"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is about to take a walk on the dark side as it embraces an alternate-universe where Hydra is good and S.H.I.E.L.D. is bad. In this world that Radcliffe built, each of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" main characters will be living a life without regret. It's strange to think that someone's greatest regret was actually protecting the world from Hydra, which is something the series co-creators and executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen addressed this weekend at WonderCon.
"It’s just a refreshing opportunity to twist everything on it’s head and see our characters play a version of themselves that they never have," Tancharoen said to press over the weekend. "I think across the board for actors and the writers, it’s been fun." Whedon also commented on the new arc for the show and said, "It’s a new muscle. We’ve done a lot of them. 80 stories is a lot, so to go to Clark [Gregg] and say, 'ya, you’re a school teacher,' he says, ‘oh great, that’ll be fun, that’ll be good,' -- we definitely felt it in the writer’s room too."
One significant moment that will be explored over the next arc is the Cambridge Event. While Whedon and Tancharoen didn't give any concrete details about what happens in Cambridge, Whedon did say, "You will learn in 4.16 [tonight’s episode ‘What If…’] what the Cambridge Incident is. The basic premise is, Radcliffe built this place and wanted to give them a utopia, so he fixed one regret. That seems to have had some butterfly effect that has changed things."
A ripple effect that created a modern dystopia is no small thing. Who's fixed regret caused the rise of Hydra? Was it May's? Was it Coulson's? Tancharoen weighed in and said that these sweeping changes will actually demonstrate the nature of small changes. "He's [Radcliffe] taking away your regret, but does that just shape who you are as a person, does that shape the world?" We looked at Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this year and addressed whether or not one small change in his life could actually transform the whole world -- maybe it actually did inside the Framework. To that, Tancharoen said, "We'll see."
One of those characters ripples is bringing back Grant Ward, the Hydra agent who perished on Maveth in Season 3. Ward has already been featured in tonight's episode trailer and confirmed that his character will be different from the Ward we've seen before. If Ward is back, could other fallen characters be back too? "Who are your favorite characters," asked Tancharoen. Jasper Sitwell, Victoria Hand, Deathlok, Flowers -- these are a few that come to mind... "There will be some of them, there will be some of your greatest hits," Whedon confirmed, "in the Framework anything can happen."
Check out the trailer and episode description for tonight's newest episode "What If..." below:
"What If…" – Hail the New World Order!
Daisy and Simmons uncover secrets and lies in a world gone mad. With Hydra in control, they are our only hope to save everyone, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, APRIL 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, Henry Simmons as Agent Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie and John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe.
Guest starring are Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Mallory Jansen as Aida, Manish Dayal as Vijay Nadeer, Brandon Morales as Agent Pinsky, Taj Speights as Burnell, Chad Wood as Agent Slate, Jade Harlow as Julia Price, Jim Hanna as guy, Heather Olt as woman, Jason Medwin as Hydra guard, Richard Pierre-Louis as Hydra agent, Andrew McGinnis as Hydra agent #1 and Skyler James as Chris Adler. “What If…” was written by DJ Doyle and directed by Oz Scott.
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." returns tonight at 10pm ET on ABC.