In the first part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, the show established certain key relationships, conflicts, and world-building aspects that have carried over into the second half of the season. Most notably, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s third season has been dealing with the widespread Terrigenesis of Inhumans around the world, the team’s conflict with Hydra and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), and Daisy Johnson’s (Chloe Bennet) mission to build up a team of powered individuals that can help S.H.I.E.L.D. deal with the Inhumans.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason premiere also introduced the new threat to Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team: the reanimated Ward who is now inhabited by the Inhuman called Hive. Now, executive producer Jeffrey Bell discusses the relationships, heroes, and villains who will be key to the second half of season 3.
EW unveiled exclusive Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. artwork (below) that was created for the show’s appearance at WonderCon 2016 illustrated by Mike McKone with colors by Jason Keith. Additionally, Bell discussed many of the characters that appear in the artwork and their significance to the second half of season 3 – though he urged that Rosalind Price’s (Constance Zimmer) appearance on the poster has more to do with her death’s lasting effect on Coulson than another resurrection.
In terms of Coulson’s state of mind, Bell said:
“It feels to me like there’s a couple of things going on here, and one of them is that Coulson has returned sort of changed from what happened on the other planet. And though externally he’s acting like it’s no big deal, I think we see him feeling like, ‘What did I do,’ ‘Was it the right thing to do,’ ‘Is this my fault’ … all those questions. And so there’s a big emotional component going on. And for Daisy, it’s more of a stepping-up. It’s what he’s been grooming her for, specifically having so many powered people around. And she’s the person to lead that.”
Daisy’s pose and positioning in the artwork is reminiscent of the Secret Warriors Vol. 1 #22 cover that features a solo and suited up Quake. While the other women on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are positioned with male characters, Bell said of Daisy: “Let’s not take a super strong female character and reduce her to being a part of a relationship where she won’t be fulfilled until she finds her man.” Instead, Daisy’s romantic interest on the show, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), appears in his own section of the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.
The other relationships featured in the artwork include May (Ming-Na Wen) and Lash, formerly her ex-husband Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood); Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood), who will be receiving a spinoff in Marvel’s Most Wanted; the tentative partnership of Mack (Henry Simmons) and Yo-yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley); as well as Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), depicted sharing their kiss from the first half of season 3. According to Bell, relationships like those between Fitz and Simmons as well as Bobbi and Hunter will continue to develop throughout the back half of the season.
As for the season 3 villains, both Ward/Hive and Gideon Malick (Powers Booth) are framed in the artwork. Plus, according to Bell, the dynamic between the two will unfold in the second half of season 3:
“We have told you who Ward’s become, and Hive is the person that Malick is really in a relationship with. So the fact that reflection is on him or in him or around him [is] pretty potent. … For Malick it’s, ‘Hey, look, I’ve been worshipping the devil all my life, and now he’s here. So now what?’ That’s an interesting dilemma.”
Certainly, the Hive version of Ward will play a major role in the back half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 as the main antagonist for Daisy, Coulson, and the other members of their team. Additionally, the duality of Ward as a former member of the team and the power of Hive has set the villain up to have both a compelling impact on the story and the emotional arcs of the season. Now, according to Bell, it seems his relationship with a villain like Malick will provide for entertaining drama throughout season 3 in addition to his conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secret Warriors.
On the whole, Bell’s comments focus much more on the emotional through lines of the characters in season 3. Based on these statements it seems viewers can expect more emotional weight to the character development – added, of course, to the action we can expect to see as Daisy builds up her Secret Warriors team to take on Hive on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues Tuesday with ‘The Inside Man’ at 9pm on ABC.