Welcome to Level 7.
When Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted last week, we met the new team of agents tasked with keeping the world safe from the strange and unknown. Heading up the team is Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), who enlisted Agents Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), scientists Fitz (Iain De Caestrecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), as well as hacker-anarchist Skye (Chloe Bennet) to form a sub-division of the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. — Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division. TVGuide.com turned to executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen to get to know the agents better. Check it out:
Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg)
First introduced in Iron Man, Agent Coulson made subsequent appearances in the sequel and Thor before being killed by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel's The Avengers. "Coulson is obviously the centerpiece of the show," Whedon says. "We felt like he was the perfect person to build this around because it's a show about regular people in a world with superheroes and he's been the face of that in the features for a couple years now. He's just a regular guy in a suit."
"Joss [Whedon] established in The Avengers that Coulson has a love and a respect for the history of S.H.I.E.L.D.," Tancharoen adds. "So, in a show that's about the organization, he's the perfect person to exemplify that. He's a loyal man; he's a company man, and we'll be exploring his journey coming from that place, but now in a world where that organization might be challenged and he might have some questions that he'll be dealing with."
Burning questions: If Coulson was killed off in The Avengers, how is he now alive? Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) said in the premiere that Coulson could never know the truth, so is he a Life Model Decoy, the Vision or something else?
Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen)
The weapons expert and skilled fighter was sitting behind a desk before Coulson recruited her, but she certainly proved her worth in the premiere when she took out that sniper at the train station. "She's a Black Ops specialist and a long-time veteran and she's fairly wounded both emotionally and physically. We don't know why she went into hiding in paper work," Tanchaeroen says, teasing that May and Coulson have worked together before. Adds Whedon: "She's been out of the game for a while and we don't yet know why."
Burning questions: What happened in Melinda's past that she took a desk job?
Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton)
The cocksure agent doesn't play well with others, as evidenced by his attempts to weasel his way out of Coulson's group. "He is skilled in every way when it comes to running an op, but he's just not skilled with people. And what do you know? He's thrown in the middle of a team," Tancharoen says, hinting that Ward will have some secrets of his own. "There's something to be said about a group of people who join an organization full of secrets," she says. "What does that mean about them and their personal lives and families that they've left behind? In a way, they come together as their own rag tag family."
Burning questions: Coulson stated in the premiere that Ward's family has some history. What did his family do in the past?
Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons (Iain De Caestrecker and Elizabeth Henstridge)
The quick-witted and extremely intelligent dynamic duo are the scientists of the team. He specializes in engineering and weapons technology, while she works in life sciences. "You can't really speak about one without speaking about the other," Tancharoen says. "They've come up together. They're very young, gifted geniuses. They were recruited at an early age. They're the types that can't stand to be around each other, or it seems that way, but as soon as you separate them, they are obviously lost."
But their age could work against them when faced with taking on field missions. "They're the brains behind a lot of the cool tech we've seen in the films that S.H.I.E.L.D. carries, but they are new to going out in the field themselves," Whedon adds. "There will be new challenges with that."
Burning questions: Is this a will-they-won't-they situation?
Skye (Chloe Bennet)
Initially working against them, this witty hacker discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't the evil empire she always imagined them to be. "Into the midst of this group that all understand S.H.I.E.L.D. and is a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., we throw Skye, who has been trying to get into S.H.I.E.L.D. from the outside and trying to hack in," Whedon says. "She's our audience proxy; she's the eyes and ears for someone who doesn't know anything about S.H.I.E.L.D. The whole world of superheroes is very new to her. But she, like Coulson, is an enthusiast at heart about all this stuff and just thinks it's so cool."
Burning questions: What is Skye running from since she presumably once erased her own identity and started over? Also, how long before she and Ward get together?
What burning questions go you have about the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? And who's your favorite team member? Hit the comments!
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.