely inspired by one that first appeared in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #27.[127] Oswalt also portrays Billy and Sam Koenig.[72] After previously working on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and being a long time fan of Marvel, Oswalt was sought for the part specifically.[127]

Calvin Zabo[edit]

Further information: Mister Hyde (comics)

Calvin Johnson (portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan), a young doctor, met the Inhuman Jiaying while in China. The two eventually married, and had a daughter, Daisy. After Jiaying was torn apart by Hydra, and Daisy was taken by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Cal stitched his wife back together, found innocent people whose life-force was used to bring Jiaying back to life, and began searching for his daughter, at some point changing his last name. He also began experimenting on himself in an attempt to be stronger, blaming himself for not protecting his family. Jiaying eventually abandoned the search to live a peaceful life with other Inhumans like her, but Cal continued, eventually meeting Daisy—now going by Skye—and over time forming a bond with her, despite her hatred for his past actions. 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 in the role,[128] to recur throughout the second season.[129] Initially referred to as "The Doctor",[128] his character was revealed to be Calvin Zabo, also known as Mister Hyde, in December 2014.[130] Zabo 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.[131] Following the conclusion of season two, Bell said on Cal's storyline, "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."[132] Bell elaborated that they "felt like everything he did came from the right place but that he was just a really horrible, broken man. The idea of [using] 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."[133]

Introduced in season two[edit]

Daniel Whitehall[edit]

Werner Reinhardt (portrayed by Reed Diamond), a high ranking Nazi officer and an elite member of Hydra in 1945, was experimenting on the Diviner when his base was taken by the SSR 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,[72] also known as the Kraken in the comics,[134] where he was introduced by Jonathan Hickman for Secret Warriors #7.[135] 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. Diamond accepted the role of Whitehall with just 24 hours to prepare, during which he formed the character's German accent to use for 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." The character is often seen cleaning his glasses, an "identifying quality" devised by Jed Whedon.[134]

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,[136] was cast in the "major recurring role" of Bakshi in July 2014.[137] Speaking of the character's relationship with Whitehall, Kassianides explained, "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 "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....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."[136]

Kara Palamas / Agent 33[edit]

Kara Palamas (portrayed by Maya Stojan) was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent betrayed to Hydra by the then undercover Morse and subjected to brainwashing by Bakshi and Whitehall. The now Hydra-loyal Palamas used a nanomask to take on the appearance of May, and when the latter electrocutes Palamas whilst in this disguise, she is left stuck as May, but deformed. After Coulson kills Whitehall, Palamas works with Ward, the two forming 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,[138][139] 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.[140] 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.[141] 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...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."[142] 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...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."[141]

Jiaying[edit]

Jiaying (portrayed by Dichen Lachman)[143][144] is the Inhuman wife of Zabo, and Daisy'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 innocent 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 Daisy (going by 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."[145] For Jiaying's costume, Foley "wanted her to have an other-worldly kind of feeling and then also, at the time, Dichen [Lachman] was pregnant, so we needed to come up with a silhouette that could hide the pregnancy, and kind of grow with her which is why we landed on that tunic. The great thing about it is that it had this really cool Asian feeling to it with the high neck and the buttons down the front."[110] Foley chose the fabrics for Jiaying's tunics based on what was going on in the story and how she felt the character was thinking.[110]

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."[146] After the character's backstory and motivations were revealed, 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."[145]

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.

Andrew Garner / Lash[edit]

Further information: Lash (comics)

Andrew Garner (portrayed by Blair Underwood) is May's ex-husband and a psychologist at Culver University who assesses gifted people for S.H.I.E.L.D. Following a vacation with May to try and rekindle their relationship, Garner is exposed to Terrigen which unlocks Inhuman abilities within him; he becomes the monstrous Lash (portrayed by Matt Willig), who uses energy abilities to hunt and kill 'unworthy' Inhumans. Garner surrenders himself to S.H.I.E.L.D. before the transformation becomes permanent, and manages to say goodbye to May before completely becoming Lash. S.H.I.E.L.D. then send Lash to fight Hive, hoping that his Inhuman purpose is to destroy the latter. Though this is not the case, Lash is able to purge Daisy Johnson of Hive's control, before being killed by Hellfire.

