The biggest question left at the end of season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was who the director of the organization is and why Coulson had been replaced. As fans have learned in the first two episodes, this was a decision made by Coulson himself to step down and relinquish control. His request in light of all the events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was to make the new director a powered person in their own right. Early reports had Jason O'Mara's identity connected to the Marvel comics as far back as the 1940s, which seemed to limit the amount of characters that were potentially in play.
Prior to the second episode of the season, a new clip gave fans their first look at O'Mara and his first name of Jeffrey. At the time, we speculated that this could give him the identity of Jeffrey Mace aka Patriot - and it turns out that our speculation has proven to be true.
EW has been able to confirm with executive producers Jed Wheedon and Maurissa Tancharoen that O'Mara is in fact playing Patriot. The character is not well known and gives them more creative freedom, while still bringing in comic history to the show. Here is what the showrunners/EPs had to say about this decision:
We are excited to have the Patriot joining our show, a character who has existed in Marvel Comics for 70 years. Jason O’Mara brings a perfect balance of charm, mystery, heroism and humor.
The decision to make Jeffrey Mace the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an exciting one to say the least, especially considering the new take on the character they have decided to go with. Regularly, Patriot is not an enhanced individual in the likes of Daisy or even just super strength such as Captain America. Instead, he was just a regular guy doing what he thought was right. For the purposes of the show however, it will be much different.
As revealed in the episode 'Meet the New Boss', this version of Patriot is an Inhuman, but the full extent of his powers have not yet been shown. From what scenes he has been featured in, super strength is certainly an ability of his, but the Inhuman genes could have given him much more power than just that. Regardless, making a powered person the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. right as it becomes reinstated as a legitimate government agency will further test the boundaries of just how prominent the knowledge of Inhumans are.
It could also be interesting for the future of Daisy Johnson herself, a powered person that becomes the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics as well. If the organization does the job and the public comes to accept a powered person controlling the agency, then it is possible that Daisy could eventually gain that title in the future. For the time being, S.H.I.E.L.D. will seem to only exist on the small screen, even if Samuel L. Jackson thinks it will make a return to the big screen soon. That means that Patriot is now calling the shots, but fans will have to wait and see just how closely he resembles the comic character moving forward.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with ‘Uprising’ Tuesday, October 11 at 10pm on ABC.