After news of Agents Of Shield‘s Season 5 renewal broke last week, TVLine.com caught up to the show’s co-runner Jed Whedon and Executive Producer Jeffrey Bell to discuss the Season 4 Framework segment.
After some disappointing ratings, the Framework pod appears to have revived the show – maybe enough for the aforementioned renewal.
The Framework, created by Dr Radcliffe’s android assistant Aida, was useful as somewhere to store the Agents who had been replaced by Life Model Decoys. The idea was that once in there the Agents were dropped into a kind of alternate ‘what if’ universe in which a major decision they regretted was reversed.
The premise certainly seemed to catch something in the audience, and has been the most popular of the series.
When TVLine asked if there was a point in the writing that Whedon and Bell realised they had struck gold, the two are open that there really wasn’t.
Bell laughingly comments “we’re writers, so… we hate and are afraid of everything. And then we do our best to not make it terrible, and sometimes people like it”.
Whedon adds “we knew we’d get to play in a new world. So, we knew it would at least be fun… usually that leads to stuff that the audience loves.”
When asked if there was something more going on with the audience reaction than just a novel premise, Whedon says “it was rooted in our own characters’ choices, not to mention characters the audience has spent many years with now…. It was, ‘What if you’d made different decisions?’… It gave it resonance.”
There was plenty of feedback from the cast too – “our offices are right down the studio from the stages, so it was fun to see.” Bell enthuses.
Whedon says they enjoyed seeing the different reactions from the cast. “For Clark [Gregg], it was just so fun to get to play a fish out of water, a bit of a bumbling history teacher. And Iain [ De Caestecker], he was very uncomfortable at first trying to play someone with such a stillness and taking such a dark turn, but he definitely started to enjoy it the more he got into it.”
Bell joins in – “One of the fun things was we got a photo one day — ‘Iain would like to wear his hair like this’ — and we were like, ‘Oh God, that alone is a huge change!’” “It turns out he’s a Nazi. Who knew!” finishes Whedon.
With Agent May’s release from the Framework, the writers had to remember just how much the character had missed. Whedon explains “The last thing she saw was Robbie Reyes…. she had a whole arc that she was not a party to.”
Bell also points out here that the whole character cast had not been together during the rest of the series. There were always people missing. “There have been different variations of them and groups of them and fake versions of them, but that was a challenge for us as well, in terms of that playing in a good way, not in a bad way.”
TVLine asked about what the return of Ghost Rider was about to bring up and what kind of mood he was in. Bell quips “He’s never in a good mood. That’s why he’s Ghost Rider!”
And what is Yo-Yo facing, newly arrived in the Framework?
Bell provides an answer “She woke up where everybody had been, but things have gone horribly, horribly wrong there.” There are also hints there of a difficult decision ahead for Mack.
The series finale is almost here! Bell and Whedon promise that the end will provide a Season 5 teaser.