Paley Fest 2014: Go Behind the Scenes with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2)

It’s all connected!!

That’s the new tagline for the ABC drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that took to the stage at the Dolby Theatre in the heart of Hollywood yesterday afternoon as part of Paley Fest 2014. The series will be back on Tuesday nights at 8 PM starting on April 1 with seven new episodes set to air back-to-back until the season finale airs on May 13.

Fans of the Marvel Universe should also take note that according to Jeph Loeb, who is one of the executive producers on the series as well as the Head of Marvel Television, shared that what happens in Captain America: Winter Soldier, which opens in theatres on April 4, will have a connection to events that take place in the April 8 episode of the series.

Throughout the moderated panel, run by fan-favorite actress Felicia Day, the packed audience not only got to see the surprising April 1 episode (no spoilers here, though, as we were sworn to secrecy), but they also got to have a behind-the-scenes experience with the cast, which included Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge as well as the creative minds on the show that included the aforementioned Loeb, Jeffrey Bell, Jed Whedon (brother of Joss) and Maurissa “Mo” Tancharoen (Jed’s wife).

Among the subjects that the panelist talked about included:

In developing the series, Jed and Mo had the basic framework of the show worked out in about an hour, including “the Bus” (the aircraft the team uses), Fitz and Simmons (the two talented scientists who are a vital part of the team) and a general map of all the characters. In fact, Mo shared that Agent May started out as Agent Rice, but when they cast Ming-Na in the role they felt it was wise to change her name. They also further shared that Fitz and Simmons were based on the characters played by Casey Affleck and Scott Caan in Ocean’s Eleven.

Jeffrey Bell then shared that they knew where they wanted to go with the show’s debut season very early on and they also know where they want to go for seasons two and three; however, the network has yet to announce if SHIELD will receive a renewal order or not.

In talking about what Chloe’s character Skye really is, since she was classified as an “084” after her birth and now has alien DNA coursing through her body after the ‘save’ that the team made for her after the nearly fatal gunshot wounds she sustained at the hands of Ian Quinn (guest star David Conrad), Chloe simply stated, “I have no idea! They don’t tell us anything.” In that same vein, Ming-Na joked that she would love it if her character, Melinda May, and Thor were actually Chloe’s birth parents so she could film numerous flashback scenes to that time. Clark then joked that he thinks he and Lady Sif (guest star Jaimie Alexander) could be Chloe’s parents.

As for Iain and Elizabeth, they see their characters – Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons – more as brother and sister than as a potential romantic couple (to which the audience seemed a bit disappointed).

The executive producers also shared that Bill Paxton, who has recurred in two episodes so far as Agent John Garrett, will be seen more this season; and they are excited for fans to see fan-favorite actor-comedian Patton Oswalt guest star in an upcoming episode.

There were several fan moments during the audience Q&A where Clark jumped into the audience to retrieve fan art from a fan who brought gifts for all of the cast as well as hugging an excited fan who was very happy to see Coulson was still very much alive. There was also an exuberant fan who had puppets of several Marvel characters with her who asked, almost seriously, who she needed to “shank” in order to get ABC to renew the show. Whoever said Marvel fans weren’t serious about SHIELD really should start paying closer attention.

The debut season of ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ will be back with new episodes on April 1 on ABC at 8/7c.

[Photo Credit: Dominick Dusseault]