At the end of season three of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the writers gave viewers a time jump to six months after the climax battle with Hive. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit was Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) line about informing the Director. Fans immediately started wondering, “Who is the Director now? Why isn’t Coulson Director any longer?”
In the build up to the season premiere on September 20th, Gregg is opening up about the reset of his character and his feelings on it.
I always felt like Coulson was happiest in the field. Neither I nor Coulson loved playing and listening while his agents went into dangerous situations. And there are more dramatic possibilities when you have a boss that you have to deal with.
I think Coulson is going to be a little wary, and try to protect everyone in SHIELD.
In some ways, this is returning to the roots of the character for Marvel. While viewers have grown accustomed to Coulson as the Director (the position he’s held the majority of the show’s run), audiences fell in love with Coulson when he was in the field, standing next to Tony Stark or investigating Mjolnir. The tension between the team and the higher ups at S.H.I.E.L.D. is something that writers like, forcing it into the show after Fury’s departure with characters like General Talbot and Robert Gonzales.
In addition to just enjoying playing an agent, Gregg thinks that the logic of the storyline is strong as well.
What they’ve come up with is cool and it makes sense given that SHIELD is coming out of the shadows.
It suggests things about where I imagine the story is going to be going or where they are, in terms of stuff that happened in the movie [Captain America:] Civil War and the Sokovia Accords. The world is realizing that they can no longer ignore the reality of enhanced people and there has to be some kind of accepted organizations that deal with them.
For those who feel the three branches of the MCU (films, network TV, and Netflix) are too distinct, it will be refreshing to hear that the effects of Civil War continue on into the TV shows. (How much or how little Luke Cage acknowledges the Accords will be a topic of interest.) Certainly the re-emergence of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the demotion of Coulson go hand in hand. Well, unless the Avengers were finally made aware of Coulson’s resurrection, but that isn’t likely any time soon. For those keeping score at home, the universe shake up that occurred in Captain America: Winter Soldier officially lasted 28 months.
Gregg’s interview also gives fans insight into how quickly things can change on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and how secretive the producers can be. Gregg was not aware of the shakeup until he read the lines in the script.
The epilogue at the end of last season, there was a line in the flash forward six months in the future. I had a line, ‘I better tell the Director.’ I texted the [SHIELD showrunners], ‘Wait a minute. Am I losing my job?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, you’re losing your job.’ But they didn’t tell me anything else.
The beauty of TV (and the problem with syncing TV and film) is the nimbleness of a small screen show. Things can happen fast and writers can respond to fan criticism quickly. That flexibility also leaves Gregg and other actors/actresses on the edge of their seats! When you work on a Marvel show you can’t assume your character will make it through the next script, or what their situation will be.
To see the whole interview go over to the Hollywood Reporter link below. Gregg also has some brief comments on the new additions to the cast, and what he thinks about adding Ghost Rider to the mix. Are you excited about the new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Do you like Coulson back in the field, or will you miss him as the Director? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The fourth season of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., staring Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Ming-Na Wen, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, and Henry Simmons, will premiere at its new 10 P.M. Eastern time-slot on September 20, 2016.