Is Fran Kranz Playing Speedball In 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'?

Marvel Comics Speedball

Two episodes into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and it's clear that the series is relying more on characters from Marvel Comics. Air Force officer Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) - known for hunting Hulk in the comics - has made it a mission to capture Coulson and end his small ragtag group of S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists, all the while Crusher Creel a.k.a. Absorbing Man has offered the show's cast a unique super-powered foe to contend with.

And there are more notable characters on the way, only a few that have been officially revealed. Next week's episode will see the return of Donnie Gill a.k.a. Blizzard (Dylan Minnette) and episode 5 will introduce Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) who will potentially have a reoccurring role, one that we can easily see crossing over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

We also have a pretty good lead that "soon" fans will meet Speedball, another recognizable super-powered character from the comics who - like Mockingbird - could feasibly have a major long-term role to play in the MCU. This news comes from Fran Kranz, an actor easily recognizable to Joss Whedon fans for his roles in Dollhouse and Cabin In The Woods. Kranz tweeted and then deleted the following last week:

Fran Kranz Speedball Agents of SHIELD Tweet

Robert Baldwin is the real name of of the hero known as Speedball and from the sounds of it we could meet him as early as episode 5 when Mockingbird is introduced. Baldwin gets his kinetic energy powers from the traditional comic book trope of a science experiment gone awry. In the comics, he's a key member of The New Warriors, a team that also included his pal Nova - a character fans were hoping could be introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy.

If the infamous Civil War storyline - a massive crossover event that split the Marvel comic universe in two and had heroes fighting heroes - is ever adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Speedball could be at the center of it. Whether or not Speedball becomes a throwaway character just for the ABC TV series (or he has the potential to pop up in stories for years to come), remains to be seen.

Next week's episode involves S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra both racing to get to Blizzard. The episode will also introduce Agent 33 (Maya Stojan), a S.H.I.E.L.D. member from the comics who happens to be involved with recruiting the hero - and eventual Avengers member - Hercules. We don't believe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will go as deep as introducing Greek mythology from Marvel Comics, but this is another connection that could be built upon down the road if needed.

Fun fact: Kranz' Dollhouse co-star Enver Gjokaj has a lead role in Agent Carter.


More: 5 Things We Want To See In Agents of SHIELD Season 2


Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes

Sources: MarvelONTD (via CBM)

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