The ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back for Season 4, with Hydra obliterated and S.H.I.E.L.D. out of the shadows and legitimized again. There is now a new Director (Jason O’Mara) in place and Coulson (Clark Gregg) is back in the role of agent, teamed up with Mack (Henry Simmons), so that the two can track down and capture Daisy (Chloe Bennet), who has gone rogue in an attempt to protect those she cares about. But with the Watchdogs and Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) on the loose, things are going to heat up, very quickly.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Chloe Bennet talked about what’s been most shocking and surprising, over the course of four seasons, what’s in store for her character this season, the six-month time jump, why Daisy has gone rogue, the evolution into Quake, the Daisy-Coulson bond, Ghost Rider, her hope that Kyle MacLachlan will return, and her wish to see the S.H.I.E.L.D. team get drunk. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: With all of the twists and turns you’ve been through in four seasons on this show, what’s been the most surprising and shocking for you?
CHLOE BENNET: Good question. The most shocking was me just getting to be a superhero. I auditioned for a computer hacker who was anti-government, so turning into a superhero who works for the government definitely was a big surprise. That’s pretty crazy! And it’s just non-stop. I know it’s TV, but that’s how it is for these characters. That’s the reality that they live in because we have 22 episodes to deliver. What I love the most about it is how much the team has still stayed together. It feels really organic. When we started this show, we didn’t know each other and we really were a ragtag group of actors, writers, showrunners and producers. All of us, and more than just the actors, were really getting to know each other. We had a lot of pressure to deliver Marvel’s first live-action series, and because of the success of our show, Marvel has been able to do even more. It’s been really crazy! But, I think the most shocking thing is how far we’ve come. It’s Season 4 and here we are, we’re still doing this, and that’s exciting.
What can you say about what’s in store for Daisy, especially at the start of this season?
BENNET: She’s healing herself in her own way, or at least she thinks she is. What her and Coulson have in common is their empathy for other people and how much they care for other people. I think her way of caring for the team is to distance herself from them, but in that, she is also hurting them and I don’t think she realizes that. She’s going through a real time of growing and learning about what happens in life. She’s never had a family. She’s never had people to necessarily be loyal to. And then, all of a sudden, shit hits the fan and her instinct is to run and go, “I’ve gotta protect these people ‘cause every time I’m around, bad things happen to me, and if I distance myself from the people I care about, they won’t hurt.” But in reality, you can’t choose who cares about you, and I think she is learning that, at this point in the series. She’s learning what it’s like to be in a family, whether it’s good or bad.
What do you feel like this six-month time jump is allowing you to do and explore that you don’t think you would have been able to do without it?
BENNET: That’s a good question. I guess the immediate shock of what’s happened has settled down, and now they’re in this new version of S.H.I.E.L.D. I think it does more for the team back at S.H.I.E.L.D. than it does for Daisy. Daisy is still in a really dark place, which is the same place she was at the end of the season. From an audience perspective, dropping in on the new version of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the new Director comes with new rules, new codes, and a new way of life at the organization. I think that’s going to be really interesting to see and watch. I’m excited for everyone to see that.
Do you know the details of what when on, during the six months that happened off-screen?
BENNET: I do not know specific details, but I am aware of certain things. From where we are emotionally with Daisy, I don’t feel like she’s done much healing. I think for me, judging by the fact that she’s pushing everyone away from her and everyone she cares about and is still in this place of panic, sadness and selfishness.
In four seasons, you’ve evolved from Skye into Daisy and now into Quake. How does this version of the character feel different from what you’ve done before? Are you approaching it any differently, or does it just feel like the next step?
BENNET: It feels organic because we’re shooting Season 4 and there’s a level of emotional and physical exhaustion that Daisy is going through. In her mind, she’s gone rogue and she’s never going back, but I don’t believe Daisy, that she’s going to be able to stay away from S.H.I.E.L.D. It feels natural because I was 19 or 20 when I auditioned for the show, and I’m 24 now, and I’ve had so much growing and learning, particularly with Clark [Gregg]. We’ve had so many talks in our trailers and on set about real-life things and really dealing with the stress that comes with being on a network television show, being an actor, and really handling yourself on set. That’s happened on screen, as well, between Coulson and Daisy. Growing alongside this team of actors who I didn’t know and now I’ve been working with for four years, it feels totally organic that this is where we are. She’s darker and she’s more mature, but she still has this lightness to her, which is what I think her and Coulson will always have in common. But I think you’ll see, at the beginning of the season, how painful it is for her to distance herself from people she cares about. I don’t think she could ever pull a May, in being silent, but she’s going to try very hard to distance from the people that she cares about. I just don’t know if it’s going to last.
She’s lost family, she’s lost friends, she’s lost people that she was romantically involved with, and she’s gone rogue, but is she alone? Are there people she can still rely on, if she needs help?
