SHIELD Preview Ward Hive

S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Brett Dalton Shares Badness 'Sadness,' Warns: 'The Ward We Fell in Love With Is No Longer'

It’s not easy being Ward — or, for that matter, whatever the heck the onetime S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has now become.

Next month marks the two-year anniversary of when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Grant Ward chose not to execute mentor John Garrett aka The Clairvoyant and instead gun down a pair of S.H.I.E.L.D. guards and then Victoria Hand herself (putting two in the floor for good measure). The betrayal marked the ABC series’ first pre-Captain America: The Winter Solider bombshell, yet set in motion a pattern that would separate Brett Dalton from his castmates for the forseeable future.

“I’ve been splintered from the cast since I became a double agent,” Dalton notes. “And unfortunately, that has been one of the saddest things for me, because I love these guys so much and I don’t get to work with them as often as I like.”

Has Dalton ever felt hurt by the storyline-dictated segregation? “No,” he says. “I’ve gotten bumps and bruises from some of the fight scenes, but emotionally I’m still relatively intact — as much as one could hope for!”

After doing Garrett’s bidding for a short while, Ward ultimately went off on his own, to rebuild Hydra from the ground up. That arc only estranged the character from his former colleagues further — first, when a series of events landed May’s ex-husband Andrew in the crosshairs, and worse when Ward himself took out Coulson’s new girlfriend, ATCU boss Rosalind Price, with a sniper rifle.

And yet, amazingly, the very worst was still to come.

As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. marched toward Season 3’s winter break, Ward allied with Hydra bigwig Gideon Malick, abducting/torturing AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. FitzZimmons in the name of gaining access to the planet Maveth portal. Little did Ward imagine, Malick would charge him with leading this (extremely) “away” team. Shortly after arriving on the mysterious planet, Ward would perish in a fatal face-off with tagalong Phil Coulson — only to resurface on Earth “reanimated” by the Inhuman something that Hydra worships and sought to retrieve. He who once was Ward is now the entity known as Hive.

“As we saw when [the creature] inhabited [spaceman] Will, Ward is still going to walk and talk like a human. And he looks the same on the outside,” Dalton shares. “But the character that we fell in love with is no longer.”

That said, Hive is still bound to give Coulson & Co. quite the rude awakening if and when they discover his existence. After all, though Ward “is no longer,” enough of him remains inside this… thing… to give deeper meaning to the Hydra deity’s battle with S.H.I.E.L.D. “Just as we saw that the creature was able to access the thoughts, emotions and memories that Will had,” Dalton says, “he’ll also have access to all that belongs to Ward.”

As seen in the winter premiere (airing Tuesday at 9/8c), Hive harbors quite an appetite here on Earth, one only sated by (worst case) raw meat or (best case) Inhuman offerings. Once it restores its strength, what happens next is anybody’s — even Malick’s — guess.

“What do we do now what we’ve brought this creature back? What are his real intentions? And are they in line with Malick’s? These are the exact questions that Malick has in his head, and these are questions that we are going to answer,” says Dalton. “The audience is getting to know the character just as Malick is, and just as I am in playing him. It’s a whole new chapter for Ward.”

Want more scoop on S.H.I.E.L.D., or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Garrett wasn’t so much Ward’s mentor as he was his kidnapper and abuser (physically and emotionally).

    Brett’s going to knock this storyline out of the park, which I’m looking forward to.

  2. Unless their ultimate intention is to write the actor out of the show, the writers will find a way to bring Ward back.

    • Ben says:

      Ward is dead. I think their ultimate intention should be to write the actor out of the show, although who knows whether this new character will be done by season send or not. There is no value to Ward as part of the story any more.

      • Dj says:

        I like Brett, but I hope he doesnt return next season. Coulson killing Ward was a perfect ending for that character and I hope by seasons end the same will be done with Ward 2.0 Hive.

      • In comics, characters die or metamorphose all the time, only to later come back to life/return to their former selves.

      • RainyDay says:

        I think it would be a mistake if they choose to write the character of Ward (or whatever Dalton will be portraying from now on) out of the show. Sadly not a single one of the other characters hold nearly as much interest on the show. Most of them are pretty boring, to be honest, with barely any character development. And among the few that had some development, it hasn’t necessarily been for the better.
        Jemma was so annoying in season 2 I was truly hoping they would kill that character off. Skye as well. Honestly the only original character left that I care about now that Ward is .. whatever he is.., is Fitz.

    • theyletfly says:

      I think contracts are up at the end of this year. Which means he can run for the hills. He should run for the hills.

      • It’s only the third season. Isn’t that too early for contracts to be up?

        • Bryan says:

          I now, I read somewhere that standard TV contract is 6 seasons

        • theyletfly says:

          Had heard it was the end of this year. But if not, hopefully he gets to leave. There’s nothing left of the character he played and I don’t trust the showrunners enough to follow through on fixing any of it even though there are a lot of ways they could.

          • There’s really nothing to “fix”. Like, Ward will never, ever, ever go back to being a good guy again, and that’s fine. I for one like the parallel story of him rebuilding Hydra while Coulson rebuilds SHIELD. The current twist with him becoming host to this thing is off putting, absolutely, but they might be able to come back from that and put him back on track to continue on as a villain.

