On the set of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ – Renewal means deeper stories for each character

From the moment you step onto the set of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, the first thing you notice is how lived in it feels, especially the common room that serves as a general gathering spot for the team. The little details are the things that stand out –– the different types of cereals on the shelves, the video games stacked under the TV, even the lamp and clock that look like they've been there since the old SSR days.

It was in that common room that the producers and cast of MAoS sat down to talk about what we can look forward to in the second half of the season, including just what Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) has become.

Before the discussion, however, the press got a chance to see the next episode titled “The Inside Man.” While I can't say anything specific, I can tell you this: you're definitely going to want to avoid spoilers before you watch it. There are a few moments Twitter is going to be talking about. Loudly. Spoiler-erly. I can also say you'll see a little romance, a lot of action, and a use of a gooey substance that led to one of the cast members sounding very much like Kristen Wiig in Ghostbusters.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Talking to producers Jeff Bell, Maurissa Tancharoen, & Jed Whedon, you can tell they're always looking to make things as interesting and integral to the characters as possible. They love their cast. It's clear they're planning on giving them all complex and interesting stories as the show moves forward.

Coulson (Clark Gregg) will continue to battle with his conscience over what happened on the other side of the portal. Daisy (Chloe Bennet) takes on the challenge of becoming a leader. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are trying to figure out everything from their relationship to how the Inhumans actually work. Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) is still dealing with some anger issues. And Grant Ward is Hive and…well, Hive contains multitudes…some might even say legions. All this makes for a good writing challenge.

Now that Marvel's Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fourth season, fans will be seeing the expansion of some ideas the show would've had to wrap up if this was the end of the run. That said, the writers haven't been holding things back or changing things to prepare for outside influences –– including the idea of a pilot for Hunter and Bobbi. They're writing everyone for SHIELD, not events like a potential pilot or Captain America: Civil War.

If I were going to nutshell the discussion, I'd say that you have a lot to look forward to and everything is going full throttle.

The set visit also included interviews with the cast and a deeper look at the VFX (Here's hoping that makes it onto a DVD release in the future. It was cool.). I'll admit that there's not a lot of info about the show itself because, well, spoilers.

However, here's what I can tell you. Ming-Na is just as sweet, funny, open, and beautiful as you imagine. It's obvious that she's having a blast with all of this and her enthusiasm is pretty damn infectious. Though her personality is at odds with her character of Melinda May:

     “It”s tough playing a character like [May] because I”m always having to either justify or understand why she doesn”t go through the process of grieving or go through the process of coming to terms with what she”s done or what happens. There”s that whole denial that also is [her] protection.
     These are tough positions that they”re in and I always equate it to the real soldiers out there and anyone who”s in armed forces…any field that requires you to make very, very tough decisions about life and death and about making quick decisions…I”m glad I just pretend.”

Iain De Caesteker and Elizabeth Henstridge may not be actual scientists, but their relationship is very Fitzsimmons. They finish each others sentences and confer with each other before answering certain questions. They also said the kissing stuff is a little strange because, as De Caesteker said, it's kind of like kissing his sister. But they really are charming.

I'm also pretty sure I've figured out who the troublemakers are on set – Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, and Nick Blood. Those three came out to answer questions and it devolved into hilarious mayhem. Especially Simmons and Mitchell who, I have to imagine, cause more bloopers than anyone. They riff off each other and it's so fun that you totally miss that they haven't answered a question. Sneaky.

Next up, we had Chloe Bennett and Brett Dalton –– and Chloe's two dogs who pretty much stole the show. While Daisy and Ward are super serious on the show, both Brett and Chloe are pretty chill and easy to smile.

The cherry on the sundae for me was Clark Gregg. Aside from the fact that we got to interview him in Coulson's office, (which is just frickin' awesome, by the way), Gregg's authenticity just comes off him in waves. He knows Coulson's in a dangerous place right now and he's as concerned for him as we are, but he also knows that everything that's going on with the storyline right now is incredibly relevant and he's glad that the show doesn't shy away from tougher questions about humanity and ethics. He also wasn't afraid to give a little hint of what's to come:

“We”re definitely coming up on an episode where we”ll meet somebody who has been granted a gift that is, at least, as much of a curse as it is a gift.”

After having spent the day on the set and talking with the cast and crew, it's easy to see why everyone works so well together and I'm looking forward to seeing what Season three will bring, not to mention season four.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD episode “The Inside Man” airs this Tuesday, March 15, on ABC.