Marvel keeps adding adjunct pieces to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., tabbing comedian, actor, and nerd conscience Patton Oswalt to play the part of Agent Eric Koenig for a guest spot on the ABC series.
Oswalt, whose appearance will surely excite hardcore fans since he is one of our own, follows in the footsteps of other fan favorites like Aliens actor Bill Paxton as John Garrett and Heroes alum Adrian Pasdar as Glenn Talbot, but he surely isn't coming aboard for buzz alone.
Oswalt is an accomplished character actor who has delivered poignant performances in Big Fan, Young Adult, and a guest spot on the Joss Whedon produced Dollhouse. (Oswalt also wrote a one-shot Firefly comic book in 2010.) He's very much an asset on any project, and it seems like he is as giddy as a child to get the chance to be in this particular project, though it seems as if he is also a little bit conflicted.
Here's Oswalt telling Marvel.com about the blessing and the curse of being on a Marvel show:
“When you’re in something, now you know what’s coming. A big part of me is still a big consumer of this stuff. I have friends now that write some of the comics, and they’ll send me issues, [but] I like having to wait until every Wednesday and get it once a month. That’s sort of part of the story for me. It’s that push-pull of, I want to know stuff now, but I also like the waiting is part of the fun. [Marvel’s] doing so much stuff [though], and now with the Netflix [deal], there’s always going to be enough to wait for and rub my hands together for. That will never be a problem.”
Speaking of that push-pull, Oswalt revealed his losing campaign to avoid asking about spoilers while on set before offering up a bit of praise for Marvel - though, at this point, it seems pretty obvious that he's just buttering them up in an effort to get Koenig into the Star Wars/Marvelverse amalgam film that Oswalt pitched on Parks and Recreation.
“They introduced Agent Garrett, who’s one of my favorite Marvel characters, and I kept asking them on the set, ‘is he going to be an android [like in the comics]?’ [...] They’re just like, ‘you’ll have to wait and see.’ They clearly have plans. This is not the mid-‘90s anymore where they just handed comic book properties to anybody, they’re thinking I’m making a comic book [TV series] in this awesome universe and I don’t want to mess it up. And that’s a different motivation than what was happening in the ‘90s, and that’s real cool. I’m glad that changed, that they’re giving them to guys that welcome the tension of, ‘how do I make popular entertainment that still acknowledges this big fanbase that cares about this universe? And if I’m going to change things, can I do it in a way that makes them go oh wow?’”
With regard to Koenig, Oswalt didn't offer up much of anything at all, but he did joke a bit about his research for the role.
“When they first told me the character’s name, I’ll admit the first thing I did is I went on Wikipedia and looked up the M.O.D.O.K. character to see if Koenig was maybe his name before he became M.O.D.O.K., but it wasn’t,” laughs Oswalt. “They keep on talking about the Clairvoyant in the show and I’m like, ‘is that M.O.D.O.K.? Am I M.O.D.O.K.?”
In the comics, Koenig is a Nick Fury ally, but also a former Nazi who later switched allegiances and joined the Howling Commandos. He was also a spy at one point. As for Koenig's role on the show, there is nothing to indicate if Oswalt's character will stick around for more than one episode.
It's fair to wonder if his appearance will be sparked by whatever (if any) changes come to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but we just don't know. Someone of Oswalt's caliber isn't someone you'd burn off for a minor, one-off role though, right?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on ABC on Tuesdays @8PM