  3. PriceIsRightCancelled says:

    Ward as the Hive is zombie like.

  4. Weezy says:

    “Storyline-dictated segregation”…careful Matt you might unintentionally create a whole new movement of fictional entertainment based politics.

  5. Rick Katze says:

    Typo alert: Soldier, not Solider.

  6. Robert Dassler says:

    Ward is dead. Long live Hive, our new master. Also. a big hand to the writers for seeing their plan through to the end. On a lesser show they would have chickened out and hard-wired in some sort of lame redemption arc where all the hero characters become idiots and conveniently forget all the horrible acts committed by Ward just so Brett Dalton can continue to hang out with his buddies. Kudos. The main question is: what are they going to do with Brett Dalton in season four?

  7. theyletfly says:

    If they’d made him an out and out villain I’d be less sad about how this played out. They gave us a character who had been abused and conditioned all his life. They had him follow his conditioning and side with Garrett. They had him lost and broken, attempting suicide without the orders he’d so desperately needed. He truly believed he had a shot at redemption, (The same shot Clint Barton gave Natasha Romanoff by the way, and look how that worked out) By the end of 2A though they seemed to lose the plot and just send him off the deep end. When May got Kara killed (Yes Ward pulled the trigger but May set her up) he snapped. But somehow him killing Roslind (a character created to give Coulson manpain and get fridged) was the last straw. He did nothing worse than SHIELD have done to him. He’s the villain the so called ‘heroes’ made. And that’s the saddest thing about all of this and the reason I can’t watch anymore. Not because I was ever in it cause Brett was hot or whatever. Because this character that has been abused all his life, this character that died alone with no one to mourn him. Now something’s using his body so he can’t even rest in peace. I mostly want them to write Brett out so he’s free to pursue better written roles.

    • I love you. Thank you for saying all this! I definitely agree with you.

      • theyletfly says:


        They keep saying a redemption arc was the easy way out. It wasn’t. This was. They’ve worked in TV before and there was everything, every little thing put in place to make it work over time. I really believe that was Joss’s intention before the Lesser Wheadons took over.

    • Robert Dassler says:

      I don’t know where to start with this… I really don’t. If you don’t want to watch, then don’t. If a TV show is emotionally hurting you then I would suggest that it is not a show that you should have been watching in the first place.

      • theyletfly says:

        It wasn’t this show. It was an entirely different show up until they decided Inhumans and Secret Warriors were a thing. Oh there were things in season 2 that worried me, how they were treating a prisoner, mocking suicide attempts, the whole good victim bad victim thing, retconning their own canon casting suspicion on if Ward actually had been abused at all (spoiler alert, he absolutely had been)

        I watched because I hoped they’d realise, because a lot of people saw this abused messed up character and wanted him to be redeemed because if he could, maybe things could be better for them. And because frankly we got baited at every turn with promises of ‘awesome Ward stuff and Skyeward scenes’ .

        If I could go back now, I wouldn’t watch it. But I did, so its gonna affect me. Because that is NOT how you treat a portion of your fanbase.And that is not how you build up a villain. Kilgrave is how you write a villain. No one loved to hate Kilgrave. We just hated him. There was nothing in him to show any kind of good. David Tennant and Brett Dalton are both amazing actors who portrayed their characters wonderfully and yet Killgrave is unlikeable because he is written to be irredeemable. Ward…it was sad because you could see all the chances he could have had if only someone had done for him what Barton did for Natasha.

        Also, IF they’d done that and he didn’t take the offered chance my opinion would be very different. But he never got anything.

        • Sam says:

          Coulson did offer Ward a chance. He offered to TAHITI him. Take away all the bad and leave him as the man he wanted to be. Ward didn’t take it and instead continued on his path for closure.

          • theyletfly says:

            TAHITI is not a chance. And Coulson of all people should know better. That was godawfully OOC to offer. Also this was after Coulson had kidnapped Kara to get Ward to help. Hero move. Right there.

    • Joe says:

      Grant ward was a nazi who shot a quadriplegic and a dog…that makes him the most evil person on tv…a redemption arc would have been laughable…

      • theyletfly says:

        ….I’m not even going to argue the Nazi comment because every time I point out the obvious reasons neither he or Garrett or Pierce or Sitwell even were Nazi’s it gets ignored. And he didn’t kill the dog. Brett stated so and I’m going with the actors interpretation over what show runners who change their minds about their own canon every season suggest

  8. ? says:

    Did anyone ever “fall in love” with Ward, ever?

  9. Tom says:

    So, basically, like the bluehaired freak that took over Fred on Angel. Also, I wrote Ward off for good once he killed Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig. He’s evil and needs to be put down like yesterday.

    • theyletfly says:

      So Coulson’s whole ‘No one is beyond saving’ thing went over the viewers head as much as it did Coulson’s in the end. Pity.

    • Dj says:

      I agree. As soon as Ward killed Hand he could never be a member of the team again. I can’t say he wasn’t redeemable because they could have always did an arc where he dies after heroically saving the team.

  10. Carol_R says:

    This is just like the Sylar mess on “Heroes” that ruined that show. They need to kill Ward off permanently. I don’t care if they like the actor. Keeping Ward on the show in any capacity at all is just trashing it.