[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead.]
The sudden death of actor Bill Paxton from post-surgical complications sent shockwaves through Hollywood, as evidenced by all the tributes that came pouring in after the news broke. Average Americans too felt a connection to Paxton and joined in paying homage to the beloved star. One particularly touching tribute saw storm chasers, many of whom no doubt were inspired to join that dangerous profession thanks to his blockbuster film Twister, using GPS to form Paxton’s initials.
It seems almost a secondary consideration so soon after his death to discuss projects Paxton had on his slate or was rumored to be involved in. Paxton had finished filming his scenes for season one of Training Day, so that series will not have to make any adjustments. Some were wondering if Paxton’s passing might change plans for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to bring back the character he formerly played on the show, and now we have our answer on that as well.
According to EW, there were in fact no plans for Paxton to reprise his role as John Garrett, the character he portrayed for six episodes during season one of the TV series. On Sunday, Marvel released a statement about Paxton’s passing:
“Marvel is deeply saddened by the loss of Bill Paxton; his contributions to the Marvel Universe will be remembered fondly.”
Speculation about Paxton’s possible return began when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced its Framework storyline, involving a digital world where Hydra is in charge. Paxton’s character died at the end of season one but some wondered if he might not be brought back in the Framework. However, Garrett’s digital revival was evidently never in the cards.
Paxton’s six-episode run on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. represents just a small part of his television legacy. Paxton made various appearances on the small screen in the ’80s, including a featured role on the prime time soap opera spoof mini-series Fresno. In 1993, Paxton made a memorable appearance as vengeful convict Billy DeLuca on HBO’s anthology horror series Tales From the Crypt. Then in 2006 Paxton began his run as polygamist hardware magnate Bill Henrickson on the acclaimed series Big Love, a role that would garner him three Golden Globe nominations.
Obviously, Paxton’s legacy on the big screen is far more expansive and impressive than his contribution to TV history. With roles in blockbusters Aliens, Titanic, Twister and others, the actor left behind a truly remarkable body of work that will continue to entertain, delight and sometimes terrify for many years to come. And don’t forget his greatest contribution to popular culture: he directed the Fish Heads video that used to freak out kids back in the early ’80s.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with ‘What If…’ on ABC on Tuesday, April 4th.