Warning: The following contains spoilers about the Agents of SHIELD two-part finale…
Agents of SHIELD has ended its seventh and final season, and we had a chance to speak to the cast of the long-running Marvel series about their feelings on shutting down the saga and where all the characters wound up when the series finale’s credits rolled.
At a Zoom roundtable shared with other outlets, IGN spoke to stars Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Ming-Na Wen, Henry Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Iain De Caestecker, Jeff Ward, and Enver Gjokaj, digging a little deeper into the series finale and where every member of the team ended up.
Chloe Bennet’s Final Scene
[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=marvels-agents-of-shield-series-finale-photos&captions=true”]
Though the final episode, “What We’re Fighting For,” wrapped things up with the team all reuniting in a virtual world (sound familiar, 2020?) as holograms, that wasn’t the final scene everyone filmed. In fact, Bennet shared how much she disliked her last day of filming.
“I hated my last day,” she said. “I’m going to be completely honest. I begged for our last day to be the one where we’re sitting in the chairs together. Because of scheduling reasons we couldn’t do that. My last day was actually the entire Quake fight and it’s really hard to shoot physical things when you’re emotional because you’ve got the exact opposite parts of your brain lighting up. And then my last last shot was just very SHIELD, which was me on a green screen, bored, with a bald cap floating in space. Looking dumber than you can imagine.”
“We’d already shot the [reunion scene] earlier on in the episode so I was kind of a wreck,” Bennet added. “I was just broken open from those scenes and then to do the fights and have to lay on a green board, while bald, was pretty odd.”
Daisy Johnson and Daniel Sousa
In the end, we found out that most everyone, except for Fitz (who retired), was still working for SHIELD in some capacity. But for Bennet’s Daisy Johnson, her future also meant a new life with Gjokaj’s Daniel Sousa. A relationship that took Bennet by surprise.
“I was a little hesitant about a love interest,” Bennet explained, “because [Daisy’s] narrative was really about finding herself and her family and her relationship with Coulson and the SHIELD family. This one snuck up on me as Chloe as much as it did for Daisy I think. It’s one of those things where you say ‘Oh, she needed this.’ Not in a way like ‘she needs a man’ but just the way that he compliments her so well. It felt perfect as an ending for her. It took a man out of time to come in and compliment her in this way and she was completely caught off guard by it.”
As for Gjokaj, joining the SHIELD squad was a dream come true. “Jed [Whedon] and Maurissa [Tancharoen] made it clear that they didn’t want to reprise Sousa from the moment he left [Agent Carter],” the actor said. “They wanted to see that time had passed and that he’d continued to advance in the ranks and in his skills. They wanted to see more of a super agent.”
“I got to have the best of both worlds,” Gjokaj added. “I got to continue that character on the trajectory he would have gone on if Agent Carter had gone on and then — when I collected Marvel as a kid I loved the ‘What If?’ comics. This felt like such an amazing ‘What If?'”
Of course, not all of the show’s ships wound up on a happy note. Fans of Coulson and May might be distraught over the two ending up apart. “I think the ‘Philinda’ fans are going to be a little bit sad about the outcome. Again,” Wen laughed. “But you know what? We’ve seen this happen before. So don’t be surprised if you see him resurrected again.”
Agent of SHIELD’s Finale Ending Explained
[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=marvels-agents-of-shield-the-many-lives-and-deaths-of-phil-coulson&captions=true”]
No one knew at the time when the series finale was shot (which was last summer) that virtual connecting would become the new normal in 2020. But that’s how we left things on Agents of SHIELD. The actors all got to be in the same room but the characters were only there as holograms, as part of a video call, each having gone their separate ways.
“I remembering thinking ‘Oh, it’s so sad that they’re not together,'” Cordova-Buckley said. “It’s so sad that they’re now connecting technologically and not in the lab discussing what they’re going to do next.”
