10 Things We Learned on the Set of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5

In space — with terrifying aliens — at least they still have each other, right?

by | November 30, 2017 | Comments

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 (ABC/Matthias Clamer)

Marvel fans have waited all summer to find out what Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing in space. It wasn’t a dream or a Framework simulation. The series’ characters are really in space for season 5, which will also see the show reach its 100th episode.

Rotten Tomatoes was on the Los Angeles set of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, and new cast member Jeff Ward, plus creators Jed Whedon and Maurisa Tancharoen and producers Jeph Loeb and Jeffrey Bell. Here are 10 things they shared about the fifth season.


There’s no specific reference to Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok, but those movies are the reason season 5 is in space. If Avengers characters are going into space, so are the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

“We try to follow in the wake of the films a little bit as they plot new territory in the MCU,” Whedon said. “Last year, that was magic with Doctor Strange. We felt like Ghost Rider all of a sudden fit into our show. This is us expanding out even further into the world of space, which they very much are living in now in the features.”


Previous seasons have paired off S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents with their own dramas. There was Daisy discovering she’s an Inhuman and Coulson and May’s revelations about T.A.H.I.T.I. In space, every agent shares one common drama: How the heck do we get back to Earth?

“This year we have them together, hunkered down, in this new place,” Tancharoen said. “It’s all a mystery to them together. The audience is also discovering where they are alongside the characters.”


You know what didn’t come into space with the Agents? All their S.H.I.E.L.D. databases and weapons are back on Earth. They’ll have to MacGyver their way out of this one.

“We don’t have our resources that we normally do,” Ming-Na said. “We don’t have backup that we normally have, the things that make S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile, May’s got this massive injury to her leg and wrist. She’s not as capable anymore.”


One agent has been through a portal before: Jemma Simmons is being rather hard on herself for ending up back in orbit.

“She’s thinking, ‘Ugh, I’ve done this before. How did I end up here again? That’s just clumsy,’” Henstridge said. “Once, that’s just an experiment, but two is just stupidity.”

The one upside for Jemma is that she got out of this once before. She could be the S.H.I.E.L.D. team’s best shot at getting home.

“I also think she feels a little bit more prepared than maybe other people because she has been here before and she got back,” she said. “I think she’s hoping that what brought them here can also bring them back.”


Ghost Rider doesn’t chase souls to space, does he? First things first, Coulson has to get home, but don’t forget he still owes Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna). Robbie Reyes sure hasn’t forgotten he let Coulson use his powers to destroy Aida, but what exactly did Coulson offer in return?

“The deal he made with Ghost Rider at the end of season 4, that debt will come due at some point,” Gregg said. “It raises the stakes, just raises the stakes on everything going forward.”


Mack had never shied away from a fight, but all bets are off when he’s in space dealing with aliens. Henry Simmons gets some new toys to play with and finally becomes a true Marvel superhero.

“For the rest of the season, they’re kind of ramping up my character to be more of an action guy,” Simmons said. “It’s always nice to have some new weapons to explore.”

But don’t forget, the best defense is teamwork.

“Yoyo’s his best weapon,” Cordova-Buckley said.


Ward joins the cast as Deke, a survivor in the outer space colony. Back on Earth, Deke might be someone S.H.I.E.L.D. captures, but here they may need him to escape.

“I immediately was super drawn to his moral compass, kind of an adjusted one that comes out of his environment and out of a need for survival and a need for navigating an extremely dangerous world that is the only world that he knows,” Ward said. “Morality has different bounds.”

Once you’ve walked a mile in Deke’s space boots, maybe you won’t judge him so harshly.

“He does talk about how it’s easy to be good in a place that’s good all the time,” Ward said. “It’s not easy to be good in a place where sometimes mothers would kill their children to spare them from the lives that are the only lives these people know.”


De Caestecker was working on set this week. Fitz is still on the show. There are new photos of him, but don’t expect to see him in the season premiere.

“It seems like if you were to go off the photos, he might be turning up in space, but he’s not there right now,” De Caestecker teased. “I don’t know if I can say when exactly, but it’ll be after episode 2.”


Whedon and Tancharoen really wanted to do the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. version of Alien, and that meant making the aliens scary. They even scared the actors when they finally saw the creatures added to their scenes.

“It’s very jumpy,” Henstridge said. “I knew exactly what was coming when we watched the first episode and I jumped out of my seat a couple of times.”

“I love aliens too,” Cordova-Buckley said. “I’m terrified of them. It’s kind of fun to now be in a show where the enemy is aliens, and all kinds. I love Ridley Scott’s first Alien so it’s really fun to be doing another world and all of us getting to do that together.”

Simmons even thinks he underacted now that he’s seen the finished effects.

“[Visual Effects Supervisor] Mark Kolpack has his little iPad, he always carries it around, and he shows us what this thing looks like,” Simmons said. “I was like, ‘Man, if I saw that, I’d have been knocking people down.’


You might be thinking all this space stuff is just the cast acting on a green screen stage. Most of it actually exists on set. In fact, they razed existing S.H.I.E.L.D. sets to build the season 5 sets.

“We fleshed out the world in a real way much more than usual,” Whedon said. “They’re acting with real people. The sets are totally different. [The actors] are immersed in the world. They don’t have to imagine it that much. They’re on those sets. We put it a lot more to our production team to build it.”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns in a two-hour premiere Friday, December 1 at 8/7 C on ABC.

