By Matt Powell
Coulson and his team have entered the second half of their first season, and with their story hurtling forward the series' creators have their eye on the endgame.
Executive Producers Jeph Loeb and Jeffrey Bell, two of the architects behind the ABC hit series "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." recently granted security clearance to Marvel.com to discuss the mechanics behind their development process, insight into fan reaction, and Mike Peterson's transformation into Deathlok.
"[The development process] should be surprising for us as well," says Bell. "If you can see where it's going all the way in the pre-planning, it won't be [nearly] as exciting."
To add insight, Loeb compares their creative process to a cross-country road trip. "That's what a season should feel like," says Loeb. The producer explains the twists and turns of the series' journey should be as exhilarating as arriving at the destination--the last scene of the season. "As you're watching [the series], hopefully [a sense of] urgency has you coming back every week so you can get excited about what's coming up, [although] you may not know exactly what it is that's going to get you there."
With the airing of each episode, the execs gauge the impact the series has among fans, including the ongoing predictions by fans of which Marvel Universe characters will come to life on screen.
"In the pilot [fans were] like, 'Mike [is] Luke Cage, he's Luke Cage!'" shouts Bell, referring to J. August Richards' character, Mike Peterson. "When he [wasn't Luke Cage fans] were like, 'eh, this sucks.'" Now, further into the season, Bell hopes fans will allow the story to develop as the producers envision.
Since the reveal in last week's episode of Mike Peterson assuming the role of cult favorite character Deathlok, Loeb and Bell have witnessed the impact of what they intended all along. "We think that same audience now goes, 'Oh, wow! Deathlok!'" boasts Loeb. "That's the joy of it that you get along the way, so [fan reaction] is something that you work with as you can."
Unknown to most not privy to the secret dossiers of S.H.I.E.L.D., Loeb reveals the inclusion of Deathlok in the series was protocol since the beginning. "If you look at the pilot there's a moment where [Mike Peterson is] standing, turns around and goes, 'This is an origin story,'" explains Loeb. "[Fans] just didn't know what story we were telling."
Complementary to Loeb, Bell wants the series to entertain and appeal to viewers no matter where they fall on the spectrum of Marvelites. "We're hoping the stories we're telling are intriguing on their own because there are a lot of people who aren't die-hard Marvel fans who are watching the show," affirms Bell. "We'd like [features] to be value added for Marvel fans. We want them to dig it and when they hear a name of a [familiar] situation, it's extra exciting, but we're just trying to tell stories that we think are emotional and exciting."