[SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one ahead.]

The first season for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. concluded with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team being tasked with rebuilding the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization from the ground-up, so fingers crossed that setup will allow the show to hit the ground running once season two begins. In the meantime until then, we’ve been getting news of some intriguing cast additions for the Marvel Studios-backed series.

S.H.I.E.L.D. season two will include both players who originated in comic book form (see: Mockingbird) and new characters created specifically for the series – same approach as season one, in other words. Case in point, the newcomers to the show’s cast for season two revealed thus far include Xena: Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless as S.H.I.E.L.D. veteran agent Isabelle Hartley.

Other new players include Nick Blood (The Bletchley Circle) as Lance Hunter – an ally to Coulson who originated in the comics – and Reed Diamond (Dollhouse) as Hydra agent Daniel Whitehall. Deadline is now reporting that actor Simon Kassianides (Quantum of Solace) has joined the S.H.I.E.L.D. cast as Bakshi – a character described as being a “confident right-hand man who’s not afraid to do the dirty work.” Whether that means he’ll be operating as a force for good, bad, or something in between remains to be seen, but the part is described as being a “major recurring role.”

Season two for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be split in half, with Marvel Studios’ Agent Carter – an eight episode long series that highlights Peggy Carter’s (Hayley Atwell) adventures right after WWII – airing during the mid-season break. It’s feasible that S.H.I.E.L.D. co-showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon could structure things so that each half of the season deal with its own over-arching storyline – a way of cutting down on the need for “filler” episodes to pad out a longer over-arching narrative in season two, that is.

At the same time, though, there are still multiple dangling plot threads and/or unanswered questions leftover from S.H.I.E.L.D. season one, so this next season of the series (in theory) ought to be more story-oriented than the initial run, in general. The show, despite a rather rough start, arguably deserved its season two renewal; whether or not it will have an easier time earning its third season, remains to be seen.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two premieres on ABC on September 23rd, 2014.

Source: Deadline