Tag Cloud

stand-up comedy comiccon Fall TV witnail Funimation ABC Family FX Shondaland Character Guide Endgame Martial Arts Emmy Nominations television crime drama golden globes stoner Kids & Family 4/20 Travel Channel Lifetime Spike Apple The Witch movies 2018 quibi green book crime thriller cancelled television 21st Century Fox Comics on TV Drama Polls and Games Netflix Creative Arts Emmys DC streaming service indie cults El Rey Syfy Marvel Television Fox News finale DGA political drama Holiday LGBTQ worst biography twilight cooking canceled San Diego Comic-Con Freeform halloween Warner Bros. Trophy Talk Tubi GoT sitcom 2015 robots sag awards Western Spectrum Originals Disney Channel breaking bad RT21 movie Sony Pictures cancelled TV series TV renewals romance Tarantino Apple TV+ Mary Tyler Moore Vudu ABC cops ghosts criterion Disney+ Disney Plus APB See It Skip It zombie YouTube miniseries BET BBC Marvel spinoff Nickelodeon Amazon renewed TV shows Horror Acorn TV Trivia Marathons Writers Guild of America AMC Television Academy Stephen King Super Bowl E3 TNT ITV screen actors guild Countdown revenge nbcuniversal science fiction RT History MSNBC SXSW Netflix Christmas movies BET Awards Tomatazos FXX documentary dramedy USA Network WarnerMedia cancelled VOD Nat Geo cancelled TV shows DirecTV President tv talk best Podcast CBS Action 2019 Apple TV Plus Black Mirror travel blaxploitation binge sequel rotten movies we love TBS Musicals Hear Us Out ratings Captain marvel Paramount 20th Century Fox Pet Sematary WGN universal monsters Mindy Kaling toy story TCA 2017 TCA Awards documentaries Black History Month elevated horror IFC Films Showtime Sundance Walt Disney Pictures facebook period drama spanish language werewolf Ghostbusters Country Extras series 2016 ESPN slashers YouTube Red crime Pirates news supernatural Mudbound spain Music HBO adaptation mutant Best and Worst technology crossover Biopics Emmys Avengers singing competition Comic Book Reality Competition OWN USA thriller foreign Holidays DC Comics Comedy cinemax aliens American Society of Cinematographers BBC One dragons DC Universe kids obituary BBC America Reality rotten History First Look diversity doctor who Valentine's Day Thanksgiving award winner VICE Disney Plus Disney boxoffice talk show screenings theme song cartoon parents First Reviews Brie Larson Pop space OneApp Comedy Central Film Festival TV Land NYCC Rocky PlayStation Interview scary movies composers Heroines Rom-Com name the review natural history Television Critics Association Crunchyroll Amazon Prime Marvel Studios streaming Schedule Grammys NBC Hulu Shudder LGBT batman emmy awards Esquire spider-man 45 sports Mary Poppins Returns CNN Paramount Network X-Men Hallmark dark independent TCA Winter 2020 festivals reviews Winners Opinion IFC animated Photos unscripted Dark Horse Comics TruTV serial killer Winter TV CBS All Access Musical Sundance TV 2020 die hard directors joker children's TV 007 comic Rock satire Ellie Kemper Cosplay romantic comedy Masterpiece Christmas Britbox social media video chucky The Arrangement true crime MTV laika Pride Month cats HBO Go TLC SDCC PaleyFest Adult Swim dogs YouTube Premium Starz Elton John GLAAD Family game show Election A&E stop motion politics Set visit free movies GIFs Awards Tour indiana jones mockumentary Cannes FOX BAFTA Film Pixar E! anthology jamie lee curtis hist classics book hispanic south america Chilling Adventures of Sabrina game of thrones mission: impossible Tumblr hollywood harry potter Columbia Pictures Epix transformers The CW strong female leads superhero Food Network The Purge dc war nature reboot concert police drama based on movie Turner 72 Emmy Awards Sneak Peek Certified Fresh Watching Series zero dark thirty fast and furious video on demand Spring TV anime Pop TV casting Hallmark Christmas movies Sci-Fi Cartoon Network Awards historical drama HBO Max The Walking Dead Turner Classic Movies critics Mystery Women's History Month TIFF SundanceTV Red Carpet 24 frames Bravo franchise justice league 71st Emmy Awards Discovery Channel Lucasfilm National Geographic New York Comic Con Lifetime Christmas movies TV teaser Lionsgate Box Office latino Year in Review Trailer TCA canceled TV shows Rocketman 2017 christmas movies zombies Teen Star Trek blockbuster MCU comics Video Games Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dceu Summer Amazon Studios Calendar Disney streaming service Nominations Anna Paquin Quiz Arrowverse Mary poppins Peacock child's play Universal docudrama richard e. Grant Premiere Dates disaster Superheroe Superheroes Ovation all-time CW Seed Animation Logo Academy Awards Song of Ice and Fire Binge Guide what to watch Crackle psycho asian-american Chernobyl films a nightmare on elm street CMT psychological thriller Infographic Star Wars Toys TCM vampires spy thriller cars Oscars Fantasy YA Classic Film medical drama Amazon Prime Video VH1 discovery PBS comedies adventure FX on Hulu Baby Yoda A24 versus Sundance Now