Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has plunged its characters into a strange new world, to say the least. The team is in space, and there are a bunch of new characters in Season 5 who are unlike anything we've seen before on the series. Who is Deke on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? The "rogue" is likely just that, and a huge new wild card on the series. The Marvel show is about to get even weirder, basically.
According to an official ABC press release, this season, "Coulson and the team find themselves stranded on a mysterious ship in outer space, and that’s just the beginning of the nightmare to come." While there's a very Firefly vibe to the whole ordeal, the situation that the team finds itself in is a little more sinister.
New recurring character Deke is played by actor Jeff Ward, who you may know from Channel Zero or Manson's Lost Girls. A report on the Season 5 casting in Entertainment Weekly described Deke's character as "the ultimate survivor and rougeish scavenger." So he's a Han Solo type — or, to use a more recent and Marvel comics specific example, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) from Thor Ragnarok. He is also both essential to the team in their moment of need and not able to be trusted. That's a tricky combination.
If you caught ABC's 17-minute preview of the two hour premiere "Orientation," which is no longer available on Youtube, you may have already seen a little Deke. Spoilers for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere ahead. He's the astronaut, or space traveler, who shows up towards the end of the preview footage, which also screened at New York Comic-Con. Looking like he shops at the same space H&M as Star-Lord, Deke first encounters May. He arrives on his own, takes something from one of the many corpses — because yes, there are also giant alien bug monsters on this space ship — and then tells May that he has been looking for her. If he threatens the other most important 'ship on this show, the Coulson/May 'ship, so help us all.
He shows up in this context, but that doesn't tell us much. Deke could be anyone from anywhere or any time. That's right. The team learns that not only are they out of space, they're out of time. The aliens who kidnapped them from their diner celebration brought them into the future. Is Deke one of the "true believers" in Coulson? That remains to be seen.
“I can tell you that Deke is a guy that knows how to get things," Ward said in an interview with CBS. "He’s a guy that has kind of mastered the hostile environment that he was born into and continues to have to live in. I think it’s given him a very particular set of morals and a way of thinking about the world.” While the actor is new to the series, the other characters are the newcomers in this story arc. They don't even know why they're in space.
“He’s not afraid to antagonize them," Ward continued in the same CBS interview, "and say things that are the truth, because he’s not part of the team. So it makes for a lot of really fun interactions, because, you know, Deke’s got no standing with these people, but he is very much stuck with them. It’s a really fun back-and-forth journey."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always towed an interesting line with characters who are misfits, but often have to stick to the company line as part of a government organization. It will be interesting to see how the team operates with someone not bound by any rules as their guide, and Thor knows how many miles away from home. Deke isn't the new Grant Ward or even the new Lance Hunter on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but his addition to the show is sure to shake things up.