The cast and creators of ABC's new series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., took the stage at the recent Television Critics Association press tour and spoke about what fans can expect when the show premieres this fall. Onstage for the panel were cast members Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May), Brett Dalton (Grant Ward), Chloe Bennet (Skye), Iain De Caestecker (Leo Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons). Also on hand were executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Jeph Loeb, Jeffrey Bell and of course, the man himself, Joss Whedon.
Before the panelists took the stage, the audience was treated to a viewing of the show's pilot. For fans who love any of Joss Whedon's other work, they'll be happy to know that the series has his handprints all over it, especially in the witty dialogue and some of the more wacky characters (such as the unique duo of Fitz and Simmons).
Here are 10 things learned during the panel.
When asked how the films will work in conjunction with the Avengers films, Joss said that though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will strive for synergy with the films, they don't want the show to simply become an "Easter egg farm" for the movies.
As much talent as there was on the stage, nearly everyone in the audience wanted to know how much Joss Whedon himself would be involved in the series. Joss said he would be involved "as much as an EP can, who is also making a movie."
Speaking about her character and the relationships between all of the characters, Henstridge said that they were a "team of misfits coming together" and that the show will be about showing how the group goes from "being strangers to family."
The pilot episode for the series has special effects in it that are on par with the Avengers films, but don't think that means they spent a lot of money to make it that way. Bell revealed that the episode looks bigger than what they actually spent on it, thanks to a great team who were great at their jobs.
But just because the series promises loads of special effects, don't expect that the characters will suffer. Bell promised that the series will give fans characters to care about and that, while it will have effects, it will mostly be about those characters.
Everyone knows by now that (somehow) Agent Coulson survived his apparent death in the first Avengers film. Exactly how that happened will be revealed in bits and pieces. While some of that story will appear in the pilot, that will be just the tip of the iceberg.
Wen spoke about how happy she was to be playing a tough character and said that she was almost as proud to show off her toned arms as she had been to show off her big belly when she was pregnant.
Bennet also spoke about her character and while she did admit that Skye was a very big nerd, she was quick to point out that that didn't mean she didn't know how to talk to people. Bennet promised that fans will see Skye "working people as much as she's working computers" on the show.
J. August Richards plays a pivotal role in the pilot, but his character's ending is left open. When asked if that mean that Richards would be back on the series, Joss said, "I cannot confirm or deny if he's coming back, but I thought he was great too, so you do the math."
When asked about how the series will present its stories, Jed said that while there will be an overarching mythology, mostly the show will present its characters with a new challenge every week. Joss added that those challenges will be different, such as a device one week and a mystery to solve the next, and that they wanted viewers to see something different in each episode.
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