The series premiere of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting closer and closer, and today, we post another one of our one-on-one interviews from the recent TV press tour.
Today’s focus is on Jeffrey Bell, one of the show’s Executive Producers, and we try to get a few details out of him that you might not be able to find everywhere else.
Our questions to Mr. Bell are posted in bold; his answers are not. And if you need a recap: Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a new ABC television series set in the world of the Marvel Universe. Movies like The Avengers, Iron Man, and Thor all took place in that world, and now there is also a TV component to it all.
[Be warned: SPOILERS for the Agents Of S.H.I.E..D. pilot are being discussed within!]
What is it like to get to work with a character like Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson, and how will the show explore the mystery of his still being alive?
I can assure you that we are going to explore, answer questions, raise new questions all the way through, and working with Clark has been great. We always say there’s two reasons why people love Agent Coulson. One of them is Clark Gregg, who is the real deal; and the other is that it really does feel like us regular people, to have a guy who’s that smart, and that funny, and that casual… he’s a fun character to write. He gets to be the best version of all of us. Because he’s around superheroes, he seems normal, but I think in a normal universe, he would be clearly be a rockstar.
Are you allowed to offer any hints about super-powered characters from the movies appearing on the show?
That’s way above my pay grade. We live in the Marvel Universe. We want people to watch [the show] because of our characters, and there are characters from the Marvel Comics;,some names that we’d love to find a way in, and if somebody comes in from the movies, great. But, that’s way above and beyond us.
Are there any particular characters that have been created for the show that stood out to you as a writer and a producer?
I wouldn’t be a good producer if I didn’t say I love writing them all. They all have unique voices. Jed [Whedon], Maurissa [Tancharoen], and Joss [Whedon] did a great job of creating very different voices for each of them, so it’s very clear where their conflicts are, and how people talk or don’t talk, which makes it really fun to write.
Are there any moments or teases you can offer for anything beyond the pilot?
[Silence, before offering five words] We’re going around the world.
The pilot includes a concept from Iron Man 3. At what point in the process did that come up, to tie it together?
It came up independently, and then we realized that there was a link between what was happening to our character Mike (J. August Richards) and what was happening in the Iron Man movie; there was an opportunity for us to tie it together. This is an example of “wouldn’t it be cool if this guy had this, and this happened, and then an explosion,” and then we go “what if Extremis was part of that?” We talked with the movie guys, so they didn’t feel like we were just ripping off their idea… we worked with Marvel Features on that. It was cool!
J. August Richards’ character “Mike Peterson” shares a name with a character that appeared in a Marvel comic book called Slapstick. Was the name an intentional homage?
No. We found that out later! There’s a whole bunch of characters with other names… some we do intentionally but that was completely an accident.
Will we ever meet Coulson’s cellist?
We talk about her a lot. I’ll just say that.
You can read some of our other Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. interviews here, and don’t forget to check out our dedicated S.H.I.E.L.D. website SHIELDsite.net! Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres September 24 on ABC!