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Rumor: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To Add Another Female S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent From the Comics


Take it with a grain of salt, but we’re getting a hint at a new guest star for Agents of SHIELD, and not only are they a character from the comics, they’re also openly gay.

Latino Review is reporting that Saffron Burrows has been cast as Agent Victoria Hand. Burrows is a veteran actress of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and Boston Legal, no stranger to television work. Latino Review chalks this info up to an unnamed source, and can’t say whether Borrows is in for a recurring role or a cameo.

A recurring role for Hand would be pretty interesting: her biggest claim to fame was being critical of SHIELD management, a position that lead to her swift promotion when supervillain Norman Osborn came into control of the organization. She followed Osborn because she genuinely believed his tactics were more effective than those of previous SHIELD directors. When he was eventually taken down, Captain America appointed her to his New Avengers, a job that would eventually redeem her to the superhero side of the alignment grid. Of course, Norman Osborn is unlikely to appear: as a Spider-Man villain, Marvel Entertainment does not currently control the film rights to his character.

Agent Victoria Hand is also canonically lesbian, and with Burrows identifying as bixexual, this would be the case of a queer actress playing a queer character, provided Latino Review is right. Agents of SHIELD‘s first season was recently renewed for nine more episodes, so it’s possible that Burrows’ casting is part of an end of season event of some sort, and I couldn’t say no to a great inside-SHIELD female villain.

(Latino Review via AfterEllen.)

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  • Mark Matson

    as a Spider-Man villain, Marvel Entertainment does not currently control the film rights to his character.

    Do you know this or just assume this. I ask because contracts are very specific. We know Marvel Entertainment does not control the rights to use Spider-Man and related characters in live action movies, but that does not necessarily mean there are legal problems with live action TV. I’ve never heard anyone ask this question.

  • Mark Matson

    According to one guy on the internet, at least, I’m correct. “We are all familiar with the movies, but what is interesting, is that Marvel actually has the television rights to, ALL their characters.”

    http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/EscapeFromReality/news/?a=80242

  • Elizabeth Wells

    We know at least that Marvel has the *animated* television rights to all it’s characters as seen through the Ultimate Spiderman cartoon.

  • Anonymous

    I think Marvel could use characters like Green Goblin on TV, but since they can’t have any crossover continuity between the TV show & Marvel Studios movies they won’t bother. It’d be extra confusing to viewers since Osborn is going to be in Sony’s AS-M2.They’d use an Osborn expy for anything as important as SHIELD becoming HAMMER so they can freely reference it in the movies.
    Heck, Agents of SHIELD doesn’t even like using Marvel characters that neither Sony nor Fox have any claim to.

  • Erin Treat

    That’s really awesome news if true. I’m still holding out hope for Melinda May though. A regular cast member being gay would be so much better than a guest or recurring.

  • John W

    Sounds interesting. She was in Deep Blue Sea as well.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I’d kind of like it to be Coulson, or one of the guys.

    I mean, there definitely needs to be better representation of lesbians, but it seems like it’s even more rare to have a gay male “action” character (whereas tough action lesbians seems more, er…”easy to swallow” I suppose, for the general public, terrible choice of words aside). The only live action character like that I can think of is the police chief from Blitz.

    Or heck, por que no los dos? Why only one canon LGBT cast member?

  • Ryan Colson

    But didn’t Coulson have a girlfriend?

  • Anonymous

    Saffron Burrows is a name that doubles as a sentence.

  • Mark Brown

    Captain Jack Harkness would like to introduce himself.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Right, knew there was someone I forgot. So…two, then. And one of them was introduced as suave-and-camp (and more omni than gay), and headlined a show that was 90% about everybody sexing everybody.

    Nah, I mean, I heart Jack, who doesn’t. But still. Two.

  • Laura Truxillo

    A cellist was mentioned in passing. Who moved to Portland.

    He’s government, that could’ve meant just about anything.

  • Guymelef

    I am ALWAYS for more gay characters to be represented on television. To be honest, however, it seems to me that there is a far greater number of gay women on TV than gay men. I can rhyme several shows off the top of my head that feature lesbian/bisexual women (The Good Wife, Orange is the New Black, Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, as well as several others). In pretty much all of these shows, the women tend to be well-rounded characters, not merely reflecting the typical ‘butch’ stereotype. On the other hand, I find myself hard pressed to think of recent shows that have prominently featured gay men. The only ones that stick out for me are Glee, Modern Family, and Downton Abbey.

    I also find it problematic how gay male sexuality is presented compared to gay female sexuality. It seems the latter is far more acceptable to depict onscreen than the former.

    So yeah, while it’s awesome that SHIELD might depict a gay woman, I’d rather it was a gay man. Having watched a few episodes of the show, though, I’m finding that less and less likely. As someone else mentioned here though, I’d rather it was Melinda May than someone who will likely only show up in a couple of episodes.

