Comic-Con 2015: Marvel TV Brings Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. & Agent Carter to San Diego
By Jami Philbrick
While Marvel Studios may have skipped Comic-Con 2015, Marvel Television certainly didn’t disappoint when they appeared in San Diego on Friday to a packed Ballroom 20 crowd. Jeph Loeb, the head of Television for Marvel, acted as the host for the panel, which included cast members from both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter. He greeted the audience by saying, “Welcome to the best party you will attend at Comic-Con.” After showing a sizzle reel from season one of Agent Carter, Loeb introduced the cast and crew that included showrunners Chris Dingess, Tara Butters, and Michele Fazekas, as well as actors James D’Arcy and Hayley Atwell.
Loeb began by explaining that one of the challenges of Agent Carter was casting an actor to play Jarvis, a popular character that has been portrayed in the movies by another actor. D’Arcy, who was making his first ever Comic-Con appearance, explained his apprehension to taking the role. “In the pilot, Jarvis is making soufflé, and I can’t actually make a soufflé. So my apprehension revolved around soufflé making,” he joked. “The thing that really sold it to me was when Michele, Tara, Chris and Jeph said, ‘Oh, he’s going to be with her on the missions.’ I’ve never actually had an opportunity to do anything comedic on film before, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but it turns out that I had to just be myself and it would turn out fine.”
Atwell, who has now played the character in four feature films, discussed what convinced her to do the series. “First of all the quality of the writing. We’d seen aspects of Peggy in The First Avenger, so I jumped at the chance. She’s kind of taken over my life in an amazing way. She’s just fearless, and she thrusts herself into situations with such wild abandonment. I love that opportunity and it’s changed my life. I just loved her and I really hoped that the writers would get her right. I was really adamant about that. I read the script and I came out and went, ‘This is amazing!’ I had nothing but compliments. We’re working with such talented writers. It’s like you turn up and read the lines, you don’t have to add anything.”
“Peggy doesn’t need praise from anyone else,” Atwell continued. “She knows her destiny. It’s been amazing to go to conventions and have little girls and boys come up to me saying, ‘I know my value too!’ It gives Peggy really depth. There’s a wonderful scene that I love where Jarvis tells her that ‘you can’t run away from people who want to help you,’ and I think he saw her vulnerability. He’s a gentle spirit tapping her on the shoulder telling her she’s not alone.”
The big news about the upcoming second season dropped when Butters said, “We are off to Hollywood.” The new season will take place in 1947, about 6 months after the last season ended. “Things are different,” Butters explained. “People are in different positions, and not everyone is in New York anymore. There’s some history that we’re not quite sure about. Some people aren’t talking to each other. Then Peggy gets called into a murder in Los Angeles, which was the same year as the Black Dahlia, and that intrigued us.” Fazekas added that Jarvis is already in LA working for Howard Stark, who just bought a movie studio. But whether we will actually see Mrs. Jarvis in season two or not, is still a mystery.
After a brief intermission and recap of season two, Loeb returned to the stage to introduce the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. On hand were the newest cast members, Luke Mitchell, Henry Simmons, Nick Blood, and Adrianne Palicki, as well as the veteran actors, Iain de Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg. The actor who plays Phil Coulson walked on the stage with a rubber hand, a reference to his character’s fate last season.
Loeb began by asking Mitchell about his experience joining the show. “It’s bloody scary! Coming on, I kind of wanted to slip in unnoticed. I just wanted to work as hard as I could. But everyone made me feel really welcome from the start.” Loeb then asked Simmons, “Who is Mac?” To which the actor simply replied, “I’m the guy who kills Gordon.”
Palicki, who has a lot of nerd-cred on her resume, talked about the pressure she felt joining the series. “It’s pretty awesome to play this huge comic book character. There was a lot of pressure coming in. You guys have been very warm and inviting,” she said to the fans. “Thank you! And these guys especially,” referring to her cast. “You guys are like my family.”
After screening a very funny blooper reel that included a lot of dancing, the panel took questions from the audience. Gregg was asked to give his initial impression of Bennet when they first met. “I loved Chloe Bennet from the first moment I met her. She brought everything we needed to make this thing work. We’re so lucky to have this cast.”
Once the Q&A period was over, Loeb explained that showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanchoren were unable to attend because they are in the office busy working on the upcoming season. However, Loeb then played a pre-recorded video of the two sitting around having trouble coming up with ideas for season three. But it wasn’t just a gag, as the video gave several hints to the upcoming season. The writers are no longer allowed to call Bennet’s character Sky, she is Daisy now and every time they call her the wrong name they have to put money in a jar. They tried coming up with code names for Daisy including Aftershock and Quake, which Whedon seemed to like. There were also several stacks of Inhumans comics on his desk in plain sight.
Coulson and Daisy will be forming a new team of super powered people, and they will be called the Secret Warriors. They will also have a new plane called the Zephyr. There was a dry erase board in the background that read, “Who To Kill?” Underneath it had all of the cast’s names, but next to Natasha Henstridge’s name it said, “Already Very Dead!” If you saw the end of season two’s finale, then you know that Jemma’s fate has yet to be determined.
Finally, Loeb announced that the latest Marvel comic book character to be joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be Lash, a member of the Inhumans that was created by Charles Soule and Joe Maduiera.