Agent Grant Ward went to some really dark places in the tail end of Agents of SHIELD's first season. Can he come back from that? We caught up with actor Brett Dalton and he told us his hopes for Grant's future. Plus J. August Richards told us what's in store for the killer cyborg Deathlok. Spoilers ahead...
We were lucky enough to talk to Dalton and Richards about Agents of SHIELD on the red carpet at Entertainment Weekly's San Diego Comic-Con party, and here's what they told us:
We were glad that Grant Ward didn't get redeemed at the end of season one. But what happens now? Are you hoping Grant will find a way to redeem himself in the first episode of the new season? Or will it take longer?
I'm thankful that the writers didn't try to rush that redemption. Because I was reading Twitter as it was happening, and people were loving the turn — but they were also like really... They didn't want it to be redeemed and bought back too quickly. So I was really happy we didn't do that last season. Now that we have season two, we have 22 episodes more to explore that. So I think really the question is, "Who is Grant Ward?" You know, he's done some good things, he's done some bad things. But I don't know if he's a villain or a hero. I think he's more of an anti-hero than a villain. He's somewhere in between.
He killed a bunch of people. He killed Patton Oswalt. Sure, there was another Patton Oswalt, but he killed a Patton Oswalt.
Yes. Look, has he killed people? Yes. But he has also not killed his dog, and witnessed his brother drown in a well, and there's a million other things that have happened. So I think his loyalty was more to Agent [John Garrett] — to Bill Paxton — than it was to Hydra. So I think that we have another opportunity to figure out who this guy is.
So he didn't kill his dog? A lot of us thought he did.
I know. It was supposed to be ambiguous. According to me, he did not. It's open to interpretation, but I'll answer that: No. Because it's irredeemable. You can't kill a dog! If you do that, you're just done. So, redemption arc? It's just going to be dead in the water. You can't kill a dog.
Some of my favorite scenes are towards the end, when Skye tells him 'You're basically a Nazi,' and he's like 'No, no, no, it's not like that.' How is it not like he's a Nazi?
Well, look. Hydra's re-branded, OK? We're getting away from the Nazi thing. We're getting more into the slick beard [strokes his own beard] — we're changing things up. No, I don't know. That was an interesting thing to do. But as I said, his loyalty was more to Garrett than it was to Hydra. So I think that he's still a good guy — and Hashtag #StandwithWard!
I like the part where Ward is under the control of Lorelei, but he's still very matter of fact, saying "I know I'm just an expendable tool to you." He's under her spell, but still a realist.
Yeah, he's smart. He never turns that off. Once you have that assassin brain on, I mean — he's a trained specialist. He's a trained killer. So you know, that's not something you can just turn off.
But he really does care about Skye? That's not just another game?
Those feelings are real. Yeah.
Michael Peterson's son has been rescued now. Is Deathlok going to be basically a good guy from here on out? Can he come back from all the things he did?
Who knows? Mike Peterson, Deathlok, is feeling so guilty for the things that he did. And my dream for the character is just that he would reunite with his son [and] give him a great big hug. Because that's all he ever wanted in the first place. So that's my hope.
Do you think he can repair his relationship with his son, after he got held prisoner in an evil office suite?
You know, the difference between me and my character is that he's very guilty. He feels a lot of guilt about things. So I don't know if he will ever forgive himself for what he allowed to happen. But if it were me, there would be nothing that would stop me from reuniting with my son.
Do you think Deathlok could eventually join the team and part of the SHIELD crew?
Well, I think to be on the SHIELD team, you can't quite have superpowers — to be one of the agents. Hopefully, he will be under the control of SHIELD as a full-blown superhero. Right now, I think he's just trying to get right with himself and find redemption within. That can be a long journey. We'll see what happens.
How far do you think the cyborg transformation can go? Could he have a computer in his brain? In the Deathlok comics, he's got a computer in his brain, feeding him info. And he's always arguing with it.
Right. I think we're kinda halfway there. We don't know the extent to which the Clairvoyant manipulated his body. He's got that metal on the side of his face [and] the eye. So there's no telling how much tech is in his body.
Have you read the Deathlok comics?
I have. I did, to do research for the character. I read various iterations of the character, because there were three. Eventually, I decided, though, that I had to stick with the information that we were using on the show.
In some versions, he's kind of a zombie.
In some versions, he's a zombie. In some versions, he's fully under the control of the machine. In some versions, he has control over the machine. But we're doing something very unique and very specific with the character.
So he could turn into something more like RoboCop, almost.
Well, he was before RoboCop. I feel like Deathlok was the original. Terminator, RoboCop, Cyborg — it all started with Deathlok.
Do you think Deathlok is going to get a love interest? He kind of had a thing with Skye for a moment.
That would be interesting. Making love to somebody with a cyborg leg might be interesting.
I want to see that!
Well, you and me both. I want to do that!