Inhumans, the government, relationship changes, a new villain — it’s all part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s third season, and it’s all represented in EW’s exclusive first look at the never-before-seen art which pays a homage to the well-known Secret Warrior comic cover featuring Quake. Fans attending WonderCon can grab the exclusive poster at the panel, and also by attending the cast signing.
“It feels to me like there’s a couple of things going on here, and one of them is that Coulson has returned sort of changed from what happened on the other planet,” executive producer Jeff Bell tells EW of the piece, illustrated by Mike McKone (Amazing Spider-Man, New Avengers), with colors by Jason Keith (Death of Wolverine). “And though externally he’s acting like it’s no big deal, I think we see him feeling like, ‘What did I do,’ ‘Was it the right thing to do,’ ‘Is this my fault’ … all those questions. And so there’s a big emotional component going on. And for Daisy, it’s more of a stepping-up. It’s what he’s been grooming her for, specifically having so many powered people around. And she’s the person to lead that.” As for the inclusion of Rosalind, Coulson’s gone-too-soon love, don’t read too much into it — her presence is more representative than anything else.
“She really was a big part of the first half of the season and I think her death is the thing we take away from the first half of the season, and certainly what drives Coulson,” says Bell. “She seemed like she should be there with Coulson because her spirit kind of stays with him.”
Two prominent figures featured in the art are the group’s newest antagonists: Hive, the monster who has taken over the human formerly known as Grant Ward, and Hydra boss Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe). “We have told you who Ward’s become, and Hive is the person that Malick is really in a relationship with. So the fact that reflection is on him or in him or around him s pretty potent,” says Bell. And that may be only the beginning of what Malick will be dealing with going forward. “For Malick it’s, ‘Hey, look, I’ve been worshipping the devil all my life, and now he’s here. So now what?’ That’s an interesting dilemma,” teases the executive producer.
The poster also highlights most of the key moments that played a role in shaping the first half of the season, including the breaking (and re-forging) of certain relationships. “The question is, ‘We like each other, but there’s this other guy, and he was possessed by a monster, and instead of saving him I killed him, and how do I feel about that?’ And so they need to figure that out, but they’re trying not to just go back to square one of, ‘We’re going to be awkward again,’ ” Bell says of Fitz and Simmons, who shared a kiss last season but are now treading the awkward aftermath of Coulson and Fitz’s journey to another planet. “And Bobbi and Hunter are a couple and you see them together, but sometimes it’s not so much about love, but it’s also about the relationship and how this person affects you. So the fact that Andrew is now Lash means there’s still strong emotional complications for May.” As for Daisy being front and center? “Let’s not take a super strong female character and reduce her to being a part of a relationship where she won’t be fulfilled until she finds her man,” says Bell.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. WonderCon panel will take place Saturday, Marxh 26 at 2 p.m. in Room 408AB. The cast signing will follow afterwards at 4 p.m. in a private signing room.