[SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 ahead.]
While many viewers and critics felt that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to an underwhelming finish by the end of season 3, the series has maintained steady if unspectacular ratings and was nonetheless renewed for a fourth season. For its part, season 4 just picked up renewed interest with the announcement that the season will feature a recurring role for a new incarnation of Marvel superhero Ghost Rider.
Now, it's been revealed that the season will also feature another big change for one of the series' main characters.
EW is reporting that executive producer Jed Whedon said she'll have a new love interest when the show returns: “People find solace in other places, and they have to move on.” Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's third season started out with everything looking up for Chloe Bennet's Daisy Johnson - aka The Agent Formerly Known As Skye: She'd learned her true name, discovered her origins as an Inhuman, mastered her powers and become a full-fledged agent with high-level clearance and her own team of Inhuman backup troops to lead. But by the end, all that was in ruins: Her mind had been taken over by an Inhuman supervillain, multiple allies had been seriously injured or killed, her powers had been turned against S.H.I.E.L.D. and a time jump at the end of the season 3 finale showed her as a fugitive on the run while her mentor, Phil Coulson, had lost his Director's post.
Perhaps most grimly of all, both of Daisy's onetime love interests had been killed, with HYDRA turncoat Grant Ward stranded on an alien world only to have his body hijacked by the parasitic Hive and electricity-powered Inhuman Lincoln giving up his own life to stop Hive's subsequent assault on Earth. And while her character has been defined by much more than her relationships, seeking out connection (romantic and otherwise) has defined much of her journey.
Exactly where (or rather whom) Daisy will be moving on to remains to be seen. S.H.I.E.L.D's fanbase is devoted to "shipping" its various cast members in almost every possible combination, and popular movements exist calling for Bennet to be paired up with everyone from Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson or Henry Simmons' Mack to Elizabeth Henstridge's Simmons or Ming-Na Wen's Melinda May. It's also entirely possible she'll be paired with a new character.
One other possibility is that the new love interest and Ghost Rider will be one and the same, since traditionally Ghost Rider exists in a human form when not using (or being used by) his powers. The current incarnation will be Robbie Reyes, who drives a muscle car instead of a motorcycle and will be portrayed by actor Gabriel Luna.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 premiere September 20, 2016 in its new timeslot, 10:00 PM EST on ABC.
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