Agents of SHIELD at SDCC: Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen

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The Marvel Report had the opportunity to join some of the cast and crew of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD at a press event this week at San Diego Comic-Con, where we had the opportunity to ask the cast and showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen questions about the upcoming season.

We had the opportunity to chat with the showrunners and writers about the direction of the show this season with he inclusion of Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider, and what that means for the team moving forward, as well as ask them questions about whether or not any our favorite agents are going to experience any more heartache this season.

“This year is just gonna be popsicles, waterslides, and Ghost Rider,” Jed said, when asked about why certain characters were killed off last season. You can watch the interview or read the transcript below.

How much of the season do you have in your heads already?

Jed: We have it mapped out. We always start the season with these sort of tent poles and I would say that the first half of the season has a lot more tent poles, but we sorta know how we want to end it and things like that. The fun of writing it is we don’t exactly know how we’re gonna get there, so there’s this sort of path and also these obstacles thrown your way like people getting their own TV show or scheduling, but we have a good idea and we’re pretty excited about it.

When did you decide to put Ghost Rider in the middle of all the action?

Maurissa: The opportunity presented itself and we said YES.

Jed: We decided when they asked if we would like to have Ghost Rider.

Maurissa: When they said we could choose between the different versions of Ghost Rider, we chose Robbie Reyes, because we like to have that sort of dynamic – to introduce the dynamic of a young Latino kid who grew up on the streets of East LA – what will that mean when he encounters our team?

Jed: And also because it’s new, feels new, and we want it to feel fresh and different.

Maurissa: If anything, any man that works on our show is so excited about that flaming car. The car is a big deal.

One of the things I’ve noticed is – you guys seem to torture the fans a little bit with deaths – whenever someone gets happy, you snatch that away from us – how much joy do you get from seeing the way fans react online?

Maurissa: We’re not sitting in the writer’s room cackling. We like to create stories that we are drawn to. There’s something more compelling to us about people who have to go through pain and different struggles in general to come out of the other side. Yes, it does seem that whenever anyone ever has the sort of joy or bliss, we completely take that away from them. Each one of our characters has their version of pain and journey, but that just leads to stronger, deeper relationships.

Jed: It’s a reflection of life. The show isn’t about some wish fulfillment. It’s a spy organization, there are planes and all that, but we also want to have genuine stakes. When a character goes into a fight scene in episode five, you know there are 18 more to come, you don’t really believe that there are stakes there, you don’t really believe that they’re gonna get taken out or anything, but we’re trying to earn the actual fear that something bad might happen to them because it’s a spy show and the stakes are high and we want them to feel high. All these decisions are made with that in mind. For us, we’re drawn to that bitter/sweet. Fitz & Simmons feels so good, because other people haven’t had that. We think the show is more rewarding because of it. Earlier in the panel, there was a little boy who couldn’t have been between 6 or 7 and he asked, “When did you have the feeling to kill Ward and Lincoln?” It was just heartbreaking.

Maurissa: We’re now new parents. Our daughter is 14 months old and that kid just…

Jed: “My heart isn’t even full sized yet and you broke it.” It’s brutal.

Maurissa: We’ll never recover from it.

Jed: This year is just gonna be popsicles and waterslides and Ghost Rider.

Be sure to check out our other Agents of SHIELD interviews with Ming-Na Wen, Iain de Caesetecker, Clark Gregg and Henry SimmonsHead of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb and Jeff Bell.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD premieres on September 20 at 10pm on ABC.

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