BENNET: I don’t think she thinks she’s alone. She knows she’s not alone, and that’s the problem. She’s gone rogue because she cares and she so desperately wants to protect the people that she cares about. She feels like she’s the problem, so she’s distancing herself to protect them. Obviously, it’s a combination of different things. She’s been really hurt emotionally by her parents, she’s lost her friends and she’s lost boyfriends, and some of them have turned into Nazis. It’s been a difficult couple of years. I think she’s just trying to protect the people she cares about by distancing herself, but in turn, she’s actually hurting them. Coulson doesn’t show love by distancing himself. He shows love by really being there and not letting Daisy do this to herself. Because of that dynamic, I’m not sure how long it will last. He’s good for her.
Do you think Daisy will fully embrace her own superhero identity, or is she more of an anti-hero?
BENNET: I think that’s really a question that she’s going to figure out this season. Obviously, we have Ghost Rider this season, and he really is the perfect example of an anti-hero and vigilante. In the beginning of the season, they cross paths and I think there’s an internal review with herself where she’s like, “Is that what I am? What am I?” I think that’s the question that she’s going to try to answer, whether she knows it or not, this season.
What is Daisy’s reaction to Ghost Rider?
BENNET: He’s a loner who likes his car, and that’s exactly where we found Skye, when we first met her at the beginning of the show. I totally can see how they would understand each other, in that sense. But, she is different. She’s not Ghost Rider. The bottom line is that she does really care for other people, she wants what’s right, and she wants justice. She has a weird way of showing it, at the moment, but hopefully she finds her way.
Is there any chance, or are you hoping for the chance, that her father will make another appearance, this season?
BENNET: Oh, my god, yeah! I love Kyle [MacLachlan]! One of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever shot on the show was the moment in the hallway with Kyle, where he talks before he’s about to basically get brainwashed so that he can go be a vet somewhere. He tells me, “I always imagined you perfect, and you’re better than I thought.” That was such a great scene. It was so wonderful, and I hope we get to explore that relationship more. With her new identity, I think she could use a little love, in that way, so I would love to do that. And I love Kyle so much that it would be awesome.
We’ve gotten to see Daisy’s powers build gradually, and with that comes action sequences and effects. Are you comfortable with those scenes, the more they evolve, or does it always feel a little bit goofy and awkward to do those kinds of things?
BENNET: Everyone is like, “Oh, it must be so cool to have powers!” It’s really cool to watch on TV, but nothing about it is cool when we’re shooting it. It’s past the point where I’m embarrassed ‘cause it’s my job, but there are definitely moments when we’re shooting stuff in front of large crowds or there’s a lot of extras, and you’re up there pretending to have earthquake powers and you’re going, “Oh, my god, what the fuck am I doing?! I’m dressed as a superhero and there are people truly stressing about making me look like a superhuman, and we’re all pretending and crying and fighting.” You step back from everything and go, “Oh, my god, what is this?! This is insane!” It’s always funny to have those moments and realize how crazy and lucky we are to really just play dress up, all day. The fighting has been so much fun for me. I love fighting, I love the stunt rehearsals, and I love choreography. Anyone on set knows that I take my fighting very seriously, and I actually get mad when they put the stunt double in. I try to avoid it and make sure it doesn’t happen, as much as possible. There are some crazy, crazy, crazy stunts coming up this season, so I’m excited. I just came from rehearsal and I’m incredibly sore right now, so it feels very real.
Who do you think has the best chance of getting through to Daisy that she’s still needed on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, and who do you think she’ll have to work the hardest at repairing her relationship with?
BENNET: I think Coulson has the best chance of getting her to come back, and I think Simmons would be the hardest to get to forgive her for going off and being rogue, the way she has been.
How do you think Mack would feel about it, after having lost Bobbi and Hunter?
BENNET: I think he’s annoyed, but I think Mack would be more like, “You’re done now? Okay, great. I love you. Now, let’s get back to this.” I think Simmons would be more like, “Why would you do this?”
Where are Daisy’s biggest threats coming from, this season?
BENNET: In the big picture, herself. And then, in a very little world picture, we have a group called the Watchdogs who are hunting Inhumans. We saw them at the end of last season, and they continue to be a problem. And there’s always Ghost Rider. There’s definitely a lot of issues there. There are not a lot of great things happening for Daisy.
You’ve talked about how you’d love to see an episode where this team gets together to hang out and chill without all of these crazy things happening.
BENNET: Oh, god, yeah!
So, if Daisy ever had a day off to hang out, what would she do and who would she do it with?
BENNET: I think the reason all these people work at S.H.I.E.L.D. is ‘cause they’re clearly workaholics. I don’t think any of them can chill. But if the world was at complete peace and they were able to relax their minds enough to just relax, I think she would want to just be at the base with the crew. I don’t know. I would love an episode of all of them absolutely hammered to see what kind of drunk everyone is. That would be funny. There are so many versions of that, that I want, so badly.
That would be the most interesting drunk game of truth or dare.
BENNET: Oh, my god, right?! “Okay, let’s see how far you can quake up that mountain.” It would just be really, really entertaining.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesday nights on ABC.