Agent Phil Coulson is in a tough place when Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returns from its mid-season hiatus and it's one that actor Clark Gregg is excited to dive into head first. Given the jaw dropping events from the mid-season finale, fans were left on the edge of their seats with even more questions for the show.
Is cheery Coulson gone? Where did his hand go? What's next for the team? Gregg took some time to chat with ComicBook.com about what fans can expect for the back half of this season and beyond.
Heading into the mid-season premiere, it feels like we've seen a slow turn for Coulson to becoming a darker character. Is this a trend that fans should just get used to? Does a lot of it have to do with the changing nature of the threats he's constantly being put up against?
Clark Gregg: I think it's of this moment.
I think there was a tremendous velocity to the progression from starting to really trust Rosalind, and realizing how much he likes that and cared about her, to the bullet coming out of Ward's rifle that sent him on a murderous rampage that ended up killing Grant Ward. What he doesn't realize is that while he's trying to sort out the moral complexity of the act he's just done, before long he's going to find out that he has given 'it,' this world-munching creature from Maveth that may be the source of all Hydra, a body to come back to in a very familiar face to our planet. There's a darkness to it and there's dark stuff going on. The stake's been raised to a new level going into the back half of the season, giving Malick as powerful and effective a Hydra leader as anyone, save Alexander Pierce from 'Winter Soldier,' so they've got a lot going on coming in.
We know that there are more Inhumans that are joining the team and suddenly the “human” parts of the team look to be outnumbered. How does Coulson and the other members of the team feel about that?
Clark Gregg: I think it varies from member to member of Coulson's team, and yet you've put your finger on it. There is a 'us and them' kind of suspicion between them. There's a desire to welcome people; Coulson certainly lives on both sides of that fence because he loves Daisy, and yet she's changed. There is something between them in that they're not essentially the same species anymore, in a way. I love that it's written in a way where it exists on that kind of familial microcosmic level, and at the same time the world is splitting that way. It's certainly something that's going to play out more on our show: the division, the trust.
I suspect that a similar version will play out in the cinematic universe with 'Civil War.' That's not a spoiler, I don't know anything. We're going to do our version on our show, and I'm sure they'll be tackling something similar.
A slight tangent from that, with Daisy being able to build the Secret Warriors team that she had been trying to build over the course of the season, is there a proud papa moment for both you and for Coulson, seeing Daisy now step up and get ready to run a team?
Clark Gregg: Yeah, absolutely. It's funny how you say it; it is very much both. I'm so proud of Chloe Bennet and just the way she's stepped up to every challenge, physically and otherwise, to become in many ways Coulson's right hand ... Especially with regard to Secret Warriors. It's a thrill to watch her.
Is the Luke Skywalker era of one-glove Coulson over? Looks like there were two fleshy hands in some photos that were released the other day.
Clark Gregg: 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, 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.
Are you glad not to be wearing a glove anymore?
Clark Gregg: 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.
If there had been a glove that was neoprene that lived on my hand all the time, if that had been the case, if I wasn't such a committed method actor willing to cut my hand off then, yes, I would have been really glad to get rid of that horrible, sweaty, sticky, lubed up, rubber glove. Yeah.
Obviously, fans can expect a lot of tension when Coulson realizes that Ward is still kicking around. You mentioned earlier, at the end of the mid-season finale, we saw Coulson make a decision that fans thought were dark. When he sees Ward again for the first time is that going to send Coulson down an emotional sort of turmoil spiral, or will that just make him more committed to the mission?
Clark Gregg: I don't think of him as being that emotionally volatile on the surface. I suspect it's both of the things you said. I suspect, knowing him, that they'll all be happening in a kind of coiled up way inside of him as he tries to process it in his own ways, that don't make it impossible for him to lead in a very dark and dangerous time. I think he probably has the feelings that you described but I think there's probably, if I know my ironic Coulson, and my deeply moral Coulson, a feeling of, like, "Of course. Yeah, definitely. That's what happens when you finally squash the bastard who killed your girlfriend and maimed all the people you know. When you have one little moment of setting a score as a normal person, you create the Hydra monster that we've all feared for ten-thousand years. Of course.
So what do you think ComicBook.com readers? are you excited for tonight's episode of Agents of SHIELD? Let us know in the comments below.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for a game-changing second half of Season Three, Tuesday, March 8 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network.