When Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. embarked on its midseason hiatus, it left viewers hanging with one of the show's most exciting developments to date: Skye finally fulfilled her destiny, transforming into something... inhuman. We learned in the midseason finale that Skye is really Daisy Johnson, or Quake, as some Marvel comic fans may know her. And thanks to the literally earth-shattering closing moments of the episode, we know S.H.I.E.L.D.'s take on the character will remain true to Daisy's super-powered alter ego. But how similar is Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. 's Daisy to Marvel Comics' version?
On ABC's offshoot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Skye was a "hacktivist" with the Rising Tide, who fought against the shadowy operations of S.H.I.E.L.D. before eventually joining the titular government agency. Skye knew nothing of her past, having grown up in an orphanage under the name Mary Sue Poots. She soon learns that as an infant, she was classified as an "0-8-4" by S.H.I.E.L.D. when she was discovered in the Hunan province of China; but the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, as well as the entire village, were slaughtered while protecting her.
In Season 2, Skye learned that her father was the psychotic scientist Calvin Zabo, often referred to simply as "The Doctor." They were finally reunited, and Cal told Skye her real name is Daisy. When Raina activated the Diviner in the Kree temple in the midseason finale, Skye's true powers were revealed: she has the ability to generate seismic waves... hence her pseudonym, Quake.
Daisy's origins on the page are drastically different; while she was fathered by a doctor named Calvin Zabo, that's where the similarities end. In the comics, Daisy's mother was a sex worker named Kim Johnson, who gave her up for adoption immediately after giving birth. (No slaughtered Chinese village in sight.) Instead of being transformed into a superpowered being by the Diviner, comics-Daisy was born with the ability to trigger earthquakes. This is because Daisy was originally conceived as a mutant, not an Inhuman — that part of Skye's story is a drastic departure.
In the comics, Daisy's father has an alter ego named Mister Hyde. Cal created a substance called the Hyde Formula that unleashes a Hulk-like beast from within him whenever the doctor imbibes it. Cal's mutated genetic code is responsible for giving Daisy her unusual powers. This is very different from the S.H.I.E.L.D. version of these characters. On the show, there's no sign that Cal has superpowers — in fact, Skye's abilities came from her mother , an Inhuman gifted with immortality who was killed during experiments by the evil Hydra scientist Daniel Whitehall.
So why did the S.H.I.E.L.D. writers change Daisy Johnson from a mutant into an Inhuman? This decision seems to have been made largely for the sake of synergy between the show and its big screen siblings within the MCU. Marvel Studios announced their hotly-anticipated Phase 3, which includes a standalone Inhumans film, in October of 2014... right around the time S.H.I.E.L.D. started ramping up its "Skye-is-special" storyline. It seems like Marvel hopes to pave the way for the Inhumans film (due in July of 2019) by introducing the obscure branch of Marvel lore on the small screen first.
While synergy may have been behind this decision, there was also another factor in play: confusion. Showrunner Jed Whedon admitted toEntertainment Weekly that one of the main reasons he wanted to change Daisy's origins was to throw savvy viewers off the scent: "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." Mission accomplished, Mr. Whedon; I'd say we were all plenty confused.
Images: Kelsey McNeal/ABC (2); believe-in-chemistry/tumblr