First off, a spoiler warning: If you haven't seen the mid-season finale of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.LD.," or you have and don't want a major character detail revealed, turn back now.
Just as Grant Ward is set to make his debut in Marvel Comics, ABC and Marvel Television have taken the character in a dramatic new direction on the TV series. At the end of the mid-season finale episode "Maveth," Ward (Brett Dalton) finally meet his end at the hand
s of Director Coulson. Unfortunately, his death wasn't quite permanent, as the Inhuman creature known as The Beast slithered his way into Ward's near-dead corpse and reanimated him.
Since the episode aired, fans have speculated about the comic book roots of Ward's surprising transformation. While speaking at Wizard World Portland earlier today, series star Elizabeth Henstridge (who plays Jemma Simmons) let slip Ward's new identity. As it turns out, the fans were right.
Discussing how her character deals with the constantly shifting circumstances of the show's world, Henstridge said "...and now Ward is Hive and takes on the memories of people he's killed, so that's going to have some interesting situations."
Though a brief mention, her statement is confirmation that Hive is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Created by Jonathan Hickman in his "Secret Warriors" series, Hive is a mass of genetically engineered parasites created by Hydra to personify the best qualities of the organization and the individuals therein. The parasites latch onto a human host, increasing its strength while absorbing its memories.
The TV show has clearly taken a different route with the character, as it has already been revealed that it is an Inhuman, and that freeing the creature and harnessing its powers is the reason Hydra was originally founded. Still, the increased strength and memory absorption remain part of its power set.