“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” is only up to filming episode 2 of Season 3, but already the cast has a lot to share about the upcoming season.
Zap2it caught up with stars Chloe Bennet, Clark Gregg, Elizabeth Henstridge and Luke Mitchell at ABC’s 2015 summer TV press tour party and got them to spill on the “big” time jump after Season 2, what happened to Simmons and how big a role Hydra has to play.
Also learned along the way: Bennet broke her arm filming Season 2’s single take fight scene, Henstridge has big plans for a FitzSimmons kiss and the crew can’t stop calling Daisy Johnson “Skye.” Here’s a breakdown of what’s ahead.
1. There’s going to be a big time jump
A decent amount of time will pass between the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3 — so much so that much of Coulson’s SHIELD team will have come to terms with Simmons being missing. All but the obvious member, of course.
“There’s a big time jump. I feel like everyone’s almost come to terms with it in their own way, except for Fitz,” Bennet explains during a small group interview.
Henstridge says, “It’s Fitz’s mission to get Simmons back. It’s a solo mission. What happened was so crazy and there was no trace of her, that what do you do? She disappeared into this rock that goes to liquid sometimes, but we don’t know why and we don’t know when. I think that the whole team has tried and nothing has worked, so at some point you have to go, ‘She’s gone, we have to move on.’ But Fitz refuses to do that. I don’t blame them, but I’m kind of mad. [laughs]”
2. Daisy and Mack are the new dynamic duo
Bennet will be working with Henry Simmons’ character Mack “a lot more” as they become partners trying to track down Inhumans. “We’re a lot more comfortable around each other this year. It’s like Mulder and Scully, it’s really cool,” she says.
Henstridge notes, “Mack’s always been a bit of a skeptic, so him teamed with Daisy’s very interesting because Daisy’s very gung-ho and gives it a try and very ballsy. So their dynamic is really fun. They’ve got very fun scenes together. They play off each other very well.”
3. Simmons’ destination surprised the cast
Henstridge and Bennet already know what happened to Jemma Simmons, and neither of them expected “Agents of SHIELD” to go in this direction.
“It’s so much bigger than I thought it would be. What it is, I thought about it and was like, ‘How would they do that? How would they film that?’ I just dismissed everything in the realm of this idea,” Henstridge explains. “It’s very cool. It’s very cool.”
“I didn’t guess it,” Bennet says. “I was like, oh, OK, we’re going there. That’s happening now. It will be good.”
4. It won’t take long to find out where she is
Henstridge was filming an episode before she came to the ABC press tour party, though she wouldn’t say whether she first appears in the Season 3 premiere or episode 2.
“We’re now on episode 2, but we will find out,” she answers carefully. “It’s not something that will be strung out too long. I think the repercussions of it will be a huge part of this season, and that will be a bit more of a slow burn, as will the Inhumans, Daisy and Mack are heading up that team.”
5. Lash is 'making a mark' on Season 3
Bennet teased she photos of new villain Lash on her phone, but Marvel swore her to secrecy on the new character. "Lash will be making a mark this season," she says. "He's awesome-looking."
"He's going to shake things up," Henstridge says. "It's going to be a huge spectacle. We're so honored to be able to have him in the show. It's just huge. I can't even explain how crazy it's going to get."
6. Episode 2 is going to be big
"3.02 is definitely one of the biggest episodes we've ever done," Bennet says. "It'll be exciting this season because it's a lot of action, it's a lot of CGI, it's a lot of what makes 'SHIELD' so big, but at the same time the character dynamics have changed."
7. Season 3 is 'less about Hydra'
With no Brett Dalton at the ABC party to tease Ward's Hydra storyline, the rest of the cast did their best to offer hints about where that plot thread is going. Gregg calls Season 3 a "very different ball game" and says "it's less about Hydra."
Henstridge elaborates: "Hydra's different this time. It's been completely dismantled, and Ward's kind of taking it on. He's got huge scores to settle and nothing to lose, so he's a very dangerous character."
That being said, she doesn't think he's stressing seemingly being separated from the rest of the core cast. "I think Brett is having a good time out there, and he'll come back to the fold sooner or later I'm sure," she says.
8. Daisy is getting a new wardrobe
When asked how she thinks fans will cope with Skye's transition to Daisy in the time between Seasons 2 and 3, Bennet says she thinks "the hair cut and the new wardrobe" will win people over. That's right, Daisy's getting a new outfit, and Bennet teases it's a riff of the one from the comics.
Admitting it's something that's "very difficult to go to the bathroom in" -- "They like to limit me from going to the bathroom as much as possible on the show" -- Bennet explains, "It's a really cool outfit, and I hope fans of Daisy Johnson and Quake are really happy with it because we tried to do a nice blend of TV version and comic book version."
9. Viewers will see a new side to Lincoln
Mitchell promises that the Lincoln in Season 2 is going to have changed a lot by the time fans see him in Season 3. "I feel like the Lincoln that the audience was introduced to in Season 2 was a side of Lincoln, and that side of Lincoln was not necessarily a lie or the truth or whatever, but we all put on different faces in different environments, etc," he says.
"I think in that environment Lincoln was very much under the spell of the Inhuman Elders. He played his part in the hierarchy there and he believed in the cause, which then was exposed to be evil. Then in Season 3, it's like, wow, how is he dealing with the events in Season 2? Hence why I was saying he needs to understand where he belongs, who he is and what he stands for."
