Wonder Con 2017 Report: Marvel’s Agents of Hydra (or S.H.I.E.L.D.)

SHIELD or Hydra

Tonight, after over a month’s hiatus, the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return with a new episode, picking up where the last new episode ended on February 21. The spring premiere finds both Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons entering the framework – the alternate reality in which Aida created after being exposed to the Darkhold.

That unsettling world houses former SHIELD director Phil Coulson, current SHIELD director Jeffrey Mace, agent extraordinaire Melinda May, science genius Leopold Fitz and oh-so-much-more than mechanic Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie. Also in that world, viewers discovered in the February 21 episode that Agent Grant Ward was very much alive and was the – GASP! -boyfriend of Skye (aka Daisy).

At this past weekend’s Wonder Con 2017, the entire cast of the show, including Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain de Caestecker, Ming-Na Wen (being escorted in sitting on a wheelchair with a serious brace on one of her legs), Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Mallory Jansen and Jason O’Mara – made an appearance on stage joined by executive producers Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Jeff Bell.

After a rousing audience chant – Marvel’s Agents of Hydra (much to the chagrin of the entire audience, I might add) – led by Marvel’s own Jeph Loeb – the cast and creative minds took the stage to answer audience questions. But before that could go very far, an audience member asked about Grant Ward being back and how much she wanted to know why.

Whether this was an audience “plant” or not, it was quickly announced that the packed panel room was going to be the first people to see the spring premiere, which found Daisy and Jemma in a very disturbing world where SHIELD is no more and HYDRA is in control. I cannot reveal any other spoilers about tonight’s much anticipated new episode; however, I can say that every character in the framework is very different from what we know of them in the actual Marvel Universe.

Fans should be prepared to be shocked by many incidents throughout the episode, including a new take on the duplicitous Grant Ward, a stark and unsettling turn for Leopold Fitz and – if it can be imagined – Agent Melinda May is even less emotional in the framework than in their real universe. It should also be noted that the final scene of the episode was received less than favorably by the entire audience so be on the look-out for that shocker of a closing scene.

Once the screening came to an end, all of the panelists – including Brett Dalton, who is back as Grant Ward – returned to the stage for the remainder of the audience Q&A, which basically consisted of many of the cast fielding questions about the changes to their characters in the framework – sorry no spoilers! – as well as executive producer Jeff Bell saying, “the best is yet to come.”

It was also revealed that it was the first convention for both Natalia (who plays Yo-Yo) and Mallory (who plays Aida); and they were both clearly excited by the experience. Lastly, it was Clark Gregg’s birthday and a special cake was brought out to him with the entire audience singing “Happy Birthday” to him.

Make sure to watch the new episode of the fourth season of Marvel’s Agents of HYDRA (or SHIELD) tonight (Tuesday, April 4) on ABC at 10/9c.