We learned a week ago that filming on Marvel and Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series will be getting underway in two months, with Clark Gregg reprising his role as the intrepid Phil Coulson from 'Phase 1' of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, so far, it appears that "His first name is Agent" Coulson is going to be the glue linking Whedon's television show with the greater MCU - as S.H.I.E.L.D. employees such as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) are going to be preoccupied appearing in 'Phase 2' installments such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
While a cameo appearance from someone like Jackson and/or Johansson may still be feasible, the S.H.I.E.LD. series will focus primarily around a core group of four new agents. Today, we can report that two more of those central roles have been filled, in addition to the casting of Stargate: Universe alum Ming-Na Wen.
THR reports that the newest additions to the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series are (like Wen) lesser-knowns; namely, Elizabeth Henstridge and Ian De Caestecker. The former appeared in a couple episodes of Hollyoaks and J.J. Abrams' Shelter TV pilot-turned movie. Caestecker, by comparison, served as the lead in the BBC series The Fades and has earned a Best Actor nod at this weekend's Scottish BAFTAs for his role in Young James Harriot. Here's a breakdown of their S.H.I.E.L.D. characters (courtesy of our Rob Keyes):
Agent Leo Fitz (Caestecker) & Agent Jemma Simmons (Henstridge)
- Also known as ”Fitz-Simmons”
- Inseparable like siblings.
- Attractive nerds.
- Fitz is weapons/tech specialist.
- Simmons is science buff.
So far, the diverse casting and selection of potential breakout stars over better-established names for S.H.I.E.L.D. is in keeping with cult Whedon-created series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly (though, Whedon's not-so-well-loved Dollhouse series incorporated more familiar faces into the mix). Of course, the Marvel property doesn't need much help selling itself now; hence, it stands to reason that people such as Wen, Henstridge, and Caestecker truly are being cast for their combination of acting chops and looks.
Joss is putting S.H.I.E.L.D. together with assistance from his brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen (who've also worked on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, and Spartacus). The latter pair will co-run the show after Joss shifts his attention in full to The Avengers 2; time permitting, he will direct the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot before then.
More on S.H.I.E.L.D. as the story develops.