When we last left our heroes, they existed merely as a tentative character outline filled with very Whedonesque names and personality blurbs. Now, Ming-Na is the first to be cast, taking on the role of Agent Melinda May, previously known to us as Althea Rice.
You may remember Ming-Na best, or at least most recently, as Camile Wray from Stargate Universe, one of the better characters from that gone-too-soon series. Okay, so maybe Chloe was the only bad character, but still. It’s nice to see SGU actors reappearing on high-profile shows.
If you’re somehow reading this from the perspective of a gamer with no other entertainment interests, Ming-Na was Aki Ross in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and also appeared as Chun Li opposite of Jean Claude Van Damme and the late, great Raul Julia in Street Fighter: The Movie. Oh, memories! Memories we’ll never be rid of!
I’m just glad that her nickname “The Calvary” wasn’t changed. Now excuse me while I go steal it for one of my XCOM characters.
Oh yeah, and Agent Coulson is returning. Or reanimating, depending on the context. My money’s on robot, but only because vampires are done.
As you’re already aware (right?), Avengers was kind of successful at the box office. Not only did all those truckloads of money immediately greenlight a sequel, but it also virtually guaranteed additional films in the personal franchises of each individual superhero… plus a TV series on ABC based around S.H.I.E.L.D. and their somewhat less superheroic agents.
Well, that new series, written and directed by Joss Whedon himself, is inching ever closer to its pilot, and a character list has just emerged to whet our appetites.
SKYE | This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident — with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.
AGENT GRANT WARD | Quite the physical specimen and “cool under fire,” he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He’s a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he’s the kind of guy that grows on you.
AGENT ALTHEA RICE | Also known as “The Calvary,” this hard-core soldier has crazy skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.
AGENT LEO FITZ and AGENT JEMMA SIMMONS | These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies — she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.
Of course, all preliminary character outlines read pretty dry. Just keep in mind that this is a Whedon joint, which means that not only will there be layers here beyond anything a quick rundown can deal with, but we’re also in very real danger of losing one or more of the names on this list before the opening credits roll.
Finally, it just wouldn’t be a new show article without a little fantasy casting, and with Joss Whedon’s name attached that scores us a built-in stable of actors to work with. Not that we automatically assume he’ll just give jobs away to his peeps, but c’mon, let’s be serious: what are the odds that at least one major or recurring role won’t have a degrees-of-separation angle going on?
So here are my picks.
First off, I figure the role of Skye will be given to a new face, or at least someone previously unconnected to Whedon, just to throw us all for a loop. Could be anyone from a relative unknown to an oddball left-field choice (how about *throws dart*Rashida Jones?) or a well-established name returning to television (Alias lead Jennifer Garner?)
Grant Ward will go to someone Whedon’s worked with before, but who didn’t get as much time as others have, such as a Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica; with Whedon on Dollhouse) or an Adam Baldwin (the incomparable Jayne Cobb of Firefly fame), though perhaps both choices are a little too obvious and bordering on typecasting considering their previous outings, especially in Penikett’s case.
Althea Rice would be most interesting coming from an actress not generally known for playing the quiet, vulnerable type. Firefly‘s Gina Torres fits best for my money.
Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons lend themselves a little too well to the most obvious pairings from Joss Whedon’s stable, such as Firefly‘s Summer Glau and Sean Maher, already more than familiar with the sibling routine; Angel‘s Amy Acker and Jonathan Woodward; or even Dr. Horrible‘s Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day.
Chances are that one of them will be a face we recognize and the other we won’t. This would be a great place to insert Felicia Day as Jemma Simmons, while leaving the other seat up for grabs.
Honestly though, I’m just excited that this thing exists at all. Here’s hoping for a successful pilot regardless of the names involved.