11:00 pm EDT, July 19, 2013

Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg and more talk ‘Agents of SHIELD’ with Hypable

Hypable sat down with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner Joss Whedon, plus Clark Gregg and the rest of the cast after the premiere of the pilot episode.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is arguably the most highly anticipated new show, and their Comic-Con panel did not disappoint when they sprung the surprise premiere of the pilot episode on the audience. The panel featured showrunner Joss Whedon, star Clark Gregg and Marvel’s head of television Jeph Loeb among others, and you can read Hypable’s recap for all the details.

Afterward, we had the chance to sit down with the cast and the senior production team, and get them to spill some details about this hot new show – or try, anyway. Hey, it’s Marvel.

In explaining the concept of the show, creator and showrunner Joss Whedon said, “for the first season, we have the joy of ‘it’s all new’, and we will get to see where they stand on the very complicated question of – is S.H.I.E.L.D. a good thing?”

And don’t expect a mini-Avengers movie every week, says Whedon (he calls that “a contradiction in terms,” anyway). Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s head of television, added that “when you’re in televsion, you want to have an intimacy.”

Like everyone else, we wanted to know how and when the mystery surround Agent Coulson’s miraculous recovery would be explained. The production team were suitably cagey – Whedon said “it will unfold at a leisurely pace.”

Co-showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen were similarly reluctant to share specific details. “We will unfold it slowly, but not at a pace that makes people crazy,” said Jed Whedon, before adding that with Coulson “the journey is what’s so interesting.”

Clark Gregg, who portrays Coulson, added that “everyone thinks they know what’s going on, but there’s another richer dimension beneath it, otherwise it wouldn’t be a Joss Whedon show.”

Gregg said he was not aware of the comic book trope that ‘no one ever really dies’. Of his emotional Avengers death, he said “I didn’t expect to come back, and I didn’t really want to come back.”

So how did he end up back in Coulson’s suit? “When they called me, I was thrilled because I love playing the guy,” Gregg said, “but I had to make sure it was as complex, and dark as my understanding of death. And from everything I got from Joss, it’s all those things and more.”

Another hot question surrounding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is if Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders, will be returning in a significant way following her appearance in the pilot. “She has another show, that’s a reality,” said Tancharoen, “but we hope to pepper people through. We can’t make any promises, but that’s the goal.”

Whedon’s shows are known for their strong female characters, and Hypable asked Ming-Na Wen how she felt about the inevitability that her character, Melina May, would be seen as a rolemodel for young women.

“I love it, having a daughter who’s 12,” said Wen. We asked if that meant added pressure. “The pressure I felt was with any job. It’s been just fun, there’s no pressure,” before joking, “why, should I feel pressure?”

The rest of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast were also in attendance. For newcomer Brett Dalton, who plays Grant Ward, this is his first major role (and his first Comic-Con!), and he told us that this was “kind of like a dream come true.”

He described his character as “the Swiss Army knife. He has something for every occasion, but he’s a bit of a lone wolf.”

Chloe Bennet plays Skye, a computer hacker who joins the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, and she says “stumbles into the S.H.I.E.L.D. world and stirs up some trouble. And the rest is Level 7.”

Of a potential romance between Ward’s character and her own, Bennet agreed that “there’s something there. I felt it, Skye felt it.” Ward added, “I think we have both not met anyone like the other.”

Elizabeth Henstridge and Ian De Caestecker, who play the duo of Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz respectively, said fans can look forward to the pair working closely together throughout the series. “We know that they [Fitz and Simmons] grew up together, and came through the ranks together,” said De Caestecker.

When asked what drew her to the role originally, Henstridge explained that “as a young woman, it’s amazing to audition for a role that is strong, and intelligent, and unapologetic about being intelligent. It really had nothing to do with how she looked, it was all about how good she was at her job, and how passionate she is.”

Agents of SHIELD is set to premiere on September 24 2013.

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