Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. winter finale. Turn back now if you haven’t watched.
As many Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans suspected, Skye is a character from the Marvel universe—just under a different name.
During the winter finale, Skye (Chloe Bennet) finally came face-to-face with her father, who revealed that his real name is Cal (Kyle MacLachlan)—as in Calvin Zabo, otherwise known as supervillain Mr. Hyde. Daddy dearest reveals that Whitehall (Reed Diamond) actually killed Skye’s mother (Dichen Lachman) to gain access to her abilities—abilities he believes Skye also possesses and that will come out if she fulfills her destiny by going to the temple with the Obelisk.
After Coulson (Clark Gregg) murders Whitehall, effectively taking away the one thing the Doctor has been determined to do for years, the duo come to blows. But Skye prevents her pops from killing Coulson, telling Cal to leave. He obliges, but promises he’ll be waiting for her after she “changes” since everyone will then be afraid of her.
Of course, Skye ends up in the temple alongside Raina when the Obelisk does its magic. When it appears to petrify them both, Trip (B.J Britt)—who rushed to deactivate the bombs that would destroy the temple—seemingly destroys the Obelisk, which petrifies him in the process. But Skye isn’t dead. Instead, she shakes herself out of her transformation… literally. As Cal had earlier called her, she’s Daisy Johnson, as in the superhero Quake. If she’s Daisy, does this mean she is not Inhuman, as everyone suspected? It turns out, she’s both, according to executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Get the scoop. (Read our postmortem with departing star B.J. Britt here.)
When did you guys decide that Skye was actually Daisy Johnson?
MAURISSA TANCHAROEN: That was our goal from the beginning. Of course, there are always the series of clearances, but we always knew we wanted to evolve Skye into something else. Daisy Johnson was the main character that we wanted to go for. We got confirmation on that very early on, so we’ve been on that track ever since.
How long has Chloe actually known?
TANCHAROEN: Chloe knew right before she read the script. [Laughs]
Now that Coulson is the director, is this something he already knew or was he in the dark as well?
TANCHAROEN: We’ll be exploring that. With this discovery will come some consequences, especially in her relationships with everyone around her, specifically Coulson.
In the comics, Daisy is not an Inhuman, but you guys hinted pretty heavily that this was an Inhuman story, right down to the mist. Was that all just a red herring or are you putting a twist on the comics?
JED WHEDON: We’ve created a different origin for her, partially because we want to introduce this new other world that we get another glimpse of at the very end of the episode. We merged those two ideas together also because there are such rabid fans out there that if we stick to original story points from the comics, they will smell story points from miles away. Those two factors led us to coming up with a different notion of how she got her powers.
What did you have to do to get clearances for Inhumans, especially since Marvel has the movie coming out?
WHEDON: We can’t really comment on what exactly they want to do or will do. It’s more of the idea that this is a large concept that we get to introduce. It’s the first time that we’re introducing something into the MCU first. So, we’re thrilled about that.
TANCHAROEN: We’re very excited to have the opportunity to start exploring that territory first. As with everything in the Marvel Universe, one affects the other. Everything is always connected. We’ve seen S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization, throughout all the films and now here we are with the series. It’s nice to be the ones to launch that property.
Talk about how this power changes Skye. Is she scared? Can she control it? Is that what you’re going to be dealing with when you come back in 2015?
TANCHAROEN: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve spent a season and a half getting to know Skye as a person and seeing her evolve. Now, at the end of episode 210, we’ve essentially arrived at her origin story as Daisy Johnson. That beginning is directly connected to the loss of one of her dear friends. Needless to say, it’s going to be a very complex, emotional journey for her. We have the ability on a television show to really explore the emotional journey of that. What does that mean now that she has this ability? Does she even want it?
WHEDON: Does she even know she has it? Does she understand it?
TANCHAROEN: Will the people around her understand it? And how that, in turn, affects her relationship with the whole team.
What kind of guilt will Skye feel over Trip’s death?
WHEDON: Even if she didn’t feel guilty, she would always associate this new development with losing him. She will probably feel pretty culpable in the fact that she didn’t do everything she could to stop that from happening.
