'Agents of SHIELD': Who is Rick Stoner?

Patrick Warburton made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in tonight’s episode Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, titled “All the Comforts of Home.” Warburton plays General Rick Stoner, a character from the Marvel Comics universe who may be unfamiliar to even dedicated comic book fans.

SPOILERS for Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, “All the Comforts of Home,” follow.

In “All the Comforts of Home,” the SHIELD team finally returns tot heir own time from the dystopian future where they spent the first half of the season. At first, they don’t even realize that they’re home because they are still in the bunker called the Lighthouse, which was the last holdout of humanity in the future they had just returned from.

However, as was hinted in previous episodes, the Lighthouse was actually built by humans before the Earth was destroyed and the Kree arrived. “All the Comforts of Home” revealed a little more of the Lighthouse’s history by introducing General Rick Stoner.

Stoner only appears in a pre-recorded message in the episode. The message plays like a guided tour of the Lighthouse and explains Project Reclamation, a project put into as protocol for a cataclysmic event. Phil Coulson says that he knows who Stoner is, but that there was nothing about the Lighthouse or Project Reclamation in Nick Fury’s “black box.” Something interesting about the project is that Stoner assumes those who have made it to the Lighthouse are the skilled elite from around the world. This may be a nod to the Lighthouse being an Avengers base in the Marvel Comics universe, with the idea that SHIELD would assemble the world’s elite being a kind of pre-superhero version of the Avengers Initiative.

Stoner does not specify his role within SHIELD in the video message, but in the Marvel Comics universe, Stoner was the first director of SHIELD, serving before Nick Fury took over leading the organization. Stoner fought alongside Fury during World War II but Stoner’s by-the-book personality clashed with Fury’s more improvisational, anything goes mentality.

Stoner only served briefly as SHIELD’s director. He quickly discovered a mole in the organization and began investigating. He was shot by Hydra for his trouble but managed to get a warning to Tony Stark before apparently dying. Stark was offered the job of replacing Stoner as SHIELD’s new director but passed and sought out Nick Fury instead.

Years later it was revealed that Stoner did not actually die but was abandoned by SHIELD after Hydra kidnapped him. Seeking revenge, Stoner took on the code-name “Fallen Angel” and found the SHIELD projected codenamed “Backslide.” The project used an artificial Cosmic Cube to manipulate reality. Stoner planned to use it to go back in time and prevent SHIELD from ever being formed, this gaining his revenge. Fury tried to stop them and they both fell through a portal. Instead of going back in time, they ended up in a pocket dimension built from their memories. The pocket dimension was consumed by a never-ending war. Stoner died in that universe, and Fury was stranded there for months.


Whether Stoner’s appearance in “All the Comforts of Home” was a one-off or could lead to a great role in the remainder of the season remains to be seen.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.