It was the largest room available other than Hall H, but it was no surprise that Ballroom 20 was full of fans of Marvel’s first live-action television show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at this past weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC). Lots of announcements were made regarding cast and characters that would make an appearance in Season 2, including Lucy Lawless and Reed Diamond, but they waited until the end of the panel to show this 4 minute clip:
Find out what this means, under the cut!
Well, if the video didn’t make it blatantly clear, or if you can’t watch or hear the video, here’s a quick transcript of the important bits between Agent Billy Koenig who starts off the video and then moves to the left, and Agent Sam Koenig who later appears on the right, both played of course by the awesome Patton Oswalt:
Sam: Bobbi just called in from the safe-house in you-know-where.
Billy: Bobbi? Bobbi Morse? Codename–
Sam: Codename: Mockingbird.
Billy: Did she ask about me?
Sam: No, she didn’t ask about you!
Billy: Did you pretend to be me again? You know you can’t just cherry-pick the calls you’re going to take. Every single time…
Sam: I think she knows the difference between you and me. And she didn’t call for you, she didn’t call for me. She called for Director Coulson.
Billy: Oh… Director Coulson… well, you know that makes sense, he’s smart, he’s powerful, he gets mentioned five times in every conversation…
Sam: Six times.
Billy: He’s got a flying car!
Sam: Well, she just wanted to say that if he needs her, she’s in.
Billy: She’s in. Mockingbird’s in! She said… <excitedly> I gotta prep HQ!
That’s right, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promises to finally debut a character who should have been there right from the beginning. In the comics, Barbara “Bobbi” Morse is an Avenger, a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, and one of the most beloved cult characters (I am showing a little bias here, admittedly) in the Marvel Universe due to her status as a founding member of the West Coast Avengers.
Back at SDCC 2011, Head of Television for Marvel Jeph Loeb announced that several television series were in the works for fellow Disney-owned channels ABC and ABC Family. One of them was Mockingbird, styled as Alias meets Felicity, where a college student is tapped by S.H.I.E.L.D. to become a spy-in-training. While the series never came out of development, it was clear that Marvel already recognised the television viability of their superspy-scientist, and now with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mockingbird can finally make her appearance on the small screen.
As for who should play the as-yet-uncast Bobbi Morse? My money would’ve been on Anna Torv, influenced in no small way by Mockingbird fan bobbimorsebarton on Tumblr, However, the former Fringe actress is currently tied to HBO pilot Open though becoming involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (with the potential to be cast in the films and/or appear in other television series) may be enough of a draw for any actor to jump on board.
My current best guess would be Tracy Spridakos, fresh off her stint on the now-cancelled post-apocalyptic series Revolution, and who’s also showed up in Episodes and the US remake of Being Human, proving that’s she’s capable of handling herself in action roles and genre television.
Other than the big announcement of Bobbi Morse, Codename: Mockingbird that they kept till the end, the panel also revealed three new cast members and the roles they play.
Nick Blood plays Lance Hunter, described only as “a mercenary that Director Coulson enlists”. Hardcore fans of the Marvel UK imprint will recognise the name as being the Director of S.T.R.I.K.E., essentially the UK counterpart of Nick Fury. Though he hasn’t been seen or heard of much since his introduction in the late 1970’s, Hunter recently made a reappearance in the pages of Revolutionary War: Alpha which reintroduced many Marvel UK characters to a modern audience.
One of my favourite actors and Dollhouse alum Reed Diamond, who has played a dozen other smarmy villains you love to hate, has been cast as the season’s main villain Daniel Whitehall, a.k.a. Kraken, a HYDRA agent. A more recent addition to the Marvel Universe than Hunter, Whitehall was created by Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli and appeared in Secret Warriors.
But nothing beats the big news that Lucy Lawless, who has continually and successfully reinvented herself ever since her Xena: Warrior Princess years almost two decades ago, will be playing “veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. agent” Isabelle Hartley, someone described by executive producer Maurissa Tancharoen as “always having a knife by her side”. Most sites have reported that Lawless’ character has no comic book counterpart, but a few have pointed out that dearly departed Agent Victoria Hand (played in Season 1 by the AMAZING Saffron Burrows) was in a relationship with a fellow agent named Isabelle, as depicted on several pages of Dark Avengers #11. Perhaps the Powers That Be heard the fans’ outcry when Hand’s sexuality was never made known in the show? Perhaps this is their way of retroactively making Victoria Hand the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If so, I totally approve.
Season 2 cannot arrive fast enough! It all begins again, September 23rd!