The use of the Golden Age comic character Jeffery Mace, portrayed by Jason O’Mara, as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the latest season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten underway and has sparked a fair amount of interest and speculation regarding the character, and even more on his WWII costumed identity as the Patriot. Specifically, will we be seeing Mace suit up as the Patriot or…perhaps…some other star-spangled hero as he did in the comic book side of the Marvel Universe for a period of time? (More history of Jeff Mace/The Patriot can be found at THIS MCUExchange article.)
As is well known at this point, following the “death” of Steve Rogers at the end of World War II, and the subsequent death of the Spirit of ‘76, it was Jeff Mace who donned the Captain’s cowl and continued on as the third Captain America during the early post-war period. While the Jeff Mace on AoS this season is not exactly the Jeff Mace from the comics (aside from the time-shift, this Jeff Mace is an Inhuman!) it is important to note that the writers did choose this character specifically, so there must be a reason.
At the New York Comic Con this past weekend, Jeffery Mace came up quite a bit when discussing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with some of the people involved. IGN has posted three videos that address Mace and what might be up with the new director. As one might expect, no one has come out and said, “Oh yeah, Mace is going to suit up as the Patriot. Episode 10 I think it is.” However, in all three videos the interviewees do seem to have a half-smile that suggests they know a little more than they’re saying maybe.
Perhaps an exception to that will be Jason O’Mara since, as he says, he’s getting the scripts on a weekly basis and doesn’t know the long-term plans, but he does seem to acknowledge that there is background in the comics version of the character that may influence his role on the show. Also, questioned specifically about his links to Captain America, he agrees that there are undeniable links in the comics but, “…how that’s going to manifest in the series is anyone’s guess.”
IGN also posted a brief interview with Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Coulson of course, on Director Mace’s character, his history, and his future. After addressing Ghost Rider’s appearance on AoS and how it opens up the magical realm for the MCU, they move to the Patriot and Director Mace and, when discussing a link between Coulson’s status as Cap’s #1 fan and the Patriot, Gregg mentions that “for Coulson, there’s only one Captain America, and that’s Steve Rogers” which would be a fine statement if the interviewer has brought up the Patriot taking over for Cap…but he didn’t. He just asked about the connections between Coulson’s Cap crush and the Patriot. Gregg claims to not know what’s coming up as he’s only now reading the script for episode 8, but, again, the smile on his face when the Patriot is first brought up suggests otherwise. Watch for it here:
Finally, in a quick interview with Jeph Loeb, IGN does ask about bringing in characters from the broader Marvel Universe history. Loeb notes that the Marvel catalog is deep and rich and they’ve been mining it from the very beginning and giving the characters their own twist and this usage of characters has become a hallmark of the level of writing and performance on the show.
While Loeb does manage to deflect the Mace question in that video, in a brief interview question and answer session with Screen Rant, the question about the use of Mace in this role came up again, specifically why he may have been chosen, and what might the audience expect to see in the upcoming episodes.
I think one of the things that Marvel does very well is that we have this incredibly rich catalog and there are characters that pop out for us that in some cases we need to share with some of the other divisions and in some cases they’re all ours. So we take a look at each character and – I think Jeff Bell said it best – there’s no point in taking any character unless they generate story.
When we first started talking about Director Mace and where’s he’s headed and the story that will come out of it – and whatever ties there may or may not be to the Patriot – is something you’ll hopefully stick around and watch and enjoy.”
In effect, Loeb is stressing that there’s no point in randomly choosing a character from Marvel history unless there’s a reason to do so. And who they chose was a Captain America inspired Golden Age hero with a skill set (evidenced so far at least) similar to the currently AWOL Captain who, at one time in the comics, was Captain America.
My money is on this guy wearing red, white, and blue at some point during this season! Perhaps to Coulson’s chagrin. Would you like to see it? Sound off in the comments below!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays on ABC at 10 PM EST.