'Agents of SHIELD': Clark Gregg Teases Hydra's Most "Formidable" Villain Yet

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. S03E11 Still 1 - H 2016
Eric McCandless/ABC

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. S03E11 Still 1 - H 2016

There's a new evil brewing on Agents of SHIELD, and Coulson's (Clark Gregg) team has no idea what they're about to face.

After Coulson killed former-SHIELD-agent-turned-Hydra-baddie Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) on the alien planet Maveth, he and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) thought they'd never see Ward's face again. But when the ancient Inhuman that was inhabiting Will's (Dillon Casey) body slithered into Ward's corpse, it came back through the portal. Now, there's a mysterious and powerful Inhuman wearing Ward's face, and his former teammates and friends have no idea.

But that's not the only threat looming when Agents of SHIELD returns Tuesday for the second half of season three. Hydra leader Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) has slowly but surely built up an evil empire, and now he's got "Ward" with him. Will this duo prove to be too powerful for SHIELD to take down?

The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Agents of SHIELD star Gregg about what to expect from the back half of this season, along with the future of the ABC series in light of the early season four renewal. 

So much happened back in the midseason finale for Coulson, what with his trip to Maveth and killing Ward. Where does the midseason premiere pick up?

Only Coulson and Fitz know about Coulson taking extreme action in ending Grant Ward's life, and yet neither of them or anyone else know that something that looks an awful lot like Grant Ward got back through the portal. That's lingering out there, and it's not going to mean anything good for them.

Coulson's main goal going forward is finding Gideon Malick. How difficult will that be for Coulson's team, seeing as how they've battled other Hydra agents before and won?

Every one of these evil bastards who Coulson has had to contend with, have all been formidable for the most part. But Malick is up there on a level with Robert Redford's character from Winter Soldier. He's got power. He's got influence. He's built a fantastic cover. He's considered an important and influential world citizen. What we realize is he's old school, multi-generational Hydra, focused on bringing this world-eating creature back from Maveth. He's going to be the most formidable Hydra opponent that we have ever faced.

Coulson has no idea that Ward's body was brought back from Maveth as an Inhuman. How is he going to react to seeing Ward again after making the conscious choice to kill him?

His trajectory from Ward's sniper rifle murdering Rosalind [Constance Zimmer] to Coulson jumping out of the plane to Coulson somewhat impulsively, somewhat pre-meditatively squishing the life out of Grant Ward, it's been a really complex journey. It's been terrific writing. Coulson put this man on his team way back when, and now he's taken so many lives. But Coulson crossed a line that I don't think he's very comfortable with, taking a life of his own. He's become the thing he's hunting. The repercussions of that, as far as I can tell, are going to ripple throughout the rest of the season, if not beyond that, both for how Coulson will react to this Inhuman and for him personally.

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for season four. As a fan of the comics, if you could tell the writers one thing to include next season, what would you want to see?

Actually, the next script I get is the one that happens near Captain America: Civil War so I'm terrified to see what's going to become of Coulson and all his team members over the next couple of episodes. I have a feeling it will all be reinvented again [as it was after Captain America: The Winter Soldier]. And it would be nice to have a cool girlfriend who doesn't get murdered. I also like exploring the new hands. I'm always excited about new hand developments. (Laughs) I find it hilarious that the world's most average SHIELD agent has something about him that's not-so-average.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed after the midseason premiere for more coverage.