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Agents of SHIELD Creators Talk Sif and May

old gods do new jobs

After a month’s hiatus, Marvel’s Agent’s of SHIELD will return to screens tonight with “T.A.H.I.T.I.” and soon with “Yes Men,” a highly anticipated episode (by me, at least) featuring Jamie Alexander as Lady Sif of Asgard. What’s it like to borrow a cape character straight out of Marvel’s movie universe? On the occasion of the end of their long break, show creators Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon answered some questions for Comic Book Resources and touched on the female characters close to our hearts.

Tancharoen says she was most excited to be able to explore Sif’s character and personality in a way that the movies have not been able to. She’s a secondary character in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, but in SHIELD, as the episode guest star, the audience can “get to know her a little bit more… she has many, many scenes with our characters. Seeing the way she interacts with them, and also knowing her perspective, and why she’s here, and her moral compass — that was very fun, to be able to dive into that.” I’m happy to see that Whedon agrees that the “fish out of water stuff in Thor” were some of the highlights of the film, and says that there will be some of that in the episode, in addition to a bit of Coulson getting to fanboy out.

Why did it take so long to get any familiar costumes on the show? Says Whedon:

Initially, when we started the show, we had to be respectful to the films, so we didn’t want to front-load it with a bunch of characters like that. In the Cinematic Universe, there are so few heroes that live on Earth and are humans, and we didn’t want to all of a sudden say, “Yeah, but really there’s a ton of them.” Now that we’ve spent the time building to it, she can drop into our world without us having to talk for 20 whole minutes, “Oh my god, an alien just landed.” It was different in that we didn’t have to comment on the fact that she has full body armor and that she’s from another planet, because we’ve spent enough time with our people. But it’s also just a great one for the tone, which we like to vary on our show – go back and forth from action to comedy and drama. We got a nice mix of all of it with her, I think.

Tancharoen also commented on one of the show’s subplots that I find to be most interesting: May and Ward’s non-romantic sexual relationship.

It seemed like an organic development to us, because they’re two people who are cut from the same cloth. If any two people on the bus would be in it just for the sex, May and Ward would be the ones who would be capable of pulling that off. Their no-strings attached, compartmentalized way of living — it seemed like it was a likely pair. …It just made sense: She’s super sexy, he’s super sexy, they’re both incredible warriors, and their sex came out of a place of shared pain. It just made sense to us.

As I covered in my recap of the last episode of the series, “T.R.A.C.K.S.,” Ward and May are having tensions within their relationship, but what I like most about it is that the show is pulling those tensions from the differences between the characters, not from preconceived notions about the viability or emotional health of non-romantic sexual relationships.

For the whole interview, including Tancharoen and Whedon telling everybody to stick around for the second half of the season when all the plot chickens come home to roost, and the debut of Bill Paxton’s character, check out Comic Book Resources.

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