After spending a good bit of time in an aborted future in year five, time travel is nothing new to the world of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and the show’s final season is aiming to put a Marvel-ous spin on some largely unexplored corners of the MCU timeline.
Season 7 of the long-running Marvel series premieres on Wed., May 27 on ABC. Star Chloe Bennet, who plays Daisy Johnson (aka Quake), chatted with SYFY WIRE about the final season and dropped some hints about what fans can expect when the show returns from its lengthy hiatus. Bennet says the time-hopping of the final season, which kicks off with the team heading to the early 1930s, gave the crew and cast a chance to up their game for the show’s final adventure and try out things they’ve never been able to do before.
“For any fan that [has] watched us from Season 1, it’s similar to the Framework in Season 4, where it’s just so exciting to see all the characters in such a different environment,” she explains. “To have the environment change so much and challenge the characters in new and different ways, and challenge those relationships, that was really fun. Every department gets to step up their game, from set design, to hair and makeup, to wardrobe. It’s really such a challenge for all the characters and just such a different environment, and with every decade comes different challenges and that was really fun.”
As for how the team deals with the concept of time travel itself — since playing around in the past can have consequences very different from being stuck in a future you want to prevent — Bennet says the season digs into the different interpretations of how time travel works and the implications of making changes, both good and bad.
“There’s a lot of debate on the morality of changing things in time, and what happens to the future. We have so many perspectives, whether it’s Coulson with the moral heart of the issue, or the scientific perspective with Fitz and Simmons — what do we prioritize and how do we make sure we make the right changes, but not too many?” she says. “I think it’s a fine line, a balance of what kinds of choices and moves you’re going to make. I think it’s going to go back and forth throughout the whole season of who is okay with it, and who is not, because it’s a big decision.”
Though Bennet had one of those trademark Marvel snipers trained on her to prevent her from revealing any specific time periods we’ll visit this season, she did tease they’ll have the feel of some of the show’s most-loved standalone episodes. She also promised plenty of Easter eggs to reward fans who have stuck with the series until the end.
“I’m not quite sure which ones I’m allowed to say [laughs], but I will say we definitely stay busy traveling. It’s really fun to see which time period matches different characters, and which ones feel most at home in different time periods. I think the writers definitely had a fun time going down memory lane to different decades that might have a closer spot to their hearts,” she says. “It was just really such a colorful series finale in terms of the season. Throughout the series we’ve had these different bottle episodes that are fan favorites. There have been so many of those kind of ‘one-off’ episodes, and this season there’s a lot more of those specific kinds of palates... The writers go out of their way to make sure there are a lot of hidden treats and special things — whether it's guest stars or moments that nod back to moments we’ve had throughout the series.”
Of course, traveling back to the past isn’t all sight-seeing and meeting your idols, since the past wasn’t always a perfect place — especially when it comes to racism and sexism over the years. Bennet promises those societal differences won’t be ignored, adding they do “a really good job of acknowledging it while still keeping that Marvel tone.” Characters like Daisy and Mack get a chance to tackle some of those adversities head-on: “You always wonder ‘what would I do?’ if something happens, and to get to answer those questions in different decades was interesting,” Bennet adds.
COULSON'S (LATEST) RESURRECTION
Bringing Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson back to life has become a staple of the series ever since its debut all those years ago. Coulson famously died in the first Avengers film before the series even premiered, and was resurrected with alien tech to lead his team. Then he died at the end of Season 5, only to return via some alien artifacts with no memory. And now he has returned yet again for the show’s final season as a Life Model Decoy, joining up with the team he’s assembled one last time.
Once the Coulson LMD was built, as the team was debating whether or not to actually activate him, it was Daisy who pushed the button to fire him up. But why did she do it? Bennet said it was the culmination of a seasons-long journey of the relationship between Coulson and Daisy. She noted the Season 5 finale — which ended with Coulson’s death — found Daisy saying goodbye and having “a hard time letting go” of the closest thing she’s ever had to a father. Then Season 6 found her “coming to terms with the new version of herself without him.” So why bring him back, if she’d reached a point where she was at peace with his absence?
“I don’t think she wanted to bring him back for the purpose to have this kind of emotional crutch of support. I think she just simply missed him, and that’s what is kind of sweet about it,” Bennet explains. “I think that sets Season 7 up for a really fun relationship between the two of them. We’ve said our goodbyes, we’ve gone through so much, and now it’s kind of been a really fun excuse for them to just work together and say ‘Let’s just save the world’ and not worry about ourselves.”
CHRONICOMS AND... DAISY/DEKE 'SHIPPERS?
From Hydra to supervillains and a wide assortment of aliens in between, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has faced off with an eclectic assortment of villains throughout the show’s lengthy run. So where do the Chronicoms rank? According to Bennet, “they’re probably our hardest,” since they are super-strong, incredibly smart, and can manipulate time. That said, the change in big bads this year did offer up some welcome changes when it comes to action scenes.
“They give us a run for our money. The Chronicoms are up there. But I’ve got to say, it’s a little bit nicer because we don’t have like melting aliens, in terms of actual, practical make-up, but they were fun,” she says. "Those characters, the fighting style as well, was really interesting to work that in from that perspective, too. Because they have a much more robotic fighting style, and obviously fighting against them was different because of how much power they had. It’s kind of fun to have a baddie who is just as powerful as Daisy. So there are some really good fights we will see coming up this season.”
Oh, and Bennet’s favorite change with all this time-traveling to fight the Chronicoms? Her Quake super-suit isn’t all that practical in the past, so she got a change in wardrobe that gave her a bit more flexibility for all those kicks and flips: “Fighting in a dress was much easier than fighting in my Quake suit,” she says with a laugh.
As for the question of whether or not fans will get any payoff from time-displaced team member Deke’s (Jeff Ward) longtime crush on Daisy, Bennet remained fairly tightlipped — but did acknowledge fans have waited a long time to see if Quake can ever find true love.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but I just feel this really strong sibling energy,” she says. “But I wouldn’t knock — everyone wants Daisy to find love and we’ll have to see if that happens this season.”
The seventh and final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kicks off Wednesday May 27 on ABC with 13 new, time-traveling adventures through the Marvel universe.
Who knows, maybe they’ll even run into “America’s ass” while they’re out there? Though, you know, we doubt it — but the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew has carved out its own little corner of the MCU that’s more than compelling enough without the A-list heroes stopping by to lend a hand, anyway.