Gregg likened the scene to the “Zoom nightmare-slash-reality” we all use to communicate with each other now. “So much of the show felt like life and art bled back and forth,” he said. “Certainly saying goodbye to people you’ve been working with for years — some for two, some for seven — and checking in with them and knowing your lives are taking these different paths. On one hand: Thank God for technology for allowing you to do it, but also there’s a real limitation to technology. That you’re not there hugging. That you’re not there in the way you’d like to be.”
“It was a tough thing to shoot because there were moments when we were realizing it was our final scene together as a group,” Wen shared. “And then it was tougher still because we’d pause and one of us would leave. It’s sort of like what the last scene was in Season 5, when we didn’t know if we were coming back and we thought it was the end of the series. Knowing for sure though, now, that this was the series finale made it bittersweet.”
Mack and Yo-Yo
When the roundtable topic switched to specific characters’ fates, Cordova-Buckley expressed how happy she was for Mack and Yo-Yo. “We’ve seen them go through so much. They’ve sacrificed so much. They’ve given so much to the team. So for them to end up together but also be individuals — like she’s doing her own thing and he’s in command — it feels like the relationship has now settled for ‘MackElena.'”
As for Mack, the Director of SHIELD dons a trench coat at the end that definitely feels reminiscent of another famous Director. “Quite honestly, the original get-up — and everything underneath like the pants and everything, I don’t know if it was intentional — was very similar to Nick Fury. And the powers-that-be were like ‘let’s nix that because we don’t want to have any overlapping. We just want Mack to be his own Director.'”
Fitz and Simmons
For Henstridge’s Simmons and De Caestecker’s Fitz, the ending meant the two characters could finally find their “happily ever after.”
“We’ve been ripped apart so many times and so many tragedies have happened, and you talk about earning moments of happiness for them, and I think they definitely earned that happy ending,” Henstridge said. “And it’s also nice that they still have that conflict between them where Simmons is sneakily staying in the game a little bit and he’s completely checked out for a while. They have their happily ever after but they still have that classic bickering. They’re not perfect.”
De Caestecker mentioned how weird it felt returning to the group after being gone for so long (pretty much all of Season 7). “It was a bit bizarre,” he said, “because I had a bit of time away. A huge part of that too is that [Fitz has] taken a bit of a backseat here as Simmons has gone off and done all the hard work.”
But what of their grandson, Deke? Not around for the final moments of the show, Deke’s exit happened earlier when he agreed to be the one to stay behind in the alternate/altered timeline. A universe where he’ll either be the leader of the remnants of SHIELD…or be a huge rock star. “We’ve been discussing this,” actor Jeff Ward joked, “and I know [Deke’s fate is] a blend of the two because imagine if you found out that Bruce Springsteen was actually the head of the FBI. Like, you’d never suspect it. So Deke’s using his rock star persona as the ultimate ‘hiding in plain sight’ tactic to be running an international superhero policing ring. And then at night doing gigs, using various songs that he’s ripped off and passed off as his own.”
Coulson and Daisy’s Final Goodbye
Coulson and Daisy’s final interaction together is a sweet and supportive one. Daisy lets LMD Phil know that he’s needed out in the world, finding promising young recruits for SHIELD, while she reflects on the moment that Phil first believed in her and how she’s now used that to find a bond with her sister. For Gregg and Bennet, the relationship between their characters mirrors real life as well.
“From the first interrogation scene with Skye, after we pulled her out of her van, there was just something different about Chloe Bennet,” Gregg said. “And the way she has a realness and a fire to her as a performer. There are a lot of great actors to work with on that show but the through line of that relationship, that friendship, that family-type relationship…people say father/daughter, and it definitely has that in it, but I think like my relationship with Chloe it has so many permutations and it isn’t that simple. Where she’s helping and teaching and rescuing me as much as I’m doing that for her. For me, it was that part of the show where I grew the most as an actor and as a human.”
“I don’t think most people have the privilege of having this type of dynamic relationship that you can’t put into any sort of box,” Bennet said. “It’s only something you’d get in an environment like SHIELD.”
Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.