Perhaps no fictional coupling in the history of genre television has caused more fan pain or gone through more ups and downs that the duo known as "Fitzsimmons" on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Leopold Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) have been through it all, and now the final season will decide whether or not they get to be happy.
They went from being just friends to Fitz crushing on Simmons to Simmons developing feelings too before being sucked through a hole in the universe. They had momentary happiness only for Fitz to turn Hydra-Nazi in the framework, and then there was space, marriage, death, more space, and now... they have parted again for reasons unknown.
SYFY WIRE talked with one half of this insanely dramatic pairing, Iain De Caestecker, in an attempt to see if there is any light at the end of the tunnel for this fictional couple, as well as other things about the series. It's not all about Fitzsimmons, everyone. (It is, it definitely is.)
I didn't wanna lead with this, but the couple that is known as Fitzsimmons has brought me more emotional turmoil than any other couple in television history. That's not even a question, I just have to say how dare you.
Are you hoping for an apology?
Not really, because I live for it. They're in pain and then you're happy, and then you're married, and then you're dead. I guess I'm just saying that if Fitz and Simmons don't end happily ever after at the end of this final season, I don't know what I'm going to do.
Oh no... don't watch the final episode then. One thing I will say is that as a fan of the show myself and those characters and stuff... I think it's a very satisfying ending for people that stuck with the show this long, in my opinion.
If you don't like it, I apologize. But I think you'll like it.
Was that coupling something that was in the cards from the beginning? I didn't think they were going to do it but then gradually you got the feeling that Fitz had feelings and then it kinda went off the rails from there.
Originally, me and Elizabeth [Henstridge] were really great mates in real life, and we constantly said in interviews, "Oh, they're like brother and sister, they have that kind of relationship, it could almost be incestuous." And then... we kind of didn't find out too much in advance... but I think at the start, we were denying it for so long because it would make it awkward for us to be romantic with each other.
But you get that love story, that's through the credit of the writers and I think, specifically Maurissa [Tancharoen] and Jed [Whedon].
Fitz transitioned through the seasons from a cuddly guy with sweaters who wanted a monkey into this badass who comes in and is just blowing people away left and right. How much of that do you think is thanks to this need to protect Simmons, and to always get back to Simmons? How much of that is him and how much of that is because of this relationship that he's fighting for constantly?
I think the really cool thing about a show like this is that I have the opportunity to get into a character, and that means small moments and long storylines. I suppose that stuff happens quite organically. I think that with those decisions a lot of those are made for you in a good way by the writers. They push your characters — specifically the ones in the S.H.I.E.L.D., which always had the urge to keep the momentum going in new directions for the characters, which is really cool and great for the actors on set.
So I suppose that journey has been quite a slow and gradual one and that's the kind of beauty of having a show run for so long and we're lucky to have it run for six, seven seasons.
I think at the start, if you'd said to me or the writers or producers we would get to that point, we probably wouldn't have thought that. With each kind of decision Fitz is faced with... sometimes I suppose we'd probably surprise ourselves with how we'd react which is a cool thing as well.
It's kind of what the show has done in general, it started as an Avengers spin-off and then slowly, season by season, it's grown into completely its own thing, so it's been like that for every character on the show as a whole. You never know what it's going to do next.
Absolutely, and that is the really cool thing. Each new season felt like you were returning to a character you felt comfortable with, but you know you're going to take them somewhere new and get challenged with some new dynamic... that's just a testament to the producers and the writers I think to not just rest on their laurels.
One of my favorite arcs is the framework in Season 4. When you were playing Hydra-Fitz, were you playing him as a completely different character, or were there any elements of your Fitz-Prime still in there?
There's definitely the Fitz-Prime in there. I think that character is more nature. Nurture versus nature, what happens to that character in his upbringing, he's raised in a very different world, [with] a very different patriarchal figure, and that kind of led him to a lot of his evilness. At the same time, the show is fantasy, but you try to view it in reality, in that context as much as possible. And yeah I think he did have bits of Fitz but it was... I'm not sure how to answer that really. What do you think, could you see the real-life Fitz in him?
I felt like there was some in there, but it was fighting with his father's influence. Also here's Fitz without Simmons, he was presented with different circumstances, so that made it even worse. We watched a character we love making terrible choices.
It's just another example of how much of an impact those two have on each other and how one doesn't work with the other. Without Simmons in his life, look at what Fitz became. There are some other external forces as well but it's just another example of how much they are one and they come as a package.
In this new season, S.H.I.E.L.D. will have to save Hydra. I immediately think that anything Hydra related is going to bring up bad memories for Fitz.
You're right thinking that, of course, Hydra brings up bad memories. I think he always has to be conscious that that is a side of him... a possible side that lives inside of him. Essentially that's something he always has to keep under check in a very vigilant way I suppose.
If somebody pitched you not even a Fitzsimmons show, but, say, here's "Fitz and a Monkey" as a spin-off series, is that something you'd ever wanna do?
I'll tell you what, if somebody came to me and said, "We'll give you a show with Fitz and his monkey..." and Simmons, Simmons would have to be a requirement... but yeah, then, of course, I would jump on it.
At the same time I really do think that as I said to you earlier, I think that they do give these characters a really good send-off. All the characters in the show are very satisfying and I think that they've had a very good journey. And so if it was something that didn't compromise that, and if it was something that extended that story in a cool way, then, of course, I'd be open to it.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues Season 7 on Wednesday nights on ABC.