In the final season of the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., premiering on Wednesday, May 27th, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. find themselves stranded in 1931 New York City, where they must work together to discover and fully understand their mission. If they fail that mission, at any point, not only could it affect their present, but it could also mean disaster for the past and future of the world.
While the actors are saying goodbye to their characters, after seven seasons, Collider got on the phone to chat 1-on-1 with Chloe Bennet about making the seventh season feel fresh and new, how the 1930s wardrobe was significantly easier to fight in than her Quake suit, what has most surprised her about the full journey she’s taken with this series, the character and relationship dynamics she most enjoyed exploring in Season 7, how her first day on the show compared to her last day, and whether she feels fans will be satisfied with the way things wrap up.
CHLOE BENNET: How fun is that? It’s so fun! It was a lot of fun to make.
There’s something so fantastic about the period clothing that everyone is in, and then you still being a bad-ass and doing fight scenes in this beautiful wardrobe.
BENNET: I’m gonna be honest, fighting in all of those like 1930s clothes was significantly easier than fighting in the Quake suit. I was like, “Why do superheroes hide in these clothes? They don’t fit. They don’t make sense. They’re stiff. They don’t breathe. They hurt. These are not the best clothes for superheroes to fight in.” But a flowy dress? Are you kidding? There’s so much room to breathe. I was loving it.
There were never any mishaps, with it getting caught on anything?
BENNET: There was one scene where I shot with a silk-ish green dress, and we definitely had back-ups. For screen purposes, it was harder, but for me, it was definitely much easier to fight in. It was really fun. The hair, I will say, is different because I had nine hundred Bobby pins in my hair. It was really the only time the huge stunt guys would have been scared of me because I was the one with deadly weapons in my hair, flying around, all the time. Usually, I’m the one scared of getting punched by a 250-pound guy, but now, I had the power. It was so much fun. The writers did such a good job with the fact that we’ve had seven years, and how do you make this last season feel fresh and new? It was so fun to see every department step up, whether it was set dec, or hair, or make-up, or wardrobe, to interpret their version of 1930s characters. And then, moving forward, with all of the other decades that we visit, it was like, “What would Deke wear then? What would Coulson be wearing? What would Mack be wearing?” To see what all of the characters were wearing and how different they were was really fun.
This show started out as a seemingly straightforward show about these agents working in a world where superheros exist, but it’s evolved into so much more, with time travel and human robots and space. What has most surprised you about where things ended up, from where they began?
BENNET: What I love about the way that the show wraps up is that they really pay homage to that first season, where not all heroes are super and these are, ultimately, people. They did such a good job with Daisy, throughout the whole series, where they really humanized what having power means, and how that’s a responsibility and how that can be scary to some people. It’s not just, “I’ve got powers? Great! I’m gonna use them to save the world.” There are real human emotions for everyone involved, with what it means to be extraordinary. They really humanized all of the characters, and there’s a little nod to Season 1, at least for me, in terms of how I tried to bring Daisy into a more grounded space, for the last season. She’s been through so much, with each season, whether it was trying to find my parents, realizing that I had powers, dealing with what that meant, trying to figure out how my powers worked, and the resentment of Coulson. There were so many things that I’ve been dealing with, and for Season 7, we tried to bring a little bit more of Skye back to Daisy. She’s more comfortable with who she is. She’s been through a lot, and now she’s okay with that. Really, what she wants to do is be with the people that she loves and cares about, and save the world. That’s where we were, at the beginning of the show, and it feels like where we’ve come back to.
What character and relationship dynamics did you most enjoy exploring, in this final season?
BENNET: I obviously have such a soft spot for the Coulson and Daisy relationship because it’s a special one for TV. Obviously, things are a lot different now, but we started the show when TV was a very different world. If you were a young female on TV, it was pretty much all about who your love interest was, and who you were dating, and what guy you were gonna end up with. And our writers really took a really different approach, in making her not always the protagonist. She stayed true to herself. It was a self-discovery journey for Daisy, throughout the series, and a real discovery of who she was, where she came from, and what family means. There were bigger themes for her that were bigger than just a love interest, which I think was a really special thing, as like a young female. Most of the things I was auditioning for, at the beginning of the show, was for the love interest of this guy. To get to really explore seven seasons, and the main “love interest” for me was this really special relationship with this father-like figure for her, and understanding that family comes in all different shapes and sizes and situations, and it’s really about surrounding yourself with those people who make you feel at home, and it doesn’t have to be a love interest for young women, was really fun. You can find independence and still rely on people, and be strong without that. That really mirrored Clark [Gregg] and I’s relationship because he’s been such a mentor for me, since day one. They really just wrote what was organically happening off camera because Clark and I are so close. I’m so close with his family and his daughter. It just felt so organic.
How did your first day on the show compare to how you felt, by the time you got to the last day on the show?
BENNET: Wow! It’s so funny ‘cause they’re so vivid, and they both feel like they were the same amount of time ago. It’s funny because my excitement, driving to work that day, both days, was the same, which means I’m very lucky. But I’ve definitely come out of this show a completely different person. It’s weird. I’m exactly the same, yet completely different. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s how it feels. As Skye and Daisy grew, I grew alongside them, off camera. Being on a show like this is not a small feat for someone. I was the baby of the show, for such a long time. The first day, I was watching other people do a lot of action, and on my last day, I was doing a fight sequence, the whole day, so that was drastic. It’s pretty surreal, honestly. What’s weird is that I still had the same amount of love for everybody. I feel exactly the same, but also completely different and changed forever, and yet more me. It was just a journey. We’ll never be a part of a 22-episode, seven year long show again. TV is completely changing now. We were part of a dying breed, in terms of television shows. It’s an honor to be a part of such a special experience. I’m obviously in denial about it ending. Four months after the last episode airs, maybe I’ll be like, “Oh, it’s over,” but I think I’m still in shock. Also, this quarantine makes me feel like we’re in some short of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode.
Since it’s impossible to make everyone happy with the ending of a TV series, especially after it’s been on for so many seasons, do you feel that like fans will, at least, be satisfied with where things wrap up?
BENNET: Yes, I do. This is not a Game of Thrones situation. I think fans will be very satisfied with the way that the show ends. There are a lot of endings. There are a lot of people on the show, and there are a lot of ways that it could go. This show has been kept alive by our fans. I think it’s safe to say that everyone was constantly thinking about how to make it more enjoyable, especially for the people who’ve been watching the show since Season 1. It’s part of what I love about it, even down to little wardrobe things for Daisy. For Skye, my color has always been purple, from even the first episode with the purple tee-shirt. Those are little through lines that fans love to engage in, and those are the things that I love to watch in other shows. It’s that thoughtfulness about little aspects that aren’t even spoken about. And so, that’s why the dress at the beginning is purple, even in the ‘30s. It’s still a not to that kind of through line, throughout the whole series. There are little things like that, that I think fans are gonna really enjoy.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Wednesday nights on ABC.