In December 2014, Underwood was revealed to be cast as Garner for multiple appearances starting in the second season.[147] In July 2015, the Inhuman Lash, who was created by Charles Soule and Joe Madureira for Inhuman #1, was announced as appearing in the third season.[148][149] That August, Willig was revealed to be cast as Lash,[149] with Hetrick again working alongside the series' makeup and visual effects teams to realize the character's "unique look" from the comics.[150] Whedon noted that it would be their "own take on [Lash]. There will be some elements from the comics for sure, but as we always do...we’re changing it up a little bit."[151] Bell elaborated that "it’s hard to have a hidden or magical city" in the MCU, such as Lash's comic home of Orollan, but "Lash’s agenda can certainly remain true to what it was in the comics", with him judging whether Inhumans are worthy.[152] Willig's Lash make-up initially took six hours to apply, but the make-up team was able to reduce the time to four and a half hours.[153]

Whedon noted that the series already has several Inhumans who are "fairly attractive" and the producers wanted "to also show the other side of the change that bad things can happen", with Tancharoen elaborating that "on a very basic level, we were interested in putting a monster in the mix, because he is not human and his looks are pretty crazy and scary. We wanted to put our team up against something like that."[151] On how the cast and characters react to seeing Lash, Bennet said, "I like to think that they've seen their fair share of crazy shit and that's just something that's pretty insane but not totally mind-blowing."[154] Following the reveal that Lash still had a human form, Bell said that they would spend time exploring different characters as potential candidates,[152] though the human form was revealed to be Garner two episodes later.[155] For the onscreen CGI transformation from Garner to Lash, Underwood and Willig were 3D scanned (the latter while in full prosthetics and make-up), and then Underwood provided motion capture for the sequence, as visual efffects supervisor Mark Kolpack noted the lack of resemblance between Underwood and the final Lash design, and so wanted to keep as much of Underwood's "essence" throughout the transformation process as possible. Underwood portrayed the transformation as "painful", "rigid", and "tiring", though he noted that it would become easier for the character to transform the more it happened.[156]

Going into the third season, Underwood had only known that the producers wanted to explore more of Garner's personal life, after his appearances in the second season were "as an appendage to Agent May...a device and a construct to open her up and see more of her life." He also did not see the Lash reveal coming, which he did not learn until the table read for "Devils You Know", when it is presumed Garner is dead, and the producers approached him afterwards to tell them their plan for the character. Underwood compared the Garner / Lash dynamic to Jekyll and Hyde and Bruce Banner / the Hulk, and compared the new May / Garner dynamic to Beauty and the Beast.[157] On Lash's motivations, Underwood stated that "Lash sees [the Inhumans] as an exalted society and it's an honor to be an Inhuman. Not everyone is worthy of that moniker. He takes it upon himself to be judge, jury and executioner of who is worthy of being an Inhuman and who is not."[157] Elaborating on this and Garner's connection to Lash, Underwood said, "If you look at his work as a psychologist...in S.H.I.E.L.D., he determines [who] is worthy and is not worthy to be part of the Secret Warriors team...it makes sense that it's kind of that same kind of rationale, but on steroids".[158]

Robert Gonzales[edit]

Robert Gonzales (portrayed by Edward James Olmos) is an elderly S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, tactician, and the commander of The Iliad during the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. who 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 subsequently becomes a founding member of the "real S.H.I.E.L.D." alongside Anne Weaver, Tomas Calderon, and Agent Oliver. 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,[159] with Olmos describing joining the MCU one of the high points of his career.[160] Concerning the apparent difference in philosophies between Gonzales and Coulson, Olmos explained 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.[161]

Alisha Whitley[edit]

Alisha Whitley (portrayed by Alicia Vela-Bailey)[162] is a duplicating Inhuman who was loyal to Jiaying until she learned that the latter started the war with S.H.I.E.L.D. After Jiaying's death, Alisha helps S.H.I.E.L.D. until she falls under the influence of Hive. She is later murdered by a Kree reaper.

Kebo[edit]

Kebo (portrayed by Daz Crawford) is a member of Hydra who becomes second-in-command to Ward until he is killed by Morse.

Crawford initially signed on for the second season finale only,[162][163] but returned for the third season after the writers liked him in the character and wanted to continue using him.[163] Crawford, who does his own stunts after doing similar work on American Gladiators and Gladiators, described Kebo's relationship to Ward as an employee/boss relationship only, with Kebo having reservations about Ward as a boss, but "some people like their bosses, some people don’t."[163]

Introduced in season three[edit]

Rosalind Price[edit]

Rosalind Price (portrayed by Constance Zimmer) is the head of the ATCU as it crosses paths with S.H.I.E.L.D. in the hunt for Inhumans. After developing a romantic relationship with Coulson, Price is killed by Ward.

