IGN: You've had this big overarching mystery of the Clairvoyant and their mystery identity. Should we now assume that that's definitely solved and Garrett is the answer to that question?
Bell: We love the fact that you're still questioning it, but let me put it this way: you'll know after next week the answer to that question...
IGN: This is another question that you may give me a similar answer on, but can we also assume that Victoria Hand and those other unfortunate gentlemen are definitely dead?
Bell: Let's say that Ward definitely killed them.
IGN: [Laughs] Okay!
Bell: It's the Marvel Universe... But he definitely put three shots in her, and he killed her.
IGN: It wasn't the ICER he was using at that point.
Loeb: No, no. He iced her in the old-school version of "iced her."
IGN: She had an interesting moment with Coulson right before that, where she was basically saying that the two of them were the two highest-ranking SHIELD members left. With her gone, it seems to me that Coulson would now be the de facto leader of whatever is left of SHIELD. Is that the position he's now finding himself in?
Loeb: That's as far as they know. Let's make sure that it's clear that they're living in a world where the SHIELD satellites have been compromised. They have very little information in terms of what's going on, and so in many ways they're like the viewers. They don't really know what's coming.
Bell: It's good -- most of the questions that you're asking are questions that our characters will be asking and that we'll be exploring through story.
IGN: Obviously this was already a personal thing for Coulson with Garrett’s betrayal alone, not to mention whenever he finds out about Ward. I am curious if we'll see a little more, though, of the personal ramifications of all of this. Even Sitwell, while he was mentioned in passing, there wasn't really time to deal with that, and that was kind of Coulson's buddy going back to Thor and the Marvel One-Shot of them together at the diner. Will we see Coulson having to deal with all the personal loss beyond what's happened to SHIELD itself?
Bell: Yeah, I would say that's what we do well on television, is focus on the interpersonal, the emotional, the psychological of that. In the movie, a giant Helicarrier crashes into the Triskelion -- a giant, awesome fight -- and we really get to deal with the ramifications of that and the interpersonal stuff that comes out of that.
Loeb: And just to make it clear, it's very personal to Coulson. We're going to see the ramifications of that.
IGN: Now we know next week's episode has Patton Oswalt in it as Eric Koenig, and Adrian Pasdar as Talbot. Can you talk about bringing in those characters? How were they brought in given the state of SHIELD at this point?
Bell: Well, Talbot isn't SHIELD, he is Air Force, per Marvel, and we've been fans of Patton forever. We found a way that we thought was a really wonderful way to bring him into the show that made sense at this time.
Loeb: Adrian Pasdar has been a friend and a friend of Marvel. This will start out as something very small, and then people will see where that's headed. One of the great parts about Glenn Talbot -- and Adrian knew this, because I told him when we first started talking about the character -- he's a world-class jerk, and Adrian just gets a big kick out of playing those guys and plays them really well. There's something about the way that Adrian plays it where you go, "Wow, he's a world-class jerk, but, you know, he's kind of right." That's the part where you can't hate him, because you know that he's actually kind of right. In the comics when he would rant and vent and go on about the Hulk, from his point of view, he was actually right.
IGN: There was so much going on this week and you couldn't mention everything. Maria Hill -- who, again, at the time, they wouldn't know anything about what was going on with her -- but we saw the end of Captain America 2 where she went, and it has been revealed that we are going to be seeing her on the show again soon. Is there anything you can say about her return?
Loeb: It couldn't happen soon enough, couldn't happen often enough. We're such huge fans of Cobie [Smulders], and she's been such a huge fan. She's stayed in touch with us. It really just came down to, more than anything else, she had to finish that little, tiny, nobody-watched, CBS, comedy, half-hour, gigantic, juggernaut of a show. Really, hats off to the guys at CBS for accommodating us at the time when we needed her to come back into our storyline.
REST OF THE INTERVIEW IS HERE. About Agent 13 and WS
This piece spotlights Tuesday’s “Providence” episode: http://abc.tv/1sNigLp. Purchase this print now at www.MarvelStore.com.
Marvel.com: When did you learn that your character was going to go to the dark side?
Brett Dalton: When we were shooting “Yes Men.” It was a Friday night and [we were filming a] kind of brutal fight between May, and I thought, “Wow, there’s quite a few people on set for a Friday night, watching a fight scene.” Usually they don’t do that.
