Recent episodes of “Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.” have meant major changes for both Daisy Johnson and Grant Ward. Daisy — formerly known as Skye, now kind of known as Quake — is coming into her own both as an agent and as an Inhuman, with a new romance in her life and a sense of purpose that’s expected to lead her to forming her own band of Secret Warriors; Ward is… well, Ward’s dead, at the hand of Director Coulson, but the duplicitous agent’s body currently serves as the vessel bearing the malevolent otherworldly being known as Hive.
During a recent break in shooting on the set of the series, actors Chloe Bennet and Brett Dalton joined visiting press including CBR News to provide a glimpse into the current goings-on in their characters’ heads, including Daisy’s plans for the Secret Warriors and Ward’s goo-filled new reality.
On the consequences of Daisy and Lincoln hooking up:
Chloe Bennet: I think with any relationship, if you work together and you’re in a relationship, I think whether you’re an Inhuman or in S.H.I.E.L.D. or you’re [showrunners] Marissa [Tancharoen] and Jed [Whedon], I think there’s going to be problems just because you’re with each other all the time. And I think it gets a little bit bizarre because I’m more of the leader of the team. Women in the relationship are usually wearing the pants. I think Daisy probably wears the pants.
Overall, it’s probably a good thing. Being Inhuman and being a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, it’s not just work, it’s so personal because it’s her blood, it’s who she is. I think having him on the team helps her open her eyes to seeing other aspects because he’s been an Inhuman longer and he’s kind of not as sensitive to it or used to, maybe, the criticism and is able to handle it in a less emotional way, so I think maybe it helps her a little bit.
On whether the seemingly straightforward villain Hive will have shades of grey qualities like Grant Ward:
â€¨Brett Dalton: It’s always a conversation between your performance and the writers. I don’t know if I agree that he’s a straightforward villain. He’s certainly a reinvention of the character, but you will see he actually does have a philosophy about what the world could be now that he’s there, and it’s quite inclusive, actually.
It’s not about taking over the world and doing all of that stuff, as cool as that is to do. There actually is something there that might be, I would say, in a shade of grey. But it is a combination between the two.
On whether Coulson told Daisy off-camera that he’d (seemingly) killed Ward:
â€¨Bennet: I actually don’t know that! Did it happen off-camera? I think it happened off-camera. I think word may have gotten out, but I don’t know if Daisy and Coulson have really had a conversation about it. That hasn’t played out yet on camera. I think it has gone without being said, a little bit. That’s how I have been playing it.
On shooting that creepy Hive goo scene:
â€¨Dalton: I was all for it, up until — I was all for it. You know, I’m a good sport about all these things. “Put me in, coach. Let’s do another!”
â€¨Bennet: On paper, you’re like, ‘That’s awesome!’
â€¨Dalton: “Guys, this is the best idea you’ve ever had. This is amazing. Let’s do it.” And all throughout the day, they’re telling me how they’re warming up this goo and they had vats of it and they had different viscosity for different ones. So there were three ones. There was one that was really slippery, one that was kind of thick. Anyway, it spreads a lot. So what I ended up having to do is they put a bucket of this stuff on me and immediately I wanted to be in my trailer.
Bennet: How long did it take to get off?
â€¨Dalton: Oh, just forever. It took forever.
â€¨Bennet: Did it get up your butt?
â€¨Dalton: It got everywhere you’d imagine goo would go. It got everywhere, it was crazy. And it took forever to wash off. And what I was going to say with that is, I was in the middle of this pool, and they can’t help me out, so I’m putting this stuff on my head and my body, and it’s going too quickly or not quickly enough — it wasn’t just something that was one of those inconvenient things. This was as close to a nightmare as I’ve had on this set. But I’m glad that it came off well.
On the prospects for Daisy’s Secret Warriors teammates:
Bennet: I think it’s really just about being wary about who she picks for this team. Obviously, they have a few trust issues with some people.â€¨
Dalton: Doesn’t seem to affect you hooking up with Lincoln!â€¨
Bennet: We were on a break!â€¨
Dalton: I’m just a guy, standing in front of a girl…â€¨
Bennet: Murdering her friends and family!â€¨
Dalton: Telling her how much I love her.â€¨
Bennet: I think it just makes it harder to find people who are going to be able to fit the team vibe, the stress levels, and want to have the same mission that S.H.I.E.L.D. does — and weeding out the bad out people. But these [actors], they’re happy, I’m like, ‘I can’t wait for the next frickin’ table read,’ because we’ve got 22 episodes a season to fill. They’re not going to stay — I’m a little nervous about certain relationships.