In July 2015, Zimmer was cast as Price,[164][165] who Gregg described as "a potent...I wouldn’t say doppelganger, but she’s definitely got a lot in common with Coulson. She represents a character who’s not someone he comes across every day, who has more in common with him than most other people do."[11] That September, Bell elaborated, "Where in the past, Coulson frequently plays sort of a paternal role on the show, because Daisy is kind of a surrogate daughter figure—suddenly there's another adult [in Price], who can banter, who can hold her own, and there's something nice about seeing him in that relationship."[166]

Luther Banks[edit]

Luther Banks (portrayed by Andrew Howard)[167] is an ATCU agent and former Marine loyal to Price. He is killed by Giyera.

Joey Gutierrez[edit]

Joey Gutierrez (portrayed by Juan Pablo Raba) is an Inhuman and former construction worker with the ability to melt certain metals who is recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. for Daisy Johnson's Secret Warriors team.

Raba was announced as cast in August 2015.[149] Scott Meslow of Vulture and Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club, reviewing the season three episode "Laws of Nature", both indicated their pleasure in seeing Gutierrez, a gay character, appear on the series, which Meslow noted appeared to be the first openly gay character in the MCU.[168][169]

Werner von Strucker[edit]

Further information: Werner von Strucker

Werner von Strucker (portrayed by Spencer Treat Clark)[170] is the son of Hydra leader Wolfgang von Strucker, who is recruited to Hydra by Ward after Wolfgang's death. After failing to follow Ward's orders and kill Garner, Werner is left in a vegetative state by Kebo, and is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.

Gideon Malick[edit]

Gideon Malick (portrayed by Powers Boothe) is a former member of the World Security Council and secret leader of Hydra who ascended to power following the death of his father in 1970. Gideon was joined by his brother Nathaniel, but the two soon learned of a trick their father used to avoid being sacrificed to Hive, and when Gideon followed suit, Nathaniel was sacrificed. Gideon successfully opens the portal to allow Hive to return to Earth, but Hive reveals that he has retained Nathaniel's memories, and punishes Gideon by murdering his daughter Stephanie. After being captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., Gideon cooperates with Coulson against Hive. Gideon is murdered by Johnson while she is controlled by Hive.

In October 2015, it was announced that Boothe was joining the series as a recurring character early in the third season, reprising his role from The Avengers (where he was credited only as "World Security Council").[171][172] On how much the series would use the character later in the third season, following the midseason finale, Whedon stated that "we’d be fools not to use him more. We couldn’t be bigger fans of [Boothe's] portrayal of the role. We knew going in that we were going to get some bang for our buck, and we’ve been loving writing the character. We love the way he’s attacking the scenes. We plan on keeping him around, because we’d be idiots not to."[173] Cameron Palatas portrays a young Gideon Malick.[174]

Giyera[edit]

R. Giyera (portrayed by Mark Dacascos)[175] is a telekinetic Inhuman and head of security for the ATCU, secretly loyal to Malick. He is eventually swayed over to Hive's side, until he is killed by Fitz.

Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez[edit]

Further information: Yo-Yo Rodriguez

Elena Rodriguez (portrayed by Natalia Cordova-Buckley) is a Colombian Inhuman who can move at a super speed for a beat of her heart, before returning to the point she started moving from. She comes into contact with S.H.I.E.L.D. when they investigate her for stealing local, corrupt police's weapons. She grows close to Mack, who nicknames her "Yo-Yo", and eventually agrees to join the Secret Warriors.

By February 2016, Cordova-Buckley was cast as "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez, based on the comic Secret Warrior of the same name.[176] Cordova-Buckley learned of the role after she had been cast in the series, and subsequently researched the comics for inspiration. She described the character, as she is initially introduced in the series, as a freedom fighter who "in a lot of ways she wants to help her people in Colombia and she wants to do good with her powers and she makes sure that she’s very adamant on how she goes about things." She also noted the rarity of the character's spirituality, saying that she "has this whole spiritual connection to her powers which is rare to ever see in a super hero movie...She wants to use [her powers] as what she calls a blessing and a gift from God to help others, so it’s a very unique approach to it all".[177]

James / Hellfire[edit]

Further information: Hellfire (J.T. Slade)

James (portrayed by Axle Whitehead) is an Inhuman who was refused the right of Terrigenesis by Jiaying and banished from Afterlife. Johnson subjects James to the transformation while under the influence of Hive, giving James the ability to imbue objects with fire. He is then taken under Hive's influence himself, and chooses the codename Hellfire.

