In a shocking twist last season on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we learned Grant Ward was a murderous Hydra agent who was actively working against our heroes. Tonight we'll learn more about Grant and whether we should just start calling him Evil Grant, said actor Brett Dalton in an exclusive interview with Blastr.
“He does still have a heart. He wasn't able to shoot the dog,” said Dalton, referring to a flashback last season where Grant did indeed NOT shoot the dog he was ordered to shoot.
Still, his sins are many. After Captain America: The Winter Soldier's stunning developments took down S.H.I.E.L.D., Grant shot those two dudes in the elevator in the back of their heads, did away with Victoria Hand and killed the poor goofy guy (aka Eric Koenig) at the secret Providence facility. OK, Eric has a twin brother, but still. And what about dumping Friz and Simmons in the middle of the ocean!
“You're not part of the 'Stand With Ward' team, I see,” said Dalton.
I have to admit I'm not quite ready to join the #StandWithWard movement, the fans who believe Grant can be redeemed, and who have debated it at length on the web.
“I think the writers did a really good job, because nobody saw that coming,” he said. “We got to see a lot of his backstory last season, which I thought helped explain why he's made some of the choices that he's made. He had a really troubled past, really difficult stuff, I think, for any child to deal with. Not a lot of love in that family, and a really competitive, almost abusive relationship with the brothers. There was a whole episode called 'The Well' where there's all these flashbacks because of this Berserker Staff that elicits all this rage ... you get hints of how he made the decision to stand up for himself, and then of course, when Agent Garrett comes along, he opens this door. He offers this road to not being a victim anymore. I decide to walk through this door and hitch my horse to this guy. Is that the expression? Something like that.”
Does that mean he's not evil? While Dalton is ready to defend his treacherous character, even he admits Grant has a long way to go before he can be redeemed. But according to Dalton, you'd better strap in for one hell of a ride when Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for its second season tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
“As we left season one, I have been captured, Garrett has been killed. Deathlok is a free man. And S.H.I.E.L.D. as we knew it no longer exists. And Coulson is the director. So this is how it's all left. This season, Coulson is trying to rebuild the team. The Hydra threat is not 100 percent gone. So there is still an organization out there that is hell-bent on doing the opposite of what S.H.I.E.L.D. was doing. There's still two antagonistic forces at work here. Coulson, it would seem, is at a slight disadvantage at this point because the S.H.I.E.L.D. that he knew isn't what it used to be, and also the people who he thought he could trust, he's not sure he can trust anymore. So Coulson has an uphill battle here of reassembling S.H.I.E.L.D. to continue on his mission of keeping the bad guys in check,” said Dalton.
Expect the characters to face some major challenges, he said.
“Skye obviously trusted me, so that relationship is now fractured. She's still on the quest for her father. Who knows where that's going to go? She seems to have still quite a bit of drive. There's still something that she really wants out there,” he said.
“And May and Coulson still have their relationship, which is its own thing. It feels intimate at times, but also there's a watchful eye that I think May has over Coulson. And we don't know what is going to happen with Fitz and Simmons, either.”
As for Hydra Grant/Evil Grant/Bad Guy Grant? “I think we're going to see who is Grant Ward without somebody telling him what to do. Without following somebody else's agenda. Who is this guy? What does he actually want? I think he signed up with Team Garrett because he offered a way out of his life, but also he must have been striving for something, and now we see him on his own. What does this guy really want? Who is this guy, really?” he said.
It's a question Dalton -- who's appeared on Blue Bloods, Army Wives and Killing Lincoln -- has been thrilled to explore. Playing Grant Ward has allowed him to play three different parts in one. “There was the Agent Grant Ward, which was a role itself. 'Agent Grant Ward.' That was one thing, and then we got to see that cover and that mask drop once it was revealed that he was in fact a spy. So he's a spy as well.” Let's just call that one Hydra Grant.
“Hydra Grant, yeah. And now we have another whole thing, which is possibly the real Grant. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this character, actually, because he's had a huge arc,” he said.
“It was a big twist, and it's a lot of fun to play somebody who has another agenda, because every scene suddenly has another whole layer to it. You're saying one thing, but maybe you want something else. I really enjoyed it. Plus I got to do all of my scenes with Bill Paxton. Gosh, that was just so great. He really taught me how to enjoy the process. He really just loved working,” said Dalton.
The actor admits he's glad that the writers didn't rush it last season. “I know that when the switch happened, that happened at the end of episode 17, and we still had five more left to go. I remember reading a lot of the Twitter feed and they're like, 'Oh man, this is so great! We want to see a bad guy really enjoy being a bad guy, so let's not redeem him too quickly.' I'm glad that the writers made the more interesting choice that they did last season. So now we have a whole season, potentially, to see where that goes and if he's redeemable,” he said.
“The last season was looking towards the past. This one is looking towards the future. Is he good? Is he bad? Or is he more of a wild card, and does he have his own agenda?” said Dalton.
This season on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “we've got some incredibly exciting stuff. And it's exciting for me. We're introducing a lot of great new characters. … I know that we've talked about Mockingbird being on the show. This is already out there ... Lucy Lawless is already part of the show. We've got some new characters and new flavors to our show coming on. I think it's really exciting. And word of mouth, too, is helping us out. People are like, 'You've got to tune into this show.' If you stopped watching it, you need to start watching it again, because this is incredible, what's happening now,” he said.
Here's a look at tonight's season-two premiere of Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
What do you think? Is Grant staying evil, or is there redemption in his future? Will you be sticking around to find out?