"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is reaching the climax of its fourth season, but before it returns to ABC this Tuesday, the show had the spotlight on Saturday afternoon at WonderCon in Anaheim, in a panel led by Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb.
On the panel, along with Loeb: Executive producers Jeffrey Bell, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, plus cast members Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Mallory Jansen, Natalia Cordova-Buckley and Jason O'Mara.
Moving right to fan Q&A, the first audience member at the microphone asked about the potential of the Defenders characters from Marvel's Netflix shows meeting the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "I'm not programmed to answer that question right now, but I appreciate it," Loeb answered.
The next fan asked about Brett Dalton's return to the show. Bennet said the cast loved having their "dear Brett" back, and that it was a nice "throwback."
The third fan to ask a question appeared to be a plant, and asked if it was possible to screen an episode (which, of course was always listed as part of the panel) -- and with that, Tuesday's installment was shown to the audience.
Tuesday's episode -- which takes place entirely within "The Framework," with each characters in very different positions in life -- had some fairly significant developments, so be warned for potential spoilers from this point on, though we'll do our best to mitigate it. Worth noting, the episode included a text tribute at the end of the recently departed Bill Paxton, who played John Garrett in the show's first season.
Returning to Q&A directly after the screening, a fan had a question for De Caestecker about his character's altered role in the episode, due to The Framework. He said he'd call Brett Dalton for his take on the subject, which brought Dalton -- in person -- to the panel. "I finally get to have the hero arc that Grant Ward deserves," Dalton told the crowd.
Asked about the many different iterations the show's characters, Melinda May in particular, have seen, Wen said, "Often, it's confusing for me to try and figure out. There's a mind-f with The Framework." (She indeed said "mind-f.")
Next question: "Will there be a season five?" "Let's put it this way: We certainly hope so," Loeb answered, though made it clear it was up to ABC.
Cordova-Buckley noted that it was her first convention, and expressed her appreciation for "being able to extend our gratitude to all of you for being so supportive." It was also Jansen's, who said she's felt "very welcomed," both at the convention and as a new addition to the show.
At the end of the panel, Gregg told the crowd how nice it was to see "original gangster" Brett Dalton back on the show, and his gratitude for new additions, like O'Mara and Jansen, for deepening the series. "That's the real strength, that's why we're still here after 88 [episodes]," Gregg said, also complimenting the show's writers for having "superhero-sized balls." "Our writers have really blown it away this year."