Even though Lincoln is figuring out where he stands in the world, that doesn't mean he's on a solo storyline. "I think he's definitely on his own journey, but if he wasn't interacting with anyone, he'd be on a different show," Mitchell says with a laugh. "Lincoln will definitely be playing with the other people, but whether he's playing nice or not remains to be seen."
10. Coulson and Daisy's relationship is more equal
Or at least it's more equal according to Bennet. "They're definitely more on a coworker level this year," she explains of their changing dynamic. "It's much more of a collaborative effort, and I think he's really trusted the work that he's put into raising this protege. They're working side-by-side, and you'll see more of Coulson in the field this year and less of the suited version."
Gregg doesn't quite see the shift that way. "Definitely he's giving her a little more responsibility," he says. "She's earned it, and she has a unique perspective on what it's like to be an Inhuman. But if she thinks they're coworkers, she might have to go to her room."
11. Gregg is having trouble with Coulson's robotic arm
"It's such a pain in my a**, this no-hand thing," Gregg says wryly. "It's like a lot of things about Phil Coulson; the reality informs the thing. It's really hard to figure out how to use this prosthetic, and that's what Phil Coulson's going through. It's very difficult to figure out how to take somebody out, and to do that, I'm hoping it evolves at some point."
12. Daisy isn't torn between SHIELD and Inhumans, but Lincoln is
Lincoln isn't adjusting to a post-Jiaying world as easily as Daisy is. Though Bennet says her character is "as loyal to the Inhumans as she is to SHIELD. She's really about making them work together. It's about making it a collaborative effort," Lincoln is taking it a bit harder.
"[Lincoln] feels differently about what he thinks Inhumans' part should be in society. It's going to be a little struggle between both of them to come to terms with what they both think about how Inhumans' roles in society should be," Bennet says. "But then, you know, there's obviously an attraction there and I know they both like each other, so I think that may get in the way."
Mitchell leans into the romance hints heavier, teasing, "I think it's really interesting teaming Mack and Daisy because, especially from my character's point of view, Mack's the character who knocked Lincoln out at the end of the [season], and obviously Daisy and Lincoln have a bit of chemistry going on, so it's kind of interesting them heading up this team and potentially trying to recruit my character. ... Throwing another [Inhuman] in the mix would be really interesting, especially if there's a thing going on between Daisy and Lincoln. They'll [the SHIELD team] be like, 'WTF?'"
13. Constance Zimmer's new character is a good match for Coulson
Gregg teases that one of his biggest challenges in Season 3 is "How do I keep up with an actor as good as Constance Zimmer?" but offers little new info about her character, who is described as the "head of a mysterious new government agency."
"She's a potent ... I wouldn't say doppelganger, but she's definitely got a lot in common with Coulson," he says. "She represents a character who's not someone he comes across every day, who has more in common with him than most other people do."
14. Henstridge was ready for FitzSimmons to get together
Just when FitzSimmons shippers thought their choice "SHIELD" pairing was finally going to get a chance to be a couple at the end of Season 2, the series yanked that dream away from them by having the Kree Stone suck up Simmons to goodness knows where. Henstridge says she would have been happy if her character and Iain De Caestecker's Fitz actually had become an item, though.
"I was reading the finale with bated breath. There was so much happening, I didn't think FitzSimmons would get a moment in there, and then when I saw that, I mean, I struggled to get through that scene," she says. There had been so much build up -- literally 44 hours of build up -- so I felt like we'd earned that moment. I was happy, and I was happy for them to go on their little date."
She also has already planned what will happen if and when Fitz and Simmons do get a kiss. "I'm going to love it, and Iain's going to hate it. I already have so many plans of what I'm going to do to him and if we have to kiss what I'm going to shove in his mouth," she says. "Just anything gross, like garlic -- I was going to say like a worm, but that's rude to worms. Just something gross. It's just a prank opportunity waiting to happen."
15. There really is a Skye dollar box in the writers room
Like showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon joked in their San Diego Comic-Con video, there really is a box in the writers room where people have to put a dollar for every time someone calls "Daisy" Skye. (While speaking with Zap2it during small group interviews, both Bennet and Henstridge slipped up.)
"The writers actually have a box in the writing room, and half of it is a picture of daisies, and half of it is a picture of the sky," Bennet explains. "Whenever one of them refers to me as Skye when they're pitching stories, they have to put a dollar in. There's like $200 in this box."
16. Bennet broke her arm filming that single take fight scene
"We rehearsed on the weekend on our own time and we put in the hours not getting paid just to do it for fun, and it paid off, I think. I did break my arm during that take on camera," Bennet admits. "Then I had to finish the season with a broken arm and do all of the rest of the fight sequences with a broken arm. That was tough.
"I hid it by just dealing with it," she continues with a laugh. "I couldn't wear a cast. I had two hairline fractures in my elbow. I had to have a cast to take on and put off. The hardest one was when I fought May. In Afterlife, I have a fight with May in one of the last episodes, and that one was really difficult because my arm was hurting a lot. My arm was really broken then, and I'm stubborn enough to not let my stunt double do as much as she should have."
"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" Season 3 premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.