Before the surprise announcement was made at New York Comic-Con that Clark Gregg would be reprising the fan-favorite role of Agent Phil Coulson in S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) following his demise in The Avengers, we learned that there will be (at least) four new agents introduced in the pilot episode to round out the main cast.

Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe) signed first, later joined by Elizabeth Henstridge (Shelter) and Ian De Caestecker (The Fades), and today we can add Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln) to the roster, filling out the roster of characters we learned about previously.

After The Avengers opened in theaters in May to break the record for largest opening weekend at the box office ever, it only took a few days for Disney CEO Bob Iger to confirm that a sequel was in the works. After a few months of hesitation Joss Whedon would later sign on and as part of his three-year exclusivity deal with Marvel Studios, he’d help develop a live-action television series based in the same cinematic universe as the films he’d be overseeing. Now that casting is underway, we have a better idea of how SHIELD will distance itself from the movies, not relying on the events for stories and connective threads.

Brett Dalton

We don’t yet know how Coulson fits into the series and if his casting means the show is a prequel to Phase One of the Marvel cinematic universe, but we do know a little bit about his cohorts, the latest of which is a fresh face in the industry: Brett Dalton. According to TV Line, Dalton is playing Agent Grant, a highly skilled agent rising through the ranks of the top secret organization. These character traits were offered for Grant when we first learned about the four characters being cast:

Agent Grant Ward

  • Bad temper, but calm and collected in sticky situations.
  • Slightly anti-social.
  • Strong Morals.
  • “Deadly”

The character of Grant Ward, along with Agent Leo Fitz (Caestecker), Agent Jemma Simmons (Henstridge) and Agent Melinda May (Wen) are all original characters who, like Agent Coulson, are not based on SHIELD agents from Marvel Comics. Gregg’s performance as Coulson won fans and the studio over, earning him a larger role in several of the other films up to and including The Avengers. He even voices the character in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series and the character joined Marvel Comics as well.

While they are all fresh faces for the universe, we can expect some familiar appearances as well.  There’s an important reason the show is tied to the main film universe and from what executive producer Louis D’Esposito told us when discussing the Marvel One-Shot Item 47 which he directed, we can almost certainly expect some of the characters – perhaps Agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) and Agent Blake (Titus Welliver) – from those to show up.

Joss Whedon may direct the pilot episode for S.H.I.E.L.D. should his schedule permit and production begins January. With just over a month left before the start date, expect more casting news for supporting roles (and villain(s)?) in the very near future. His brother Jed Whedon and Jed’s wife Maurissa Tancharoen are helping co-write.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3rd, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: TV Line