Agents of SHIELD teased it’s Fallen Agent all season, building up to the loss of a regular cast member and SHIELD agent. That cast member spoke out about leaving the show earlier this week, which you can read about: HERE.
The Fallen Agent wasn’t the only casualty of Tueday’s 2 hour finale. The team managed to takedown supervillain Hive, which means that series star Brett Dalton is officially off the show. Dalton has been with the series since the Pilot episode, playing a few characters: Grant Ward pretending to be good, the Real Grant Ward and now Grant Ward infected by the parasite Hive.
Dalton conducted a few interviews this week to talk about his time with the show, what it was like to film the final episode and a potential return.
Excerpts taken from IGN, Comic Book Resources and Entertainment Weekly.
On when Dalton knew he would be leaving the show:
IGN: When did you know that you were officially getting killed off, you know, for the second time this season?
Brett Dalton: Yeah, thanks for bringing that up. [laughs] No, really though, for every significant change my character goes through I have this really long walk to the office with all of the producers. I’ve done it three times now, and I’ve dodged a bullet twice. And this time around, it stuck. And obviously, they only tell me the episode before. I think they do that for a couple reasons, but that’s how it lands. Always the episode before. And so once again I took this long crazy walk. It’s a walk to the principal’s office, really. It’s not fun. And I go there and I sit down and usually one of the first things they say is “Don’t worry, you’re not dead. There’s just a really big change coming. Let us tell you about it.” But this time, they didn’t say that. It was all about what was not said. They did the long nod and the door was closed and there was some more long nodding.
And I knew this day would be coming at some point. As the bad guy, you kind of know your days are numbered and that it’s probably going to happen. But it’s always sad when it actually does. Of course, I love the show and I love what I’m doing, but I’m going to particularly miss the people. Because that’s irreplaceable and that’s something you don’t get anywhere else. I’m going to miss my family.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you find out that Hive was going to die and your time on the show was done?
BRETT DALTON: They called me in the episode before, as they have done with every other significant change this character has had. I have walked what I thought was the Green Mile twice now, and I’ve already done the things like, “Goodbye trailer, goodbye everybody,” as I’m silently walking there thinking this is the end. I’ve sat in that chair and I’ve dodged two bullets. First they told me I’m not dying. “Hey, your character is not dead — there’s just a really big change, and here it is.”
But this time, I walked in, and they closed the door. There was a huge silence. They gave me the nod, because that’s the first question I had. “So, why am I here? Am I dying?” And they were answering that with their silence, really. It was a very emotional half an hour in the room. But everybody here is really respectful with those changes. Everyone was there, the big executive producers, and they handled it very well.
It was an incredibly sad thing, but we’re all here serving the story, at the end of the day. If the more interesting story is that Hive goes, I’m happy to be a part of that narrative rather than Hive sticking around past his expiration date and just hanging out. I kind of knew once I turned that evil that I couldn’t stay there forever. I was really wondering what in the world they were going to do in season 4, because they’ve really upped the ante with his villainy. I guess we don’t have to worry about that now.
On filming the final day:
Entertainment Weekly: How are you feeling right now in the midst of shooting your final scenes?
There are so many emotions. This is not how I wanted to end the day. There was this beautiful shot, which is the last shot of Hive and Lincoln in the quinjet when they’re seconds away from a nuclear explosion, and they’ve both accepted their fate. It’s this beautiful moment. We wanted to end on that. It would’ve been really beautiful, and it would’ve been the last shot of Hive and Lincoln, and it also would’ve been the last shot of our production here. But that’s not how it went, and instead we’re doing a giant fight [scene between Hive and Daisy], which has upped the epic-ness of our fights. This is a fight that’s three years in the making. It’s Skye vs. Ward vs. Hive vs. Daisy. It’s all of this crazy stuff. And Kevin [Tancharoen] is an incredible director — and he’s related to the executive producer [sister Maurissa Tancharoen]. That dude is legit, and his camera work is incredibly special. I’m loving every second of working with him.
Are you happy that you got to at least explore another facet of this character?
Yeah, absolutely. I saw it as almost a reinvention. I’ve gotten to play three remarkably different characters in this show. That’s an incredible opportunity as an actor. If I was on a show about lawyers or doctors, I don’t think I’d get those opportunities. Instead, every season, I’ve more or less gotten to play a different character.
As an actor going to class, to have as much range as possible, I did not know that on my very first big show that I’d get to show that much of my range. I thought when they cast me, I was more or less going to be that guy on the show who’s the boy scout, as some people called him. Little did I know they had all of this stuff up their sleeve. It’s an incredible opportunity. That’s how I saw it. It wasn’t, “Oh shoot, here we go again.” For me, it was always just really special, and they really trusted me with material and big shifts like that. That’s an honor, really. I’ve never wanted to take that for granted.
Was getting the chance to have Hive and Daisy work together, inadvertent or not, a way to satiate SkyeWard fans?
Absolutely. It is the SkyeWard reunion that has been years in the making, but it is the most twisted version of it you can possibly imagine. Every once in a while, there’s these strange overlaps that happen, where you’re like, “Is that Ward coming through?” There was a couple times in season 1 where they’re holding hands and walking through some scenes, then in this very last episode, the hand over the shoulder. There is this relationship there that, in some ways, parallels what SkyeWard had. It’s been a special thing to subvert that as well.
On his death scene:
IGN: Speaking of Hive’s calm demeanor, what did you think of the way he went out? It was quite sentimental, his moments with Lincoln.
