Actors Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, who play Fitz and Simmons on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” joined Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb for a visit to the CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con to discuss the hit ABC television series with CBR’s Jonah Weiland. They discuss developing onscreen chemistry, managing high expectations for Marvel’s first TV effort, avoiding spoilers, on set shenanigans and the potential of a “S.H.I.E.L.D.” spinoff.
On Developing onscreen chemistry: “We got on from the start,” said Henstridge.
“A lot of it comes down to the writing. And the producers are all so great,” De Castecker said, mock fearing Loeb’s gaze beside him. “Honestly, a lot of it really is in the writing. … A lot of our work is really done for us. It’s really great that we get on so well, as well as everyone in the cast. But, you know, a lot of it’s really there in the scripts so we kind of use that as a very strong framework.”
On managing the pressure of the show’s lofty expectations: “I just took it as we’re coming into a very established universe. There’s a lot of security in that because we’re working with people that are masters at what they do and the Marvel Universe is entrenched in their bones,” Henstridge said. “There is the expectation but I think a lot of it just comes from excitement because everything is so established and we get to be a part of that. In a way, it gave us more freedom to explore within what was already a very safe environment.”
“Jeph really has been part of that world for so long — been part of the comics and TV and Joss [Whedon], obviously, is big part of creating that world from the movies. You’re walking into something that has a really strong framework there. There is a deal of pressure. You don’t want to be that person that walks in and brings everything down, but you feel very safe.”
“It’s funny because, as you know, on Thursday we got picked up for the full season,” said Loeb. “For our first series out of Marvel Television and to have a show that has been as high profile — here’s what we know. We know that the shows that are coming on are better than the shows that we’ve done so far. And that’s not just because we think that, it’s because we all got better at what we do. I think the actors know the roles better, the scripts start to gel a lot more. It’s true in any series, when you watch any television series, the first few episodes you’re still finding your legs and you’re trying to find out where you are. I think that when our audience sees, particularly this next batch of shows, that they’ll just go, “This show just keeps getting better and better.”
On the often difficult task of keeping spoilers from getting out: “Certain things like, for example — spoiler alert — when Sam Jackson as Nick Fury showed up on the second episode, the fact that we managed to keep that under wraps when we have a crew of 400 people,” Loeb said. “We had Sam, obviously, on the jet, so everybody at the airport, all of the flight attendants, everybody on the pilot crew, all those people knew what was going on, and yet, I think it just speaks to the fact that I think our fan base really does want to have the experience of watching the show live and not having it spoiled and really enjoy it.
On whether there is any interest in expanding “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on TV with a spinoff or another extension: “Right now what we’re focused on is making the show the best that it can be,” said Loeb. “We have an amazing writing staff and executive producers led by Jeffrey Bell and Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. And then of course Joss. Gary Brown who is our line producer. It’s just an incredible group of people. But you never want to rest on your laurels and you want to make sure the show keeps getting better and better. Anytime someone starts talking about, “Okay, what’s the next thing?” — We really do look to the movie studio for inspiration and they made “Iron Man,” and then they made “Iron Man 2,” and then when they decided to make “Thor” and “Captain America” — to make two movies in one year is literally doubling their output in a year and so that’s a huge undertaking. That doesn’t mean that we night not have some surprise announcement soon, really right now we’re focused on making sure that “S.H.I.E.L.D.” is up and ready and going.