  • Guymelef

    Absolutely agree with this. I was also thinking how forced it might be if they were to make an issue out of the sexuality of a guest or recurring character. How many of the guest actors thus far have had any kind of romantic angles at all? If the only one to have some sort of romantic angle were the gay character, I wonder if it might not feel a bit forced, like “Hey! Look at us! Here we are being all progressive with the gays!” I don’t want to see the gay characters being treated any differently on shows. Unless of course, Victoria Hand is to be a romantic interest for Melinda May. Now THAT would be awesome.

  • Anonymous

    One recent example of a prominent gay male character is Police Captain Ray Holt, played by Andre Braugher, on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They don’t make a big deal out of it, nor do they play it for laughs. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise from a network show.

  • Erin Treat

    I could get behind that for sure! :) Maybe she broke May’s heart when she went over to the bad guys. lol

  • Anonymous

    They also made it very clear that he’d had a sexual relationship with that Peruvian woman, Camilla Reyes.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Ah, I’m, like…way behind. Like, only seen the first episode so far.

    So I’ll do what any Clint/Coulson shipper and spoiler-phobe would do at this point.

    Lalalalalalalla I’m not listening lalalalalala

  • Anonymous

    If this had been announced before the show aired, or during the first week or so, I’d probably be more enthusiastic. On the one hand, yes, more representation would be great, especially on a show as trendy and popular as SHIELD.

    On the other hand… look what kind of characterization we’ve had with the main characters so far. Does anyone REALLY think that any new additions will have some kind of magical improvement development-wise?

    I’m also with Guymelef; it seems like lesbians are more “acceptable” than gay men. Probably because straight dudebros can still jack off to the idea of two hot chicks doing it. So while the lesbians are getting all the love, it’d be nice to give gay guys a wider representation. And NOT in the form of the current fan favorite couples because they are way too aggressive in their support and caving to fan threats sets a dangerous precedent.

    SHIELD-wise, yes, if it has to be someone let it be Ward so we can get spared this painfully shallow and trite Skyeward nonsense. Coulson would be OK, too, and you’d have the additional angle of seeing how “Tahiti” has affected his personal relationships.

    I can’t shake the vibe that this announcement is going to be some kind of cop-out and it won’t be anything fans are hoping for. But we’ll see. Just because they’ve dropped the ball with nearly every character they’ve had so far doesn’t mean they’ll drop it with Hand, too. Right?

  • Anonymous

    I definitely agree with that desire. I’d like it even more if it was a gay male action non-stereotypical type character. On Whedon shows and comics, he does add bi/curious/lesbian women here and there (even Buffy herself had a night of curiosity in the comics), but there is about zilch on the homefront for queer men characters.

    This is one of the things I was holding out hope for with Ward. He’s already so typical young white brunette soldier-y veteran action dude, it’d at least have been an added ‘twist’ of interest to make him, say, gay instead of straight. It would’ve been great to have such a deal as main cast.

  • Anonymous

    I just started watching and was more than pleasantly surprised when the reveal came for Captain Holt. It is done very matter-of-fact and without fanfare, wisecracks, or melodrama/angst. It is something that made me want to stick with the show, because of how well-done Holt is as a character and as a representation of gay man. And a gay poc at that!

  • Erin Treat

    Well actually gay male characters on broadcast TV lead female ones by a 55% to 45% margin (according to glaad it was roughly 50/50 but from updated information in this piece it’s not that good any more).
    http://www.autostraddle.com/glaads-where-we-are-on-tv-shows-best-place-to-be-on-tv-is-behind-the-camera-200127/

  • sooverit

    lets hope the character isn’t a live action stereotype

  • Jim Gordon

    It’s finished now, but the Spartacus series had kickass gay characters.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Ooh, thank you for reminding me. I need to add that to my list of shows to watch.

    *sigh* I keep kind of waiting for some in Boardwalk, but I don’t think they’ll go that far. It’s the 20′s, when “men were men” whatever that means.

  • Jim Gordon

    It’s slow to start but really picks up a few episodes in. It probably has the best representation of gay characters I’ve seen. I think in Boardwalk a gay character would have to be deeply closeted since it’s the 20′s and all.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Well, they give Luciano and Meyer Lansky a few visual cues/interactions that wouldn’t look out of place with a couple (the cigarette scene comes to mind), but not overt enough to be queer-baiting (although there was one odd moment where Charlie spoke very cheerfully of Meyer’s sexual enthusiasm, but that seemed more like an awkward Italian thing). Historically speaking, it’s probably the most accurate way to portray them, since they were so close they made other people uncomfortable, and even Bugsy Siegel said they were like lovers, except for the sex part (Bugsy probably being the only person crazy enough to say that on record).

    But I kinda wish they’d just go for broke and say, “Well, these characters are all incredibly fictionalized anyway. Might as well have some balls and do something unexpected.”

    I…I read way too much about 1920s gangsters and the Kosher Nostra, really…