â€¨On the possibility that Daisy’s team may ultimately split from Coulson’s:
Bennet: Daisy starts forming her own little team, and she kind of becomes the leader of her own little team, and Coulson is obviously the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I think, as much as they might butt heads about certain issues, they definitely balance each other out. It’s the same reason Mack and Daisy are partners: because he was the most wary of anything kind of supernatural, superhuman powers. He was like, ‘What is going on?’
â€¨Dalton: Yeah, he’s Dana Scully and you’re Fox Mulder.
â€¨Bennet: Exactly, so to put him with someone who is Inhuman, I thought, was a great move on the writers’ part and also a great way to balance out opinions and keep both of them in check. And I’d like to think that both Coulson and Daisy know that. But I think the loyalty, overall, isn’t necessarily to S.H.I.E.L.D., but it’s really to Coulson. And I think from the beginning it’s really about their connection, and that’s why she’s really a part of S.H.I.E.L.D.. And I think that’s what she believes in: her relationship with Coulson.
On reinventing Dalton’s performance as Ward for a third time with this new context:
Dalton: I just keep going back to how lucky I am that I’ve had the chance to play three separate characters, essentially, on as many seasons of our show. I don’t know what’s happening fourth season, but we imagine it’s either a dinosaur or a robot.
â€¨Bennet: What did we say yesterday?
â€¨Dalton: A dinosaur robot.
â€¨Bennet: A robot dinosaur is what he’ll be playing next year.
â€¨Dalton: I mean, the good news is that the writers have infinite faith in my abilities, which is great.
â€¨Bennet: Well, as they should, because you’ve really done a great job. You know, we get attached to your character and you really feel for who you’re playing because you’re with them so much of the time. And you’ve done such a good job of reinventing him and taking on the mannerisms of each new version of Ward.
â€¨Dalton: This one was an opportunity that I really wanted to take to kind of reinvent the character because he — as I’ve said before, this is a conversation with the writers, and this is a comic book character that has existed in the comic before. So this is kind of an ongoing conversation. It’s our version of Hive.
Obviously, I’m not walking around with all the tentacle stuff. I am in the inside, but not on the outside. So, I really took this as an opportunity as a character who looks like Grant Ward, and is walking around in Grant Ward’s body, but is not Grant Ward at all. He’s not fueled by the same things that Grant Ward is, he didn’t have a troubled childhood–
â€¨Bennet: Did Hive even have a childhood?
â€¨Dalton: Yeah, I don’t even know if he had a childhood. But he’s used to being worshipped as a god on Maveth. All of these things are completely different than Ward, so I couldn’t just have a caved-in chest and call it a day. I wanted to change the whole thing, and thankfully the writers have been really responsive about that and allowed me the creative freedom to do that because I guess maybe I’ve proven myself before. Or they’re just crazy and just gave me carte blanche, I don’t know! I shudder to imagine what’s going to happen in Season Four.
Selfishly I certainly hope that they will find some way to keep me on the show, some other version. I don’t really know. I will say this guy’s existed for a really long time and I’m sure has had many an enemy along the way and seemed to have survived all of those threats until now. So, I think he’s a worthy foe. He’s not just a villain of the week.
On whether they’d choose Team Cap and Team Iron Man as “Captain America: Civil War” looms:
â€¨Dalton: I’d have to side with Cap, if you’re talking about Brett. Hive, I don’t know where he stands with that whole thing. It could just be something like, ‘Oh, the humans are fighting again.’ I think he’s even above that. This guy’s been around for centuries, so he, I think, has a scope and a perspective that is well beyond what a normal person would have. Even a century to him is, like, nothing.
â€¨Bennet: I’d be Team Cap. I think because she’s Inhuman. Again, it’s one of those things where we’ve had some tough, hard-hitting scenes about what does accepting people with powers or mutants or Inhumans, what does that mean? And we kind of equated it something like the LGBT community. You know, they’re people that lot of people might not understand, and some people don’t agree with it, but it’s who they are and it’s the way they were born. It’s their blood.
But at the same time, it brings in the debate over guns because these are also people who have very dangerous powers, and they can be dangerous, obviously. So it’s a really, really tricky situation and both sides have the right to their opinion, but it might not always be — one side doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right. I think it’s just, it’s not black and white. So it’s a little tricky, which is hard to play sometimes and it’s hard to figure out where we stand, but I think we’ve kind of accepted that there is no black and white. Picking sides isn’t as easy as it might seem.
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.