"You can't imagine what's coming before we get to the end of this," said Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel's TV division, during a Q&A with reporters on the set of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." The show has a lot of big reveals for the last half of the season, beginning with its midseason return on Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
The accelerated pace of storytelling that people expect, now that they're used to binge-watching series in days, not months, has forced the "S.H.I.E.L.D." writers to step up their game. Said Clark Gregg, "I feel like the last 10 episodes are going to have as much story as any 20 episodes of what we had before."
Yahoo TV spoke with comic writer Korey Hunt, co-creator of "So ... I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse" at Dark Horse, who is intrigued by the recently announced new additions coming to "S.H.I.E.L.D." this season. "I think Bill Paxton is a good addition to the cast," he said, and he believes that Elena Satine has "a great look for Lorelei." However, he isn't sold on the star power of characters they're adding. "They're still playing it supersafe by adding these Marvel Universe characters that practically no one has strong feelings about." Hunt acknowledged that "they can't have Iron Man in every episode," but like a lot of fans, he hopes they find a happy medium soon.
Here's what we know about the comic book characters joining "S.H.I.E.L.D.":
Bill Paxton, who has long been on the wish list of co-creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, will be permanently joining the cast as John Garrett, the first of three new characters to be introduced from the comic books to the current Marvel television/movie universe.
Not much is known about John Garrett, even in the comic world. Introduced in the "Elektra" series (by Frank Miller, creator of "The Dark Knight Returns") as an assassin for S.H.I.E.L.D. with a "history of repeat criminal offenses," according to Marvel, he may be a dark influence on the team.
An explosion forces the organization to rebuild Garrett as a cyborg. We don't know whether the character will be introduced as fully human or not; all we know now is that he and Coulson have worked together in the past and will act as a sort of "tough love" version of the team leader.
Deathlok will be the first honest-to-goodness Marvel superhero to make an appearance on "S.H.I.E.L.D."
Marvel screened clips from the upcoming "T.R.A.C.K.S." episode of the series for reporters (with incomplete effects, so they're not yet online). They show Mike Peterson — the man given superstrength through his involvement with Centipede — sporting a half-burned face, a robotic leg, and, of course, the controlling mechanical eye that has appeared on the show previously. All of these things are familiar or near-familiar characteristics of Deathlok, a cyborg creation that first saw print 40 years ago this year.
The character of Deathlok has had multiple incarnations — the second of which bears some resemblance to the actor currently playing him (J. August Richards). The first was a time-traveling cyborg from an alternate dimension who smelled like a corpse as his human part decayed, which is probably not the right tone for an eight o'clock show. Both versions had to rebel against controllers programming them for obedience, so that's likely to play an important part of this character's arc.
Loeb took care to point out that the decision to bring in a character from the comics is not a capricious one. Calling it the breadcrumb method of "building out the origin," he described how they dropped pieces and hints of Deathlok's creation all throughout the season — including the eye implant that controls its victims remotely and Mike Peterson's line "This is my origin story" in the pilot.
The executive producers — including Loeb, Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell, and Joss and Jed Whedon — knew from the pilot that that would be Peterson's arc. Which suggests that when John Garrett appears, he will make a similar arc from human to cyborg.
The Asgardian Sif (Jaimie Alexander), last seen in "Thor: The Dark World," joins the short list of guest stars from the Marvel movies in an upcoming episode. She will be there to pursue another character from Marvel's comic realm: Lorelei, an escapee from Asgard whose voice has the power to "sway men's minds," according to Loeb. Lorelei will be played by Elena Satine, a regular on the Starz original series "Magic City."
Satine, too, has a similar look to her comic counterpart — usually portrayed as a red-haired temptress. Her frequent relations with Loki (she was first introduced in 1983) suggest that she may have continued involvement with the Marvel Universe if and when the trickster god rears his horned head again.
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." returns Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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