Over the course of the nearly three seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there have been plenty of changes that the actors have undergone with their characters. None have changed as much or as frequently as Brett Dalton‘s Grant Ward. Beginning as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, he was later revealed to be a Hydra spy, then became the leader of Hydra out of necessity, before dying and being inhabited by Hive.
Dalton recently talked to Comic Book Resources about the most recent change he has undergone. Instead of being the right hand man and now the “big bad,” Dalton is given a bigger and more important role in the show. So far, he is enjoying this journey.
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.
This change was much different than moving from good guy to bad guy. He is now playing a completely different character that lives inside of his old one. That’s not exactly the most common role for an actor. However, Dalton has embraced the change and worked hard to come up with a distinct difference between his old and new character.
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.
At the end of the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we saw Daisy (Chloe Bennet) leave S.H.I.E.L.D. under the influence of Hive. Back when they were known as SkyeWard, the pair had plenty of chemistry and with Ward’s memories still being a part of Hive the question was posed to Dalton if that influenced Hive’s decision to recruit her to his cause.
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.
Daisy is only one part of Hive’s plan to make Earth the new home for Inhumans. How he is going to accomplish those goals remains to be seen, but he will give his villianous speech in the near future to explain to us and others what his plan is and how it will happen.
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.
No matter what his plan is, S.H.I.E.L.D. is out to stop him by all means necessary. In the episode airing tonight, it sounds like Fitz and Simmons will be trying to find a way to stop Hive from infecting others. This could mean the end of Hive if they’re proven successful, and Hive considers them threats because of that.
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.
We will likely have to wait until the season finale to see if Fitz and Simmons were successful in learning how to destroy Hive. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hive will certainly collide in the season finale, and hopefully before that, but when they do Dalton will be doing some very different fighting then he has in the past.
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.
Episode 3×18, “The Singularity,” of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air tonight at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.