While Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has included appearances from several SHIELD-related characters we first met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films (including Maria Hill, Jasper Sitwell and Nick Fury), this week’s episode will be the first time a truly superpowered character from those huge hit movies will make their way onto the series, in the form of Lady Sif. Jaimie Alexander will reprise her role from Thor and Thor: The Dark World in the episode, as Sif comes to Earth — ahem, I mean Midgard — on the heels of the evil Lorelei (Elena Satine, who made her debut in last week's episode), another character familiar to fans of the Thor comic book.
I spoke to Alexander about her SHIELD guest role, Sif’s dynamic with the team and more.
IGN TV: We saw the tease at the end of last week's episode, with Lorelei. Suffice to say, that’s what brings Sif to the Agents of SHIELD?
Jaimie Alexander: Oh yes, oh yes. Sif has been sent to retrieve Lorelei. I think something that's great about Sif is that she's very respectful of other worlds and realms. She enlists the help of the Agents of SHIELD, because she's on their planet and on their territory. She doesn't people to get hurt. She wants to keep the damage minimal, so she enlists their help, and that's how they all team up together for the episode.
IGN: I was thinking about the end of the first Thor, and realized, "Well, Coulson and Sif were in the same place in New Mexico…” I don't know if they had much time to chat though. How well do they know each other? What's their dynamic like?
Alexander: Clark [Gregg] and I, personally, are good friends. We have a very good comedic rapport with each other every time we see each other. He was actually the person that asked me if I would be willing to do a crossover -- and this was a couple weeks before I got the call from Marvel. So he very nicely buttered me up -- not that I needed buttering, but I said yes, absolutely. We had a lot of good fun on Thor. Not all of it made it into the movie, but there were some very funny, awkward moments between Sif and Agent Coulson. It was so much fun to bring that back again. From the moment I stepped on that set, it was just funny and so much fun. There were times we did so many scenes together that between scenes we would just laugh and crack up, and we'd have to start over again and redo it. But yeah, it was so much fun, and there's such a great dynamic there. She knows quite a bit about Agent Coulson and the Agents of SHIELD because her buddy Thor very much trusts these people. Because of that, she comes to Earth and says, "I'm going to enlist their help rather than someone else's help."
IGN: I talked to Clark on the set just after you shot your episode actually, and we were talking about the fact that it does raise an interesting question with Sif being there, because Coulson's death was such a motivating factor to The Avengers and now the question is, "Do they know he’s alive?” Anything you can say about that? Is she going, "Hey dude, you should call Thor"?
Alexander: [Laughs] You know, I will say that it is addressed, but I can't tell you how or why. So... there we go! You will find out on Tuesday!
IGN: What's the whole team make of her? Coulson has some history with her, but the rest of them don't. What's it like for them having her in their midst?
Alexander: You know, I have Thor in my world, and he tells me who's trustworthy and who's not -- or who he believes is trustworthy or is not -- and with the agents of SHIELD, Agent Coulson is their Thor. So when he says, "Hey, she's a friendly," they say, "Okay, stand down." So that dynamic is the same, it's just a different world. I think obviously when I first meet the SHIELD agents, they're kind of looking at me a little weirded out, because as the reference was made in Thor, I look a little like Xena. It can be a little jarring to someone. I'm also extremely tall and I carry mediaeval weapons and shields and things like that. So I think they're a little curious as to, "Okay, I think we know who this woman is, but I hope she's friendly!" So that allows for quite a bit of awkward humor throughout the show. But I also think she finds herself kind of on the same playing ground as Melinda May. Because there are such strong female characters in Agents of SHIELD, I think Sif can really relate to a lot of them, especially Melinda.
IGN: I was going to ask about that, because some of the photos they released show the two of you together. I was thinking how that felt like a pretty good duo!
Alexander: Yeah, and may I say Ming is an amazing woman.
IGN: So what's the history between Sif and Lorelei? I assume they've had some skirmishes in the past?
Alexander: Of course. There's a lot of history there, and we definitely explore a lot of that backstory in the episode. I don't want to give anything away, but be warned, there's quite a bit of history there.
IGN: On that same set visit, they showed us a nice fight scene between the two of you. Was it fun for you to mix it up like that?
Alexander: Oh, absolutely. Elena is such a lovely girl, and she really brought Lorelei to life. She has this menacing quality as the character in a way that's not easy to pull off, and she pulls it off so well. We do have a sequence together where my weapons as Sif to Elena -- not to Lorelei, but Elena -- the were very foreign. So I was definitely helping her to maneuver the weapons and showing her certain things to make it a bit easier, because, again, we got to work one day and shot the sequence in the same day; so we kind of learned it the day before and morning of and shot this entire sequence together. It's not easy for someone who's not used to it, you know? She was so open to being collaborative to me and learning a few things from me. She's a fantastic girl.
IGN: I was thinking, with that final mid-credits sequence in Thor 2 where you got to hand things off to Guardians of the Galaxy, as it were, and now with this appearance on SHIELD, we're getting this nice look at Sif's adventures going on out there. Is it fun for you to get the idea that there's a lot going on for her? She's keeping busy!
Alexander: Yeah, she's definitely keeping busy. I think that out of all of Asgard, if they need something done, they're like, "Get Sif! She'll do it. We'll send her to whatever realm" -- Vanaheim or Niflheim or something. I'm their go-to. [Laughs] As it should be! What's that saying? "If you want to talk about something being done, ask a man, but if you want something done, ask a woman."
IGN: It's been so impressive how ambitious the Marvel Cinematic Universe is and how it keeps growing and interlocking. Do you find yourself doing the same thing that we do as fans, which is extrapolate and think, "I wonder what Sif and, say, Black Widow would make of each other…?” Do you ponder down the line that you could maybe get to do some of these character interactions we haven't seen yet?
Alexander: Absolutely, absolutely. Funny enough, when I got a call to do the tag at the end of Thor: The Dark World, I kinda geeked out because I was like, "Ooh! What does this mean? What's going to happen?" -- because, you know, they don't tell us; I think that's smart because I would probably spill the beans or something. But a lot of times I didn't know what I was doing until I got there to London from Los Angeles. So the whole flight I'm thinking, "Okay, what is going to happen? What is going on?" And I have to say, all of Marvel, they don't do anything without a very strong purpose, so there's always going to be a payoff to everything that happens. I'll just leave you with that.
IGN: It must be great to see the excitement over this character and how she's resonated so much with fans.
Alexander: You know, that is the best thing in the world for me, because I myself am a bit of a fangirl, and I know what it feels like to be inspired by a character like this, to learn something from a character like this and to really enjoy it. The fact that people want to see more and more of Sif is probably the best payoff for me that I've ever received. So I'm going to try to keep giving them what they want.
For those of you wondering: Lorelei is Amora the Enchantress' little sister.