Whitehead first guest starred as James in "Paradise Lost", introduced as someone from Lincoln's past, with Whitehead and Mitchell having previously starred together on Home and Away.[178] With the character recurring through the rest of the third season, he was revealed to be an adaptation of the comic Secret Warrior character Hellfire.[179] Executive producer Tancharoen felt it was "a no-brainer" to include Hellfire in the series, despite him not being Inhuman in the comics. Whedon expanded, saying, "We liked his attitude. He’s a tell-it-like-it-is guy. He’s a little bit of a prick. He does not care if he’s liked, and that’s fun to write." The producers were also able to find a way to incorporate Hellfire's signature fire chain into the series.[180]

Holden Radcliffe[edit]

Further information: Holden Radcliffe

Holden Radcliffe (portrayed by John Hannah)[181][182] is a transhumanist who believes in the improvement of humanity through enhancement. Due to his studies of parasites, Fitz and Simmons seek his help with counteracting Hive's abilities, but he is kidnapped by Hive first to help recreate the original Kree experiment that created the Inhumans. After a S.H.I.E.L.D. raid on Hive's base, Radcliffe escapes and agrees to cooperate with Coulson and Talbot. After being acquitted, Holden begins work on transferring his artificial intelligence AIDA to a Life Model Decoy, an old S.H.I.E.L.D. project.

On Radcliffe transferring his artificial intelligence AIDA into a Life Model Decoy,[183] Whedon said, "Radcliffe has a good heart, but he's willing to do anything for science. He's excited about the prospect. He said Fitz and Simmons had friends die and maybe they didn't have to. He's clearly opening a box. Whether or not it's Pandora's box, we'll see. He thinks there's something beyond humans." Tancharoen added, "To someone like Radcliffe, he might believe that to be just the next step in human evolution. There are a number of people who are into body modification now, so what does that mean? What's the root of that?"[98]

AIDA[edit]

AIDA is Radcliffe's artificial intelligence that he transfers into a Life Model Decoy.

AIDA is briefly voiced by Amanda Rea in the third season finale.[184] By June 2016, casting was underway for a "very attractive" actress to portray the robot in a recurring role for the fourth season. The character was described as moving around "quite naturally", but speaking "a bit formally" like Iron Man's J.A.R.V.I.S. A.I. in the MCU films.[185]

Introduced in season four[edit]

Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider[edit]

Roberto "Robbie" Reyes (portrayed by Gabriel Luna) is a high school student who is transformed into Ghost Rider after a street race gone wrong.[186]

Advertisements for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead of the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International featuring a flaming chain lead to speculation that the character of Ghost Rider would be joining the series during the season, though it was noted that the image could indicate an increased role for Hellfire after his introduction in the third season.[187] When casting for a Latino character matching the description of Marvel Comics' Robbie Reyes, was revealed to be underway for the series, further speculation pointed to the inclusion of Ghost Rider, a mantle that Reyes took over in the comics.[185][188] At the series' Comic-Con panel, this speculation was confirmed, and Luna was announced to be cast in the role.[186]

Reyes was chosen as the Ghost Rider for the series, over other versions of the character, since his is the newest version from the comics, and the executive producers thought "it would be interesting to bring in someone with [his] background into our dynamic of the show." Regarding if the character would be taken over by a Satanic serial killer as in the comics, as opposed to being possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance, Tancharoen said, "We’re staying true to his circumstance. But as always with any property that we use, we’re taking our liberties with it." Whedon added, "We’re pulling a little bit from different versions of the Ghost Rider... Things are a little different with Robbie. There will be a little mixing and matching. We’re being true to the character, where he comes from, his little brother."[189]

Lucy[edit]

Lucy (portrayed by Lilli Birdsell) is someone with a haunting quality and a violent streak in her inner self, due to her past.[190]

Guest characters[edit]

The following is a supplementary list of guest stars that appear in lesser roles or make significant cameo appearances. The characters are listed by the MCU media or season in which they first appeared.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Season 1
Season 2
Season 3

External links[edit]