At the beginning of Agents of SHIELD's current season, the team traveled to the 1930s in an attempt to stop the Chromicons from changing SHIELD history. During their adventure, the team met Wildred "Freddy" Malick, the young man who would go on to be a prominent figure in Hydra and the father of Gideon Malick, who was played by Powers Boothe in the show's third season. Freddy was portrayed by Darren Barnet, who is best known for Netflix's Never Have I Ever. Recently, ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with Barnet and asked how he prepared for the Hydra role and what it was like following in Boothe's footsteps.
"It's interesting, I thought about it," Barnet explained when asked if he was familiar with Marvel/Agents of SHIELD and if he did some research on Hydra. "I wish as a kid, I was more into comic books because it's such a rich history and I'm a fan of every Marvel movie. What's really been interesting to me is how deep the universe goes. I'm talking to my friend, 'Man, they're going to run out of movies soon.' And he's like, 'You need to understand that they've not even tapped the surface with Marvel.' So it was kind of cool, but I realized also I didn't want to brush up too much because I wanted to be true to the character, and being Wilfred Malick, he has no idea what Hydra is yet. He doesn't know anything about Agents of SHIELD, nothing. I kind of wanted to be true to him. I wanted to know what he knew, basically."
He added, "You know, once I got to set and the esteem that they held him [Powers Boothe] in really made me... Wow. So then I went home, did my research on him, and I definitely try to envision him as my son. I tried to have a backstory and envision him as a child and this, this and that. I had big shoes to fill, which was a lot of pressure, though I was up for the challenge."
After the team traveled to the '30s, they ended up in the 1950s and met up with Freddy again. However, this time he was played by Neal Bledsoe (The Man in the High Castle, Smash), so we asked Barnet if the two actors collaborated on how to present their shared character. "Yeah, not really at all," Barnet revealed. "There were slight discussions like, 'Oh, well, you guys think you'll have me back?' 'We're thinking about it, but we'd have to age you up a lot. It might be a lot of a stretch.' They really had no idea who they were going to cast at that time, I think, so if I had known, maybe I would have, but at that time, they hadn't cast him yet."
Stay tuned for more from our interview with Darren Barnet, which includes his dream comic book movie role, his thoughts on Never Have I Ever's representation, and his future goals.
Agents of SHIELD airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 10 PM EST.