Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first 10 episodes for season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you are not caught up on the series, do so and then comeback and read the article.
Today is a good day. After taking a break for season 2 of Agent Carter to air, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns to head down the final path of the third season. As the show continues to explore Inhumans and the Secret Warriors, it is staying firm its roots as a spy show and finding new iterations of Hydra for Coulson and co. to go up against.
The Hollywood Reporter had the chance to talk to Clark Gregg about what lies ahead for his character and the show when it returns. Last we saw of him, he had just killed Ward in cold blood. When we pick up with him and the team tonight, his act is still a heavily kept secret.
Only Coulson and Fitz know about Coulson taking extreme action in ending Grant Ward’s life, and yet neither of them or anyone else know that something that looks an awful lot like Grant Ward got back through the portal. That’s lingering out there, and it’s not going to mean anything good for them.
S.H.I.E.L.D. will be facing a familiar enemy in Hydra for the rest of the season, but this time there is a new face to it. Not only is a possessed version of Ward in there, but also someone Gregg thinks is the toughest yet in Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe)
Every one of these evil bastards who Coulson has had to contend with, have all been formidable for the most part. But Malick is up there on a level with Robert Redford‘s character from Winter Soldier. He’s got power. He’s got influence. He’s built a fantastic cover. He’s considered an important and influential world citizen. What we realize is he’s old school, multi-generational Hydra, focused on bringing this world-eating creature back from Maveth. He’s going to be the most formidable Hydra opponent that we have ever faced.
His decision to kill Ward will definitely play a major role throughout this season, and according to Gregg, he feels responsible for everything that has happened.
His trajectory from Ward’s sniper rifle murdering Rosalind [Constance Zimmer] to Coulson jumping out of the plane to Coulson somewhat impulsively, somewhat pre-meditatively squishing the life out of Grant Ward, it’s been a really complex journey. It’s been terrific writing. Coulson put this man on his team way back when, and now he’s taken so many lives. But Coulson crossed a line that I don’t think he’s very comfortable with, taking a life of his own. He’s become the thing he’s hunting. The repercussions of that, as far as I can tell, are going to ripple throughout the rest of the season, if not beyond that, both for how Coulson will react to this Inhuman and for him personally.
As the rest of season 3 unfolds, we will get to the point where the events of Captain America: Civil War should effect the show. When that comes around and potential storylines for season 4, Gregg does not have any crazy hopes, but is scared for what is coming.
Actually, the next script I get is the one that happens near Captain America: Civil War so I’m terrified to see what’s going to become of Coulson and all his team members over the next couple of episodes. I have a feeling it will all be reinvented again [as it was after Captain America: The Winter Soldier]. And it would be nice to have a cool girlfriend who doesn’t get murdered. I also like exploring the new hands. I’m always excited about new hand developments. (Laughs) I find it hilarious that the world’s most average SHIELD agent has something about him that’s not-so-average.
In a separate interview with Comicbook.com, Gregg addressed what appeared to be a human hand replacing his robotic arm. Is that actually the case? He would not say out of fear of those Marvel snipers but did tease the following.
You can never say never because if ever I do, suddenly there I am with the black neoprene hand again. What’s clear is that he left the black synthetic … We’ll call it version one, even though there was a number of iterations of it. He left that hand on Maveth and he seems to have gotten an upgrade, and it seems to look a little bit more human. I’d be surprised if it didn’t actually have some actually upgrades to it.
I’m just glad to have a hand back. He took my hand, man. I couldn’t do anything by myself. I’m just glad to have a more effective hand.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns tonight at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.