And then afterwards [Executive Producer] Maurissa [Tancharoen], who is clearly the designated mother of the entire set, was like, “Hey, you’re doing such a great job, the writers just wanted to talk to you after when you were done.” And I didn’t really think anything of it, and she was like, “It’s all good, don’t worry about it, but we just wanted a few [minutes] when you wrap.” [Then] I'm thinking the entire time, holy crap, they're gonna kill me off. I better enjoy this scene then because my days are numbered at this point. And you know I’m on a Joss Whedon show, so from the very beginning I’m not unaware of the fact that my position on the team was not a guarantee.
So there I was, I have not felt that way since middle school probably, being called into the principal’s office. It took me a really long time to get dressed because [of] the whole thing. I remember stalling as much as I could, and I walked in and sat down on the couch and there were all the writers there and I thought, “oh my god.” I was kind of in shock, kind of like, “give it to me doc, tell me the results what do we got here.” Then they proceeded to let me in on what their plan for my character had been all along. I don’t think anyone knew who the Clairvoyant was, so they told me first, “Well, Garrett is the clairvoyant and Garrett is your supervising officer and you trained under him so that makes you also part of Hydra.” And I think I just sat there with my jaw open for the next 20 minutes, and they just did all of the talking because I couldn’t say anything. It was a huge turn. I didn’t see any of that coming, so I was just shock for about the next day. Then it sank in and I started to think wow, what a cool opportunity. Because the Ward I thought I was going to be playing for the next few seasons, the whole thing just changed. Now I think what I was given was just a huge opportunity to play somebody who is more complex, more interesting, more dangerous, scarier in a way that Ward wasn’t. I get to play two different characters in a way.
Sixteen and a half episodes of a guy who is very trustworthy and rolled up his sleeves and did all the heavy lifting and didn’t really question authority. You know, a by-the-book risk assessor, and yet here I am. The last five episodes and I get to play somebody who I really think just has a troubled past. It’s so juicy [and] it’s so much more complex than the character I was before that.
I mean, I think it fulfilled a promise of his past. We got from the very beginning, [when] he’s talking to Coulson about how he has a troubled past and the whole revelation that he doesn’t play well with others. The Berserker episode, we get bits and pieces of this troubled past. This delivers on it in an interesting way that nobody sees coming.
Marvel.com: When you found out that this was all happening, were you ultimately glad that you didn’t know this was coming when you were doing the first 15 episodes? Do you think you would have been inclined to tip your hand if you had known?
Brett Dalton: Yes, yes I was very glad I did not know it. I don’t think there was any way I could of gotten that same amount of earnestness in that character. I think the temptation would have been to absolutely tip your hand prior to [this episode]. And TV is about the slow burn. [In] TV we have 22 episodes to tell the story, and I would of absolutely tried to give away too much too quickly. So I’m very happy that it developed as it did.
I’m not used to doing mystery either, because usually I’m doing plays, I’m doing things that are more or less a set story that you have two hours to tell, [where] there’s a beginning, middle and an end and you have a really big rehearsal process. So this whole TV thing is kind of a big opportunity for me to learn a whole [new] way to tell a story.
Marvel.com: Yeah, and what makes it so perfect like you say is that you played Ward so earnestly in those first 15 episodes that his turn came as an even greater shock. But which has been more fun for you? To play the good guy, or the bad guy?
Brett Dalton: Oh man, so much more fun to play the bad guy. So much more fun. Plus my scenes [are with] Bill Paxton, who I think just has more fun in general on set than I typically do. Sometimes I kind of just act [with my] nose to the ground and [just] do it. And this whole thing has just opened up a kind of levity to it, a kind of, I won’t even say freedom--I’d say fun is the right word. There’s a real joy to it, and it’s great.
Marvel.com: Now Ward, despite his allegiance to Garrett, and therefore Hydra, has developed some personal attachments inside the team. How will those relationships impact him now that he’s back with Garrett?
Brett Dalton: Yeah, try as he might to keep those things in check, I think his feelings--or certain feelings--might have crept up and surprised him. When you’re living, eating, and on missions with people, you become part of that family unit. I think that it probably gets harder and harder to turn that off. I mean I couldn’t imagine doing that myself. Being an embedded spy has to be one of the most difficult jobs I could imagine. Because you have to wear one mask, and not forget about your job, your duty, at the same time. You have to let your guard down in a way, because they need to trust you. But it’s a false sense of letting your guard down. But my loyalty to Garrett wins out. So I have to follow his orders and I have to make some difficult decisions.
Marvel.com: How would you describe Ward’s relationship with Garrett, and how does Ward view Garrett?
Brett Dalton: I think Garrett offered him a [purpose]. He’s someone that’s always felt [like he was overlooked], and he’s somebody who doesn’t always know what to say but is eager to speak, [yet] doesn’t feel like anybody’s listening or anybody cares.