[Warning: this story contains spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Parting Shot.” Read at your own risk.]
Marvel is doubling down on girl power.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the entertainment titan is teaming up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Chloe Bennet to promote the company’s “Marvel Contest of Champions.” And Bennet could barely contain her excitement about her participation in the new program when she spoke about it with Nerdist.
“Marvel is celebrating all the awesome female heroes and villains in the Marvel universe by releasing a plethora of special content across Marvel games and publishing,” Bennet tells Nerdist. “Obviously it’s always women of power on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so this isn’t anything new to me. But it’s really exciting to be a part of this game and they’re releasing three new characters today, She-Hulk, X-23 and Kamala Khan who is Ms. Marvel. And we’re excited to announce that in the fall, I, Daisy Johnson, will be joining the game.”
While Bennet’s S.H.I.E.L.D. character Quake isn’t joining the game for a few more months, she’s looking forward to being able to see herself in a video game.
“I’m so excited to get to fight as Daisy Johnson and not come home with all the bruises that I do when I actually fight on set,” Bennet says with a laugh. “I can fight from the luxury of my own bed. I grew up playing video games with my brothers and you’d always be stuck at the house playing games. But this one is on your phone, it’s on your tablet and you can take it anywhere. So I’ll definitely be on set playing, probably when I’m supposed to be shooting.”
Marvel’s unveiling of Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel, the first ever Pakistani-American Muslim character to headline her own comic book, is just the latest move in the company’s push to shift focus to diversity and inclusion in all its properties.
“It means so much to me. It’s the reason why I’m so proud to be a part of the Marvel community,” Bennet says. “I’m half Chinese and I never thought that I’d be able to be on TV, let alone be a superhero because of who I was. To think that young girls can now turn on the TV and see so much diversity whether it’s on the show or in the game or the movies, I’m proud that they won’t have to worry anymore about feeling like they can’t do something because of who they are or the way that they were born. I’m excited to be on the right side of history.”
Bennet credits Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with introducing the first female superhero on TV in decades with her Inhuman character Daisy Johnson.
“Supergirl [Melissa Benoist] was talked about as being the first female superhero on TV since the ’70s, but really Daisy Johnson was there a season and a half before her,” Bennet says. “And I’m half Chinese, which has never been the case for any female superhero portrayed on TV or even in the movies besides Storm. I’m so proud to be a part of a show that is so diverse whether that’s in gender or ethnicity. Our showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen is Thai and me and Ming-Na Wen are leads of the show and we’re Chinese, and that just does not happen in this industry. It’s so cool, because I always thought that to be pretty meant you had to be blonde. To get to kick ass and play this character and be given these opportunities because of who I am and not what I am is pretty exciting.”
But what Bennet loves most of all is how all the females on S.H.I.E.L.D. kick ass, more than just literally.
“What I’ve been trying to promote is that badass doesn’t always mean more masculine. Strength doesn’t always mean being more masculine,” Bennet says. “Sometimes people mistake that. Sometimes, strength means being vulnerable or nurturing or maternal. It’s really about challenging what badass really means. Simmons [Elizabeth Henstridge] plays an incredibly smart doctor and a biochem engineer, and she’s just as badass and strong as May who is so thoughtful and Daisy, where her strengths are really her vulnerabilities and how she’s able to admit when she’s wrong. Redefining what badass means is, to me, a really important part of women’s history month and being a part of Contest of Champions. And hey, it’s also fun to see these women kick ass in the video game too.”
And S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to need all the badass females (and males) that it can get, since tonight’s game-changer of an episode, “Parting Shot,” saw two core team members leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. in a heartbreaking scene after getting disavowed on a mission gone south in Russia. Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) are officially no longer a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. the show as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. the organization. The two now prepare to set up their own ABC spinoff series, Marvel’s Most Wanted. Their final moment with the team was gut wrenching, as each member, unable to speak directly to the former agents, sent a shot of whiskey to them in a bar for one final toast.
“It was a spy’s goodbye. It was really one of the sweetest moments on our show so far,” Bennet says. “We’ve never seen members of the team who were really close to everyone leave. It was really sad but Bobbi and Hunter did have to go do their own series! I hope fans appreciated it.”
She continues, “I think people will also be excited to see more of the original six and have that team back together. We’re going to be honing in more on those relationships between the remaining cast. This is the part of the season where the show starts cleaning up loose ends and opening new chapters up. After this episode, things really start picking up in terms of craziness. You’ll need some Depends, some adult diapers to get through the rest of this season. There are some shockers coming. Nothing compares to what’s coming next. It’s huge.”
But does this mean Palicki and Blood are done with S.H.I.E.L.D. for good?
“I don’t know, I can’t answer that,” Bennet says. “It really depends on what happens with their pilot.”
The post credits scene in tonight’s episode also revealed that Hydra baddie Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) has a formidable daughter (Bethany Joy Lenz) who’s excited about meeting Hive (Brett Dalton) and is ready to unleash him on the world.
“Yeah, she’s kind of weird, right?” Bennet says of that final reveal. “Hive is going to be a lot more relevant towards the end of the season. He’s going to be affecting the day-to-day lives of our team pretty soon. And there are some fun stunts coming up for Daisy along the lines of the one shot fight sequence we did. It’s very reminiscent of Contest of Champions.”
And while Captain America: Civil War is still months away, Bennet wasted no time in picking sides in the Team Cap vs. Team Iron Man debate.
“Cap! Team Cap!” Bennet laughs. “It’s tricky because she’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent but she also has powers. She’s incredibly torn but we’ve been using the themes of Civil War for a couple of episodes now and it’s really relevant for Daisy as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with powers. At the end of the day, you can’t make people register, you know? It’s crazy! So I’m Team Cap, through and through.”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.