TANCHAROEN: I think she will feel a certain level of responsibility. He essentially went in after her. There will always be that direct connection.
Why did you guys decide to kill off Trip in particular?
Tancharoen: Oh God, that was so hard.
Whedon: Marvel wouldn’t let us kill the Hulk. [Laughs]
TANCHAROEN: Truthfully, it’s not something we take lightly. It was a very, very hard decision to make, and a heartbreaking one to make. The audience has grown to love Trip and B.J. as much as we have. That is also part of why we knew that his death would have a big emotional impact. You’ve gotten to know him over the course of a season and a half. We always knew with Skye’s origin story that we wanted to compound that with some complex emotional weight underneath it.
WHEDON: At times, on a show like this, we have to remind the audience that anything can happen and there are real stakes and real consequences. But also, just as we’ve said in terms of the origin for Skye, there has to be something there to make it more complex than “Yay!” Because we are a TV show, we can take things on a long journey. It’s so much more rewarding to arrive on that end point when you’ve gone on a real journey with her, which is one of the reasons we love episode 10 and love that moment. You know her so well and you know him so well that you’re having mixed emotions at the end.
TANCHAROEN: It’s just a reminder of the life that our characters have chosen: The life of an agent. Every day they are risking their lives. There are stakes. Trip’s death is a direct example of that.
When you started this series, you always insisted it was about telling stories about ordinary people. How does Skye having powers change that?
TANCHAROEN: We are diving into a new world. The world of Inhumans is a big property that we’ve been fans of for a while. Yes, our tagline is, “Not all heroes are super.” Maybe now are tagline will be, “Not all heroes are super… sometimes… maybe.” [Laughs] We’ve spent a good amount of time with Skye knowing her as a regular person who is up against extraordinary things.
WHEDON: And we’ve seen how the team deals with those situations depending on whether or not they feel there is a great risk or not. They have the index. They treat different people with different procedures. Skye, even this season dealt with Donnie Gill on the boat, had to execute some of the protocols with these dangerous people. Now we’re taking one of our beloved characters and making them one.
TANCHAROEN: It’s not like now that she has this ability that she’s just going to dive right in and embrace it. It’s going to be a process. That is the process that we’re going to lay out in the back half of the season.
How much will Cal be back in the second half of the season?
TANCHAROEN: He’s definitely not done.
WHEDON: We’re huge fans of the character, mostly of Kyle and what he’s bringing to it. It’s everybody’s favorite character to write right now.
Where will you pick up in the midseason premiere? Basically, how soon until we find out what happened to Raina?
TANCHAROEN: You’ll find out in the first episode when we’re back in March.
There’s still a question of what Bobbi and Mack are working on. Is there anything you can say at all?
TANCHAROEN: You will learn about that March.
WHEDON: Stick around. We have a couple mysteries running; that is one of them. The other is who is that guy at the end?
Yeah, obviously that guy in the tag scene is Inhuman. Is it someone you don’t want to specify yet?
WHEDON: We will say that in a day where we’re allowed to talk about a lot of things, that’s one of the things we can’t. It’s one of our upcoming mysteries. It’s very obvious from the end of the episode that we have stepped into a new world.
Is there anything you can say about Ward and Agent 33’s future? He truly cares about Skye, but he has slept with a woman that looks exactly like Agent 33 before. Will that be addressed?
TANCHAROEN: That imagine of her helping him off of the ground and then walking off together is an indication of a very strange connection. They have a similar history in that they’ve followed people who have abused them. We’ll see what happens with the two of them together.
WHEDON: There could be a connection there maybe.
Skye has really taken center stage in the first half of the season. Will other characters come back into the forefront in the second half?
WHEDON: Everybody gets their moment. Yes, we’re answering a lot of those origin questions for Skye and a lot of her backstory, but we will get into getting some more meat for some of the other characters and answering some questions that have long been lingering about some of our favorite regulars.
One of those questions is whether we’ll finally get that Bahrain flashback for Agent May, yes?
WHEDON: Yes, we will learn that story.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, March 3 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.