In the four seasons of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we have seen four different versions of Agent Grant Ward. In the first season, we see him as a great agent, a seemingly nice guy with a bit of baggage, and by the end we see him almost taking a big brotherly role to several of the other team members. Most of all, we see him as a loyal friend…until he wasn’t. In the second season, we see him in a far different light. We see him as a man burdened with glorious purpose; to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson at any cost. We see him as a tortured soul, abused by family and mentors alike, and who finally was forced to turn on the team that had become more like a family. Then in the third season we find Hive, an Inhuman parasite who has an eerily calm demeanor in all he does. Finally in the fourth season, thus far we have seen a Grant Ward who is very much like what many of us wish Season 1 Ward had turned out to be. He is a fighter for good, a seemingly stand up guy caught in a bad situation.
But after 4 seasons of re-inventing his character, what does Brett Dalton think is the true core of Grant Ward? According to the actor, he believes that Ward is “misunderstood” and that people assume he doesn’t have deep feelings because of the things he does. To the contrary, Dalton argues, Grant Ward has an abundance of feelings that he doesn’t know how to handle, and that he really doesn’t trust anyone due to previous experiences. Dalton also points out that since Ward’s turn, he has had an “unpredictable” quality to his character, and as we feel him out in this new setting, the Framework, we will not see someone who plays well with others. When asked which version of Ward was his favorite to play, Dalton replied that Season 3 Ward was his favorite to play because:
“He was on a warpath against Coulson,” and “He was just a man on a mission. There wasn’t a ton of conflict. It was just a bull in a China shop, and it was really fun to play.” He went on to praise working with actor Powers Booth, and together they “were sort of able to paint the town red a little bit and he was able to show me the ways of old Hydra.”
Dalton went on to discuss the trailer for next week’s episode, where we see Agent Simmons filling in Ward about the Framework. He notes that they had a little fun with Ward’s reaction to the news, including a couple of spit-takes. He then addresses the nature of his character being the only one of the main cast who does not have a counterpart on the outside of the Framework. It’s a hard pill to swallow, and his reaction promises to be “complex” in Dalton’s words. He also discusses that the Framework world is all that this Ward knows since he is a construct created by Aida from the information she took when she scanned the rest of the team’s minds. The actor went on to say that
“He (Ward) woke up and it’s a Tuesday. He has no idea about any of this stuff, so it will be interesting. Yeah, it will be interesting. He exists in the Framework exclusively; everyone else has some sort of real world counterpart. We’ll see how willing he is to accept that.”
Finally, when asked about how this version of Ward interacts with Gemma Simmons, Dalton had this to say
“You know, it seems like — no matter what I do — Simmons always has a chip on her shoulder about me. And again, as I was saying, for Grant Ward, he’s like, ‘What in the world is going on?’ For Simmons, obviously, she’s reading three seasons worth of stuff onto this virtual reality version of him, so I think it will be an uphill battle. I think that information is big, and people are reacting in a number of different ways. So I’m just dancing around your question, really.”
And as for how this new version of Ward feels about Daisy/Skye, Dalton explains that he has “real affection” for Skye, and he continues, explaining that we see Ward waking one morning to a completely different person with him. He says that will “have an effect.” Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10pmEST/PST on ABC.