For all intents and purposes, Hydra agent Grant Ward is dead.
During an excursion on the planet Maveth, Ward was killed by Agent Coulson, and his deceased corpse was possessed by the Inhuman entity called Hive. Now on Earth, Hive has been utilizing its abilities to drain life forces and control Inhumans -- including S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy -- to amass an Inhuman army in order to carry out his master plan. However, in tonight's episode, "The Singularity," Fitz and Simmons pursue a way to free Daisy from Hive's influence -- and possibly eliminate him at the same time.
Actor Brett Dalton, who has seen his character switch allegiances as well as minds over the past three seasons of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," spoke with CBR News about Ward's transformation into Hive. Dalton got into how much of Ward still remains locked up deep in Hive's consciousness, the Inhuman god's interest in Daisy, and what to expect is he once again closes out the season with no-holds-barred fight scene.
CBR News: Last season, Ward emerged as "Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" resident bogeyman, but not quite at this current level. How does it feel to be the show's Voldemort?
Brett Dalton: First of all, you're saying the name that shall never be named!
It does feel good. What's so great about this character is, he started off as one of the good guys, as one of the original team. Here we are, coming full circle, with him being on the completely opposite side of that. He's not just one of the bad guys -- he's the bad guy! He is the embodiment of, some would say, evil. That's an insane journey to have. Obviously, I didn't know about any of this journey that I was going to have when I first got the job. I'm not sure if the writers did, either, but it's been fun. I feel like I've gotten to do three characters. It's a remarkable experience. That's not something I would have had on a doctor or lawyer show.
While Hive still looks and sounds like Ward, there are distinct differences. How did you go about shaping that performance and separating the two characters in terms of voice, movement and nuance?
I took this as a huge opportunity to do something different. It's not another aspect of Grant Ward that's being revealed -- this is literally his body being used by another entity. I knew I could take the change pretty far, though I still had to look like Grant Ward and sound like Grant Ward, at least from the neck up. The guy has been around for centuries, so he's all-powerful. He doesn't need to throw his weight around all the time. We were talking about how people in power don't need to convince everybody of their power, it's assumed. He doesn't speak very loud, and the way he carries himself -- it's sort of built-in with the cost. Obviously, that's going to help your posture as well. There's a movement that we tried to capture as somebody who is completely in control all the time. In fact, he's above his emotions. He's almost never operating from an emotional place, unlike Grant. It's a big risk. Even when I was doing it, I was like, "Is this going to work? I'm used to playing Grant Ward."
One of the things Hive and Ward have in common, is they can see how all the moves on the board affect other things. Ward was called into Coulson's team as a risk assessment manager because he could see all of the moves. Hive can do the same, simply because he looks at things on a macro-level. He sees how all these things connect.
Last episode, we saw Hive recruit Daisy. How much of that was came from whatever remains of Ward down deep as opposed to merely furthering Hive's agenda?
It's a combination. Ward is still in there, somewhere, and must be kicking and screaming and pushing Hive towards Daisy. Also, I think Daisy is strategically a really important chip on the table. Everybody cares about her so much, it makes Coulson do crazy things, it makes the S.H.I.E.L.D. members do wild, unpredictable things, and it gives Hive all the power. "If I have Daisy, then I have the upper hand." We're going to see how that goes, but I think it is a combination of, one side, having Hive's strategist mind and then, on the other side, Grant Ward is somewhere in there, screaming to get back to somebody who knows him.
It's cool knowing that, at the end of the day, even though you are going to say some crazy stuff because of this Inhuman connection, this person will do or say whatever you want. In a strange way, it's like family. You have a safety net with family where you get to be who you want to be. At the end of the day, they don't really have a choice. They are family. There's still a connection. Lincoln has mentioned how all these Inhumans have a purpose. Hive finds his purpose has to do with somehow connecting all of the Inhumans. What we see is Hive's attempt to fulfill what he thinks is his destiny as an Inhuman. We see that playing out, this desperate need to connect.
Speaking of destiny, Hive declared, "Let's make this planet the home the Inhumans deserve." What does that vision entail?
As every great villain does, there's some beautiful monologuing that goes on. It's not just the way to get the audience on board -- I think Hive is so in love with this idea of what he is going to do, he is incredibly happy to share with someone who will care, and that's Daisy. You will see a more fleshed out version of his plan. I do get to put it into words, and it's a cool "villain moment," a James Bond moment, where I get to talk about my plans.
He does think in more global terms. This isn't coming from a place of destruction. This is actually coming from a place of creation. What we saw on Maveth is there was an attempt at a civilization. Hive's plans are all coming from a place of connection and inclusion. It's important just to know that maybe this is a villain, but this is also somebody coming at it from a place of good intentions rather than just destroying humanity because it would be fun to watch it burn.
Fitz and Simmons are on an undercover mission in "The Singularity," as the duo follow a lead on a means of destroying Hive. How big of a threat are they?
There have been a whole bunch of bread crumbs that have indicated that Hive is made up of these smaller things, that when particulated and out there in the universe, can sway other Inhumans. One of these things Hive and Hydra destroyed was this biological research being done about how to kill a certain kind of parasite. Fitz and Simmons are looking at it from a biological perspective. At the end of the day, that's the thing that tends to win in a sci-fi universe.
Going back to Ward as the risk assessment manager, he sees them as possibly the instruments of his own destruction here. Those two are serious threats.
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" Seasons 1 and 2 culminated with Ward trading blows with his former teammates. Have they raised the bar for this year's finale?
There tends to be a pretty epic fight scene in the finale. I have been involved in two of them -- and lost. I hope that's not the case this time around!
We haven't filmed it yet, but a lot of thought goes into these fights. I put a lot of work into these fights as well. If the finale does, in fact, feature a fight, Grant fighting is entirely different than Hive fighting, just as Skye fighting is different than Daisy fighting. Now, these people have powers. You are having a battle between two super-powered people.
Hive carries himself completely different. There's no stubble, leather jacket or coming in and wreaking havoc on a yacht trying to get one of the von Strucker kids. There might be some cool things you get to see that you wouldn't with a conventional Ward fight. It opens a few more doors, so if an epic battle happens, we might walk through some of those doors.