Marvel Studios already has everyone talking this week with the release of the first trailer for next year's Iron Man 3. That film, of course, will follow the events of The Avengers and kick-off Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe.
However, the studio is also moving forward with its S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, the pilot for which will be co-written and directed by Joss Whedon. Fans are still reeling from the announcement that Clark Gregg would reprise his role as Agent Phil Coulson in the series, despite his fate in The Avengers. While we still don't know exactly how Coulson will factor into the series (as discussed in the latest Screen Rant Underground podcast), we do know who's going to be joining him onscreen.
According to Deadline, Whedon has cast Ming-Na Wen as one of the leading stars of the S.H.I.E.L.D. series. The actress - known for her television roles on ER, Stargate Universe, and Eureka - will play Agent Melinda May, described as "an ace pilot, a weapons expert and a soldier who can - and has - gone beyond the call of duty."
This is reportedly the same character referenced as Agent Althea Rice in the character descriptions that were revealed a few weeks ago. According to that character description, May also goes by the nickname "The Cavalry" and has been "damaged from previous combat experience." It almost sounds as though the character will be haunted by her past in a fashion similar to Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) on Whedon's Firefly.
Alas, Ming-Na's character - as is the case with the rest of the announced lead characters - is an original creation for the S.H.I.E.L.D. series. The prospect of a series set in the Marvel universe naturally lends itself to include heroes and villains that fans might recognize from the comics, but it looks like Whedon's series is committed to not relying on the decades of Marvel comics for inspiration. Of course, this could upset some fans, but it may ultimately make for a more satisfying viewing experience. After all, even fan-favorite Coulson bore no comic book representation prior to his appearance in Iron Man.
Are you looking forward to seeing what Ming-Na brings to the role? Or would you have preferred that Whedon cast one of his previous collaborators in S.H.I.E.L.D.? Let us know in the comments.