The debate will continue to rage about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s mid-season premiere and what it is that makes Agent Phil Coulson special enough to make Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. move “heaven and earth” to keep him safe, but while we wait for hard answers on that potentially series defining question, there is a new diversion on the way. 

Bill Paxton (AliensTwister, Edge of Tomorrow) is jumping on the bus for at least four episodes to play John Garrett, a steel tough S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who just got welcomed to level 7. Garrett also has a previous connection to Agent Coulson, but it’s the character’s comic book back story (in addition to Paxton’s star power) that really makes this an intriguing addition.

Before we get to that, though, let’s look at what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-showrunner Jed Whedon had to say about Garrett and what the character will bring to the show (via TV Guide):

“We wanted to bring in a rough-and-tumble former cohort of Agent Coulson with a little bit of attitude and cigar-smoking swagger… when Garrett got his promotion to Level 7, he refused to sit behind a desk and doesn’t like the formalities of SHIELD. He’s going to help Coulson solve some mysteries and is not afraid to rig an explosive or two.”

Whether that mystery solving takes the baton from last week’s episode and gives us answers regarding Coulson’s continued existence is unknown. It seems like this Rubik’s cube is a long way from being solved, but Garrett and Coulson may have more in common than a shared history and an employer; Garrett is also special and someone S.H.I.E.L.D. went through extreme measures to protect – at least in the comics where Garrett (who also has a checkered past) is made into a half man/half cyborg after nearly dying while on assignment.

It’s a little more clear cut why S.H.I.E.L.D. went that far with Garrett, though, since it’s later revealed that he was a member of the Zodiac (Great Wheel) with Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Baron Strucker, and seven others. When it all came to an end, though, Hydra, Leviathan, and S.H.I.E.L.D. would rise – for better or worse – from the Great Wheel’s ashes.

There is no mention about Garrett being part cyborg (or a criminal) and no mention of the Great Wheel right now, so those things could absolutely be pushed aside in the move from paper to television or re-configured in some way, but it makes sense to give Coulson someone that he can relate too in light of his surely frayed emotions following the mid-season premiere’s revelations. It’s also not like Marvel is shy about planning things well advance while tying them into its ever growing cinematic universe.

By the way, that attack that left Garrett battered and in need of transformation was brought down on him by Elektra in the comics, so could Garrett’s introduction tie to her, and could that tie to the upcoming Netflix Daredevil series, assuming she is a part of it in some form? Could the Great Wheel be a part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. heavy Captain America: The Winter Soldier? We’ll have to wait and see, but the very possibility of such grand attachments reminds us of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s great potential to serve as a jumping off point and a crucial part of the intertwined Marvel live-action universe.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns this Tuesday with “Seeds” @8pm on ABC.

Source: TV Guide