In the Season 4 premiere of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., a few of Agent Coulson's former underlings stumbled over his former title while addressing him. The Season 3 finale let the audience know that a new S.H.I.E.L.D. director was in town and that Coulson would be subsequently demoted to his team's colleague, not their boss. The new director is mentioned a few times in the premiere. No one is very fond of him, and Jemma flat-out declares that she doesn't trust him. But who is this mysterious replacement? The newly respectable S.H.I.E.L.D. will trot out its current director during this Tuesday's episode, but you don't even have to wait until primetime to see him. ABC dropped a preview clip of a meeting between Coulson, May, and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new director, Jeffrey on social media, and it's easy to spot where the friction between them lies.
In the clip, May and Coulson are two hours late to meet with their boss. He radiates "understanding guy" vibes and doesn't even scold them for it. Your new director's first name is Jeffrey, the clip reveals. And he's played by The Good Wife and Complications actor Jason O'Mara. Director Jeffrey is selling his chill-ness pretty hard, but he's obviously troubled by Daisy's rogue status and Coulson's inability to be pragmatic about someone he obviously loves. My favorite part of the clip is when Jeffrey nearly makes May's head explode by bringing up the "optics" of the Quake thing, as if they'll agree with him on its importance. Try to think of someone less concerned with public relations that Agent Melinda May while you're watching the full clip below.
The Hollywood Reporter interviewed O'Mara about his new role soon after his casting was announced this summer. And his comments confirm that this short conversation isn't a fluke; tensions between Coulson and Jeffrey will be running high this season. "Obviously, the relationship between my character and Coulson is going to be huge," he said. "It's a power struggle kind of dynamic there. It's going to be huge and important. And whether he was purposely obfuscating or not, O'Mara told the publication that even he doesn't know if his character is a big bad in training or just a frustrating suit. He said:
He could become a villain. I honestly don't know. I don't know where it's headed. I also don't know how long it will last. Usually you go into something knowing how many episodes it will be for, but this is open-ended. It could be good, it could be bad, it could be hero, it could be villain. It could be anything.
In the same Hollywood Reporter interview, the actor hinted that his character, though a new face on the show, is a character whose "Marvel roots go back to the 1940s." And since the new director's first name became public knowledge, fans on social media have been digging through Marvel archives to find a possible match. One popular guess is that O'Mara is actually playing Jeffrey Mace, a former reporter who reinvents himself as a superhero called the Patriot and then is bequeathed a certain iconic shield. That's right: Mace actually becomes the third Captain America in the comics.
Even if this director is the Jeffrey Mace from Marvel history, it's highly unlikely that the new Cap would surface on TV. One thing's for sure: this S.H.I.E.L.D. director has an agenda and some combative employees. This is going to be interesting.
Image: Jennifer Clasen/ABC