As “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” heads into the final episodes of its freshman season, even some of the most critical viewers appear to have been impressed with the most recent run of episodes, which led up to and have spun out from the Marvel Cinematic Universe game-changing events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” So when CBR News ran into Clark Gregg while out and about in Hollywood this week, we took the opportunity to discuss the last several weeks’ developments — and ask for a little insight into the episodes yet to air.
Viewers have been happy with the show’s recent run of twists and turns, and no one’s been more pleased with the fan reaction than Agent Coulson himself. Gregg expresses the excitement he and the rest of the cast are feeling now that the series’ long game is coming into sharp focus, the ripple effect of “The Winter Soldier,” a hint of things to come, his Marvel gateway drug and whether the real-life Mrs. Gregg — “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey — may one day suit up for “S.H.I.E.L.D.”
CBR: I’ve got to say, last week was another great episode among a steady string of several. Did you guys feel like you were hitting a certain groove at some point? Were you feeling it kick into another gear as it was happening?
Clark Gregg: Um — yes. It’s hard, in the middle of it, to feel exactly what each episode is going to be like, because so much of it kind of gets done in the editing. Especially in our show — the VFX and the way fights cut together, but yeah, definitely at a certain point, when some of the twists started to happen, when some of the real kind of ‘reason for being’ that the show has started to click. Now, it’s really exciting. It’s really fun to kind of feel some of the feedback from the fans and how much they’re starting to click with what’s going on.
Do you feel that knowing what was happening in “Captain America,” and how that was going to affect the show, was that a turning point in some way? Because I would have thought you guys would have freaked out when you were told how that was going to go.
I had a hint when we started. I knew from some of my pals in the Cinematic Universe that S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to come under assault in “The Winter Soldier.” I didn’t quite know how much, but you know, that’s where the great drama comes from, when everything is turned upside down. I had hopes that that would be a really great thing for our show. I won’t prepared for how much Marvel, the Whedons and Jeff Bell and the writers would capitalize on it. I think when people see how much the events of “Cap” are at play in the last two episodes of this show, it’s going to be really exciting. As someone who’s kind of been a Marvel fan since I was a kid, I’m really excited. I saw a little bit of the finale the other day, and I just got chills. [Laughs] It’s very exciting for fans of the movie, I think.
What can you hint at for the last two episodes?
We’ve got Agent Garrett, the psychopathic murderer who seems to have some parts of him made of metal — only in Marvel. And really, S.H.I.E.L.D. essentially destroyed Coulson and his team, [who are] on the run. I think there’s a lot to accomplish in the last episodes in terms of settling those scores.
I guess the thing I would say is, I think they might have picked the wrong moment to mess with Phil Coulson. This guy’s been through a lot, starting with being stabbed during “The Avengers,” and nothing’s going right for him. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to find a way to kind of give back as well as he’s been receiving.
The plotline with Amy Acker as the cellist was very moving. Will we see her again?
I think we’ll see her again. I may not be at liberty to say when!
Have you read the script for “Avengers: Age of Ultron?”
I have not personally read it. I have asked a lot of questions of some people who have. They’re all very excited about the script. Joss writes a script, and the actors get really excited.
Would it be too meta for your wife Jennifer Grey to appear on “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” or are you looking for a part for her?
It’s a really good question. It can be a little meta. We don’t want to take people out of it, but we’ve talked about it a bunch. And there’s a great hunger on the part of the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” creators to find just the right character, and knowing her, it would be someone with some powers.
What was your Marvel gateway drug, that first comic book that really hooked you?
Okay: My brother came home with “Iron Fist.” It was in the ’70s, and we were really into kung fu, Bruce Lee. And this guy Danny Rand was a kung fu hero who was American with these tremendous kung fu powers — and that got me, there. Then I found this guy Warlock, and Tony Stark, with some stuff drawn by this guy Jim Starlin. I got a little too into it. In fact, my mom sent me some of my old notebooks, recently, from a math class, and it’s all drawings of Warlock.
A collection that era of “Iron Fist” is on my bedside table literally right now, because I never read it back then. And underneath is the Starlin “Warlock” collection, which is awesome.
Really? I went back to a con — when I could still go to them — and got those comics again, the exact ones. In plastic!