Following acting stints on a number of TV series, most recently the sci-fi drama “The Tomorrow People,” the Australian actor arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as one of the show’s original Inhumans, albeit one torn between two worlds. On one hand, he’s capable of manipulating electrical energy in numerous ways; on the other, he’s searching for his place in the world after helping to thwart plans to instigate a war between Inhumans and mankind.
Lincoln’s attempts to forge a normal life in the aftermath of Season 2’s chaos were disrupted when another Inhuman, the newly transformed and relentlessly murderous Lash, repeatedly attacked him. He has since reunited with fellow Inhuman Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and unofficially joined the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. as one of her Secret Warriors.
However, with Hydra intent on freeing a being of immense and dangerous power from its exile on the planet Maveth, Lincoln’s loyalties between friends and race may be tested once again. Ahead of tonight’s episode, Mitchell spoke with CBR about Lincoln’s evolution, his ties to the Inhuman imprisoned on Maveth, his place in S.H.I.E.L.D. and the potential for romantic feelings for Daisy.
CBR News: How much did you know about the Marvel Universe and S.H.I.E.L.D. before landing this gig?
Luke Mitchell: To be perfectly honest, it was relatively limited. Obviously, I had a basic awareness of it, and I was a big fan of the Marvel movies like “The Avengers,” “Thor” and “Iron Man,” but I hadn’t really seen much of “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” mainly because I had been working. I hadn’t really seen much TV at all.
It was a massive education once I got the job. There was so much to find out — not only about the show and catching up on the episodes and finding out who these characters are, but then introducing Inhumans, which is something I wasn’t aware of previously. I went to the local comic book store and bought a bunch of Inhumans comic books and did a bunch of research. It was really fun diving into that.
How did “The Tomorrow People” prepare you for “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?”
There are a lot of similarities between the two shows. You are exposed to imaginary circumstances a lot. Both shows used a lot of special effects and CGI and that sort of thing. There are a lot of similarities when you are on set. You use your powers — on “Tomorrow People,” it was telekinesis; on “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” it’s electricity. It’s the commitment to the make-believe. It is a funny barrier to cross into it. I suppose “The Tomorrow People” did kind of train me in that regard. You obviously have a lot of fun alongside it, but once the cameras are rolling, you have to throw yourself into that world and completely believe it because if you don’t, the audience won’t.
Did it require some trial and error to perfect Lincoln’s moves and poses when he was unleashing electricity?
Of course. It’s an evolving process, especially in “S.H.I.E.L.D.” You only have a certain amount of information. They don’t give you much at all. There was a mention of my powers, and I’m trying to transition Daisy/Skye through it. I’m lifting her up with my powers. The first time I really get to use them in an aggressive fashion, we showed the audience it was more of a proximity thing. I get close and then I’m able to lift someone up and shock them. That slowly evolved to me being able to electrocute people from a distance, which enabled us to show more of the very cool special effects.
This season, they obviously ramped it up to another level entirely, which has been so much fun for me. Like I said, on the day we are filming it, you do these things and have to trust the effects supervisor and director of photography. They are like, “This is what is going to happen when you electrocute this person. This will happen and this will happen and this is how big it is. When you do it this time, it’s a relatively small shock.” I’m kind of blindfolded through this, and you are being guided by everyone else. Obviously, I’m not seeing what is happening on the screen, and then they add the special effects.
Going into Season 3, Lincoln attempted to forge a normal life. However, Lash began hunting down the Inhumans he didn’t consider worthy. Why did he target Lincoln? What made Lash peg him as a bad apple?
That’s a very good question, and something I keep asking myself and I’m a little nervous about. The writers have hinted to me, and to the audience through the script, that Lincoln has had a dark past. We saw a hint of that in episode 3, with him reaching out to his sponsor, John. That alluded to the fact that Lincoln is an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic. Then, toward the end of Season 2, there was a little bit of a reveal between Lincoln and Gordon about how far John went to save me. They haven’t given me anything concrete, but I get the feeling that Lincoln was a pretty troubled youth. I think we’re going to find out pretty soon what that’s all about.
Lincoln did seem to lose it, disobeying orders when S.H.I.E.L.D. was closing in on Lash.
It was one of those times where Lincoln’s emotions got the better of him. He probably wasn’t thinking rationally. He knows this guy is responsible for him not getting any sleep over the last three months, or for however long he’s been on the run for. And there’s the fact Lash had been killing all his friends. He’s literally got nobody left in the world but Daisy. Of course, Lincoln doesn’t know Lash spared Daisy. I really liked it. It was a cool dynamic because it’s like, “Oh, cool. Lincoln is semi-working with the team. Ah, no — he’s not.” It all panned out in the end.
Lincoln has been a lone wolf most of this year. How comfortable does he feel running with S.H.I.E.L.D. now?
Not particularly comfortable, to be honest. There are still a lot of trust issues. The only person he truly trusts is Daisy. She saved his life, and they obviously have a much deeper connection. She’s all he has. She’s the only reason Lincoln is with S.H.I.E.L.D. at this point in time.
How much is he willing to be with S.H.I.E.L.D., is the question? It will be an interesting dynamic that will be explored over the coming episodes in terms of an integration, or not, of Lincoln into S.H.I.E.L.D., and how he develops relationships with other people in the organization.
I think he’s skeptical about Coulson. He’s warming a little bit to Mack, since they fought side by side against Lash. Then again, Mack hates Inhumans. He doesn’t really have a lot to go on in terms of other people to trust. I really liked in the last episode the small arc between Lincoln and May, where they had to deal with Andrew/Lash and Lincoln’s behavior. That was a really nice moment, for May to apologize for Lincoln. Maybe that will go some way to opening the door a little further to make Lincoln feel a little more comfortable or trusting the people in this organization.
Daisy and Lincoln kissed. Should viewers be shipping them? How serious is Lincoln about her?
I think he is very serious about her. If you like Lincoln and Daisy together, definitely ship. There’s more dynamic to explore in their relationship. We’ve definitely filmed some cool stuff. That storyline is not going away anytime soon.
There’s this powerful Inhuman on the planet Simmons was stranded on who sounds destined to lead his/her/its people, and possibly Hydra. How will he/she/it test Lincoln’s allegiances?
I think the question is how much knowledge Lincoln has of this thing, he/she/it. Depending on what it/he/she’s plan is. Because, here’s the thing: His allegiances might be shifting towards S.H.I.E.L.D. — that’s still growing and developing and he’s not sure — but the one thing that divides him is, he’s still an Inhuman. When you are part of something enormous, you obviously have a pull towards it. It will be interesting to see what the writers do with introducing this character they are alluding to, and if Lincoln has anything to do with it. I’m really curious. It’s an interesting area to play in.
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” doesn’t pull punches when it comes to its winter finales. How big is “Maveth?”
It is completely a game-changer. It’s going to send shockwaves through everyone, through the characters and the audience. People are going to need the break to discuss and deal with what happens in the winter finale before we come back.