Dalton: That was my favorite scene in the whole script. I was very happy that they gave him a moment. Actually both of them – Hive and Lincoln – a moment. I thought that, at that point, what was Hive going to do? Put Lincoln under sway for three minutes until this bomb goes off? What would be the point of that? There was nothing these two people could do. They were in a circumstance unlike anything else. It’s a very unlikely scene between two people who wouldn’t even necessarily be in a scene together. I guess they’d had theirs earlier, where there was a cat and mouse chase scene. But for the most part, here were two people sharing the last moments of their life together. So it was strange to have these two guys together. But it was personal and intimate and vulnerable.
It’s like looking into a fire. Somehow the truth comes out. You’re looking at the Earth, man. It’s so far away. And you’ll get a perspective on things. For Hive, he was trying to change that entire thing and everyone who was on there. And Lincoln has just been pretty much trying to change one person who lives on there. These opposite perspectives come together and both men have time to reflect. I think there’s a great deal of remorse on both of their ends that they weren’t able to achieve that connection and do all the things that they wanted to do. But there was also an acceptance.
Given that Ward did die in the midseason finale, and then you came back as Hive, do you think he had to die at this point?
That was my fear when they gave me the part, actually. As with Ward, too. Once I killed Rosalind, I thought, “Man, his days are numbered. How much longer can S.H.I.E.L.D. stand me picking these people off?” You know, stuff happened on Maveth. [Laughs.]
For Hive, once I got that part, I thought it was a really cool way of playing another whole character that was completely different from Ward — the posture, the clothes, even the way he spoke. All of that was really interesting. It’s interesting, too, to see how people are reacting to that. He’s always in power. Ward was always struggling for power. Yes, he was in power, but also he surrounded himself with these alley cats, these dented cans, and he had a group full of all of the people that nobody else liked or wanted. That was a cool thing, but he was really scrappy. Hive just assumes his power.
I knew that in playing the big, big bad and not the anti-hero that my days were numbered. I enjoyed every second of it. They’ve given me a lot of cool stuff to do, especially in this finale. It was a beautiful send-off. There were some moments in there where I got to go crazy, and that’s every actor’s dream. I really went there, and the director really pushed me. I thought that I could get away with coming in and doing some stuff, and he was like, “No, I want you at an 11. I want it to be big.” I got to show all of these crazy bits of range. It’s been a lot of fun.
On possibly returning to the show:
You basically had nine lives on this show and only used a few. Do you think or hope you could someday come back, maybe for a flashback?
I hope so. I would be back on this show even if they didn’t pay me. Don’t tell them that, but I would simply because I love these people and I love this show. I love what we have here. It feels like my second home. I think that we’re in a world where nobody ever really dies. The whole reason we have a show is because Agent Coulson was killed in one of the movies, and there was this whole fan effort that insisted he was still living. #CoulsonLives.
What I’m saying here is I hope that people will have that same kind of enthusiasm with Hive and start tagging #HiveLives or #HiveSurvives, which is even cooler because it rhymes, and I can get back on the show or maybe have my own show — [laughs] not really. There’s always that possibility, and I think the writers are really good at leaving every door open they possibly can and not shutting any doors.
I truly don’t think Hive is dead even after a nuclear blast. I think the host body that he’s in is certainly dead, because humans can’t survive a nuclear blast, but I think that Hive still exists in particles somewhere in space, and there might be a way that those things come back to earth, and there’s another host body is inhabited. Hive could be this thing you just can’t get rid of; that would be super fun.
Comic Book Resources: In execution, Ward’s death and Hive’s death were very different. Which one was more difficult for you to film?
That’s a good question! Probably Hive’s, and that was because it also coincides with — as far as I can tell — the end of Brett Dalton on the show, which is quite sad. I hope that’s not the case! The tag is ambiguous; who knows! We are introducing some things onto our show, so there’s a lot of open doors still.
I knew I was leaving these guys behind. At least with Episode 10, when Coulson kills me on Maveth, we still had twelve episodes to shoot. Yeah, it was sad — of course I was sorry to say goodbye to Ward — but I was still on the show, and I had a whole new opportunity to play a completely different character, so that’s cool. That was absolutely a silver lining. This was super sad, because it wasn’t the end of one thing and the beginning of something else. It was like, no, this is the end of many things. It’s sad because of that, so it was difficult to do.
Also, the actual filming of it was really weird and awkward. We were attached to harnesses, hanging from the ceiling and kind of floating around in space. It was very easy to be aware of how silly it felt to do that. I think the end result is awesome; I’m very happy about it, but I was glad Luke [Mitchell] was there with me and we could both keep each other in the scene, because otherwise we would have just dissolved into laughter. It’s just so silly to be hooked up to the ceiling and floating in space! So it was hard to do that, then something so serious as the last scene.
Comic Book Resources: At the end of the episode, we see Holden Radcliffe working on LMD technology. As I’m sure you’re aware, LMDs — or Life Model Decoys, as it were — are incredibly lifelike robots. Any chance we could see Grant Ward LMD in the future?
Hey, you heard it here first at Comic Book Resources! [Laughs]
I don’t know! That’s always a possibility. That’s all I’m going to say. Not that that’s true, because — so far as I know — I haven’t gotten any cell phone messages telling me that. But that’s always a possibility. I think the writers do such a good job of keeping these doors open, and you know, I’m not the only person who died on the show. Luke also died on the show. B.J. [Britt]’s character! Powers Boothe! Bill Paxton!
This technology they introduced, what that means — we’re going to have to tune into Season Four to see how that comes about. But whenever there’s technology, it can be used for good, it can be used for bad, it can be used by S.H.I.E.L.D., it can be used by Hydra. Who knows who’s going to get there first and how they’re going to use it? I think whatever the kick, however it turns out, it will be incredibly interesting television. I hope I’m a part of it, but either way I’ll be watching.
I would just like to take this final opportunity to say that, if fans are watching this and do want me to still be alive, they can start tagging #HiveLives or #HiveSurvives. That’s kind of how Coulson got his TV show in the first place, so you never know!