Last weekend, MouseInfo was invited to take part in a round-table interview at WonderCon with the cast and crew of ABC’s AGENTS OF SHIELD. We got to sit down with an enviable assortment of talented folks including Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons and Luke Mitchell, plus Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb and writer/producer Jeffrey Bell.
The cast and crew were palpably energetic to talk about the show which is now in the middle of its third season. In the past, the show has done a great job of tying its themes and storylines into the “real world” events going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I get backed into a corner and forced to say ‘It’s All Connected’ then I get yelled at on Monday.”
—Jeph Loeb, Executive Vice President of Marvel Television
With the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR which is due out in cinemas May 6, 2016, it was one of the main topics of conversation. And although Jeph Loeb was characteristically coy in what he could (or in this case not) reveal, it’s clear in the course of the show that the theme of right and wrong with regards to the power of “gifted” or “inhuman” people is coming into question.
Clark Gregg commented on his character mudering Ward and if he might have regreted the decision. Gregg agreed that he felt Agent Coulson’s actions were a “momentary reaction to a lot of anger [and] betrayal” providing a great sense of guilt and possibly even shame. “You don’t get to react to your emotions the same way” he mentioned of Coulson as a director with a weaponized hand. It seems that this guilt will be a struggle for his character throughout the season as Ward’s transformation into “Hive” becomes evident.
I asked Ming-Na what super power she thought she’d want if she was going to be an inhuman. She had a surprising yet totally logical choice with the the power to heal; herself or others. For her fearless character Agent May it would truly make her an unstoppable force!
Brett Dalton continues his antagonizing game of cat and mouse with Ming-Na, taunting her still a full season and a half after having betrayed her character on the show. He relished his role in the show playing essentially now three completely different characters, truly a unique role for any show.
Fixated on super powers, I asked Chloe Bennet if she ever found herself wishing she had her character’s super powers. She mused about an incident sitting in traffic with an aggressive driver. She found herself laughing after raising her hand as if to use her character Daisy Johnson’s seismic wave power at which point she laughed saying that she’d been spending way too much time at work.
My question sparked quite a bit of enthusiasm out of Chloe, Luke, and Jeffrey. They gave some cool insights about the choreography of super powers and about Visual Effects guru Mark Kolpack who has the unofficial recognition of determining how the inhumans wield their powers.
Chloe mentioned sometimes she gets “Force-checked” with her hand gestures. She jokes that she’s a big Star Wars fan but sometimes she has to make sure she’s using her own unique poses. Jeffrey mused that off camera somtimes people pretend to be suffocating from her apparent “Force choke.”
They also shed some interesting behind the scenes facts about bringing their super powers to the screen and as you might expect, without the CG coming into play, the movements of Daisy using her seismic waves or Lincoln wielding his electric bolts are almost somewhat humorous.
But using super powers is not just a bunch of arm waving to make these special effects come to life. Luke and Chloe both commented about the complexity of coordinating their movements with the practical effects that help CG artists bring their super powers to life. For Chloe‘s seismic waves, that includes a fan that blows back her hair. For Luke‘s electricity, it requires special lighting. In both cases, their moves have to be carefully timed with the practical effects to ensure that the movements are consistent with how (and exactly when) the special powers would manifest.
At the very end of our round table interview with Chloe, Luke, and Jeffrey, an impatient Brett Dalton and Ming-Na Wen crashed our round-table interview, flipping the roles as avid listeners. Ming-Na even went down and put her phone in amongst the others that were recording the conversation. She mused that this side of the table was pretty fun. She’s right!
AGENTS OF SHIELD is in the middle of its third season, catch it Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC.