Now that we’ve seen the sixth season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we’ve got plenty of questions. My colleague Trent Moore broke down the highlights from the episode, titled “Missing Pieces,” in his recap. Read that HERE.
Before we go any further, please STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SEASON PREMIERE! Spoilers below, so consider yourself warned.
Now then, series executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell and Jed Whedon talked with SYFY WIRE to offer up some intel on the happenings of the launch of the new season. This trio is famously tight-lipped, but we did our best to extract what info we could
The first topic we addressed is probably the same question most fans had after watching the episode — What’s up with Coulson?
Actually, we should clarify that while Clark Gregg, who also directed the episode, is still on the show, he is NOT playing the beloved and apparently very much dead former agent/director Coulson. Whedon confirmed as much when we asked him if the mysterious mercenary ’Sarge’ is a completely new role for Gregg. “That is correct,” Whedon responded.
“We were all thrilled to see Clark sink his teeth into a very different character,” Tancharoen adds. Bell also brought up an interesting consideration the producers took into account. “It was important that we not trivialize Coulson and the time he had with May at the end,” he says. “And the feelings the characters and fans had, so when we wanted to find a different way to bring Clark back, and when we hit on this, everyone got excited.”
The EPs would not divulge much about the motivations for Sarge and his group of troublemakers, saying it will unfold over the season. “Clark had mixed feelings at first,” Whedon says. “He hated to see Coulson go, but he was excited to play someone new. He directed the first episode, and there’s nothing better than a man directing his own very cool entrance.”
“When you have a bad guy who looks just like the man you just lost, for the team, it brings up so many questions,” Bell points out. “Why does he look like Coulson? Where is he from? What does this mean? Is it a coincidence? That’s really at the heart of this whole story.”
“The whole team is now being faced with a person who is very clearly possibly an antagonist with Coulson’s face stirs up lots of emotions for them,” Tancharoen says, before Bell jumps in laughing, “I love how you managed to say clearly and possibly in the same sentence.”
Another part of the story involves space, and the search for Fitz. The show has jumped a year into the future. Simmons, Daisy, Davis and Piper have spent the past 365 days traversing the galaxy in search of Fitz, whose seven-decade cryogenic nap was interrupted when his ship was cut in half. While we did find out he’s alive in the post-credits scene, what happened to him and where he’s at will be one of the story threads that unravels in Season Six.
The growing tension between Simmons and her three space bound teammates was highlighted during a tense moment in the season premiere. Clearly, Daisy, Piper and Davis want to find Fitz, but they’ve lost hope. Simmons hasn’t. “This will definitely create some conflict between [Simmons and Daisy] that we’ll see play out,” says Tancharoen about Simmons’ rogue decision to jump the team into deep space. We will also explore more planets and learn more about the Confederacy and how Daisy earned her fearsome intergalactic reputation.
“I think its very clear there’s still a connection between the two of them,” according to Tancharoen. “But she…she’s waited around as long as she felt she could.”
“YoYo isn’t the type to wait around and take her time,” adds Whedon. “It’s been a year, and I don’t think she’s moved on, but life keeps moving, and she keeps moving with it. He’s a turtle man, she’s not going to wait for him to go slow. The dynamic’s changed and we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out. But it will.”
When asked about where the series’ timeline stands after Avengers: Endgame, Whedon says they have it all figured out — sort of. “We have a logic that makes sense in our own minds but I’m sure there will be all sorts of Reddit posts with their own theories,” he jokes, before adding cryptically “You have to see how it all plays out this season.”
One thing that appears likely to not happen this season is another appearance by Gabriel Luna as Ghost Rider. Luna is returning as Robbie Reyes for a Spirit of Vengeance series on Hulu, but word is that character will not be linked to the version on AoS. Whedon says they never say never because it’s a Marvel show, but a Ghost Rider reappearance on their show is a long shot.
Before we wrapped up our call, we asked which character changes the most this season. As usual, the answer was cagey, but informative in its own way about what’s to come. “There is definitely a clear answer for that question,” Whedon teased, “but I do not want to say because it’s a spoiler.”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D airs Friday nights on ABC