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Agents of SHIELD Interview: Jeffrey Bell on Returning Characters, Secrets and a Cliffhanger

Find out what the Executive Producer of the show has to say and how the second half of the season will evolve.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is about to reach it's mid-season break. It is the holiday season after all and people tend to get busy with all the festivities. Thankfully we won't have too long to wait for the show to return and we also found out the show's momentum will be picking up.

What can we expect in this week's episode, "The Bridge"? We had the chance to talk to the show's Executive Producer, Jeffrey Bell about the episode as well as try to find out as much as we could about what to expect in the second half of the season.

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COMIC VINE: Let me start out by saying my daughter loves the show.

JEFFREY BELL: My daughter is twelve and she loves the show. As a guy who was working on Sparticus a year and a half ago, it's kind of nice to have a how where your kid and her friend go, "Oh my god, I love that show."

One of the things I love about the Marvel movies is they do that, the kids can love it and hopefully the Marvel fans and the parents of the Marvel fan can all dig it.

CV: How big of a role does J. August Richards (returning as Mike Peterson) play in the next episode?

JB: He's the guest star. I would say it's as big as it was in the pilot. The difference is the place that he's in. Rather than being a down on his luck guy who the world's against, he's a guy who's cleaned up and is working hard. He's trying to prove to our team that sparing him at the end was a great thing. He has a second chance and he's determined to prove they made the right call in doing so.

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CV: Any chance of him becoming a more active part of the team? We see him wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. outfit.

JB: I would say anything is possible. I will say that Coulson and Mike are twins. No, Mike is working with our team this time versus against our team. He's on the Bus with us and he still has his punching powers. It's fun to have a person like that on the team.

CV: The description of the episode mentions Coulson "taking the war back to Centipede." Does this mean the team is being more proactive rather than investigating something after the fact?

JB: Yes. One of the things that I think we're doing, in general with this series, is if we're doing 22 episodes, we're coming to the midpoint of the movie. In the first half there were a lot of what I felt were stand alone stories, but we were actually setting up different pieces of our mythology. A lot of those start coming together now in episode 10. You'll start to see these different things coming together. As our team puts that together, they're going to become more active in tracking those down. There's a little bit of that in 10 but as we go forward, I would say there's more and more of that happening. So rather than, "Oh look there's a thing over here. Let's go see what it is," it's like, "This is Centipede. We have to shut them down. Let's go." I think there's going to be a little more drive and a little more momentum in the upcoming stories because of that.

CV: Will we see more of the history of the Marvel Universe or history of S.H.I.E.L.D. in future episodes?

JB: Uhm…[pauses] Yeah, we explore…I was thinking in episode 7 we went to the Hub, which was part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I don't think it's a spoiler to say we're going to go to S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy and see what that is. We're looking to explore more aspects of S.H.I.E.L.D. Some of it will tie into history or characters that people might know names of from the Marvel Universe, if not Marvel movies. I think we're trying to live a little bit more in that world. I think that's the fairest thing to say.

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CV: Will we see more on the files they have on people with powers (the "Index")?

JB: Yeah, that's sort of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeping an eye on people and things that are deemed potentially dangerous or aberrant or powerful like the dude in episode 5 ("The Girl in the Flower Dress"). We'll reference that and there will be other opportunities for other people to be on that.

CV: Are we going to find out more about Skye's past this season?

JB: Oh yeah! Very much so. Yes. [pauses] We've aired episode 9 and we're currently breaking episode 16. I have 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 in my head. I need to remember where we were. So yes, both the audience and Skye are going to learn more about her past.

CV: Nice. Can you tell us anything about the information that just came out about the new team members in the14th episode? [Casting notices went online revealing "…an African-American agent who specializes in combat/weapons, and a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/munitions expert who has past ties to both Coulson and Ward."]

JB: We like when we bring in characters that knew our characters from a different time. It's fun to see how our characters are different than when they were. We can use these guest actors to see our characters in new ways and to create conflict and tension and sexy sexy within our group as it is.

We're just bringing some people in. I'm not saying we're looking for new cast or anything like that. There are some S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents in many episodes and these two we think will be a lot of fun.

CV: Will we see any follow up on (Graviton) Dr. Franklin Hall [Ian Hart "The Asset"]?

JB: You know, all I'll say is we're aware of everything we've set up. Sometimes it takes longer to pay things off than other times. We're aware of everything we've set up. Our goal is to never set something up that we don't sooner or later eventually pay off.

CV: Then we can expect Victoria Hand to appear again?

JB: I would say that seems fair.

CV: Will you have a chance to write any more episodes? [Bell wrote "0-8-4" and "Eye Spy"]

JB: I'm writing episode 14. Hopefully I'll get time to do one more before the season is done. We have a really good staff and we're sharing the love. Hopefully by the end we'll all have done two or three or four. That's the goal. Right now I'm doing 14.

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CV: You kind of touched on this a little bit before, with the second half of the season, is the direction and tone going to be changing a little bit?

JB: I would say it's evolving. Different pieces that have been set up are starting to come together. When that happens, you start to see momentum. I would say there's going to be more momentum in the back half. Though the stories will still stand alone, they will be connected more emotionally. You might go after a person you already know. If you didn't know who that person was, you can still enjoy that episode but for a loyal viewer, it would feel more mythology or serialized without it being one giant twelve-hour back half of the show.

CV: Do we know when the show is coming back after this mid-season break?

JB: January 7. I think we're off three weeks.

CV: What can you tell us about the big cliffhanger coming up? Does it have anything to do with Tahiti? Anything you can hint at?

JB: I can comment that it is a big cliffhanger and if we're doing our job right, it will tie into one of the things you're interested in or care about. That's about all I can say.

Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday, December 10 (8:00-9:01 p.m. ET/PT) on the ABC Television Network.


Here's a preview for the episode.