As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gears up for the fourth season, the secret organization itself will undergo a big change when the series returns. After the revelation that Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury promoted the once presumed dead Phil Coulson to be the new director. Unfortunately for Coulson, his time as director has come to an end following the organization's tough few years in the public eye. Now that the Sokovia Accords have been implemented (post-Captain America: Civil War), S.H.I.E.L.D. will be moving back into the light and with that comes a brand new director.
With Coulson (Clark Gregg) now demoted to a regular field agent, Jason O'Mara has been added to the cast to play the brand new, mysterious director. So far details have been sparse on who he is actually playing, but the actor recently teased what side he could fall on, interactions with other characters, and how he managed to get a role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
THR recently interviewed the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director himself, and there are still plenty of questions surrounding the identity of his character. Marvel is notorious for keeping things a secret and mandating that the actors not reveal anything prematurely, so O'Mara could not say too much outside of teasing what is to come. Even though he is going to be the director, the actor says that the future of the character could change completely.
"He could become a villain. I honestly don't know. I don't know where it's headed. I also don't know how long it will last. Usually you go into something knowing how many episodes it will be for, but this is open-ended. It could be good, it could be bad, it could be hero, it could be villain. It could be anything. If the fans hate me and if the writers hate me, maybe I'll be four episodes and done."
When he was first announced to be joining the cast, the only character information we received was that his character had ties to the 1940s in Marvel comics. This certainly limits the amount of characters that he could ultimately be playing, but he will not be exactly the same as he was in the comics. Instead, O'Mara promises that he will be just as complex and modern as the rest of the show.
"He has roots in Marvel history. We know that he's out there already. He pre-exists. But no doubt [the writers] will do their own modern spin on it, as they do. No doubt he'll be riddled with flaws, as they do. But they don't tell us much further than the script we just received. I like the secrecy. It's frustrating as an actor sometimes because the more information you have, the more you have to work with. But I do like this idea that stories should be surprising. It's also a good marketing tool to not even release the name of the director of SHIELD. It builds the mystery so I'll go along with it."
As the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., whoever O'Mara is playing will certainly be interacting with a good portion, if not all, of the agents. One of the most interesting dynamics will be how well he and Coulson work together, as it must not be easy for Coulson to be the one taking orders again. O'Mara teased that he has already filmed scenes with Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and will likely have many more, but can only hope to encounter the new Ghost Rider during his tenure.
"Obviously, the relationship between my character and Coulson is going to be huge. It's a power struggle kind of dynamic there. It's going to be huge and important. And of course, how my character interacts with the entire team and their dynamic, but even their goals and purpose as a team, that's going to be really interesting to see as that changes, if that changes. And I had a scene with Elizabeth [Henstridge, who plays Simmons] this week and she is so funny and charming and sweet. My character is going to lean on her quite a bit to make sense of a lot of the science stuff because he's new and needs it to be turned into laymen's language.
"I haven't had any scenes with Robbie Reyes yet but maybe I will have scenes with him down the line, which would just be so cool. I'm just enjoying all that Ghost Rider stuff as a fan right now. But it's conceivable: I could be in a scene with Ghost Rider!"
The decision for O'Mara to join the show was not something he had to thing long and hard about. Unlike other negotiations Marvel has had where it goes on for months, he was able to finalize his spot on the show about as quick as he could. In fact, the day he learned Marvel had interest in him for the role was the same day that he found out another project of his was not getting picked up to series.
"It all happened really fast, like in 24 hours. I talked to [head of Marvel TV] Jeph Loeb, I didn't have a script to read, I watched some of last season, they made an offer, I accepted, I signed a nondisclosure agreement. It was done and dust in 24 hours. It felt great."
There is just about two months left before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns, and it will be interesting to see how long they let the mystery about O'Mara's identity stay. Once episode synopses start to be unveiled, O'Mara's character name could be included in those press releases. Then again, Marvel and ABC could also decide to keep it under wraps and reveal it in the season premiere itself.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 premieres Tuesday, September 20 @10pm on ABC.