star Bill Paxton will join Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for at least four episodes as John Garrett, a character being imported from Marvel's comic book source material. "We wanted to bring in a rough-and-tumble former cohort of Agent Coulson with a little bit of attitude and cigar-smoking swagger," showrunner Jed Whedon told TV Guide. "When Garrett got his promotion to Level 7, he refused to sit behind a desk and doesn't like the formalities of S.H.I.E.L.D. He's going to help Coulson solve some mysteries and is not afraid to rig an explosive or two." Mysteries like, one assumes, some of the details behind Coulson's mysterious resurrection, which was promised as last week's big reveal but only partially answered. Of course, Whedon's wife and co-showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen says he'll enter the show in a very surprising way, so who knows? Maybe he's Skye's dad.
In the comics, Garrett is a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who is given cybernetic parts to save his life after being killed in action. Part of a S.H.I.E.L.D. project called The Great Wheel of Zodiac that included Nick Fury and numerous others, his reinvention as an old comrade of Coulson's could be significant. For instance, if his Garrett's counterpart was saved in part because of his importance to a pet project of Nick Fury's, that may inform the nature of Coulson's resurrection. Of course, just having S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents retrofitted with cybernetics might tease the Deathlok technology being a potential tool in the show's toolbox--something that we (and many others) speculated about after last week's episode.