[This post contains SPOILERS for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 midseason finale.]
The Fall 2015 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 delivered a dramatic clash between the team and their enemy, the reformed Hydra. The battle effectively switched between action in an ancient British castle and the alien planet Maveth. The episode drew together and resolved several of the various storylines covered in the first half of season 3 and brought a deadly conclusion to a key character. In typical S.H.I.E.L.D. style this conclusion came with a powerful twist, resulting in the surprise creation of a new villain.
Although little has been revealed about the new powerful alien/human hybrid, many fans have formed theories about how the villain formerly known as Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) and the mysterious Maveth "Beast" would tie into the comic book material. However, one of the show's stars has just let this intriguing information slip, dropping the name of a familiar Secret Warriors character.
This metamorphosis is not the first time that Ward's character has undergone a massive change, as he was revealed to be secretly working for Hydra at the end of season 1, taking on the role of nemesis instead of teammate. He has played a major part in several of the team's conflicts, his most recent betrayal being the revenge killing of Coulson's (Greg Clark) love interest Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) -- an act which sent the Director on a mission to finish his onetime protege for good, leaving him for dead in the vicinity of a body-snatching alien entity looking for a new host.
CBR reported that Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Agent Jemma Simmons on the show, has discussed Ward's transformation at Wizard World Portland today and revealed the comic book roots of his new identity -- a Secret Warriors character named Hive. With regard to the show's constantly transforming circumstances, Henstridge said:
"...and now Ward is Hive and takes on the memories of people he's killed, so that's going to have some interesting situations."
Within the Secret Warriors comic, Hive is a parasite collective genetically engineered by Hydra that increase the strength and absorb the memories of a human host body. Henstridge's comment suggests the show has adapted this ability to fit with their interpretation of the Maveth creature and create a more compelling plot device for this new Inhuman character.
With Daisy's (Chloe Bennet) Inhuman team now official, a new villain merged with an old one seems a fitting adversary for the show's narrative going forward into the season's second half. As Ward and Daisy have arguably had the most complex of the series' character arcs, it would be satisfying to explore the new conflicts Ward's transformation will bring for these characters and their complicated history. His character has always been a moral grey area and the ability to absorb memories could be a dangerous weapon and/or a device for gaining a conscience.
Although teased in a recent promo, it is not yet known how much of Ward's personality will be present in his new form and where the creators intend to go with this plotline - but seeing where the character's origin comes from, this is a tantalizing new development for fans waiting for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s return.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 at 9pm on ABC.