Gregg and Ming-Na join S.H.I.E.L.D.

Posted by CB Droege

A pair of cast members have been announced for the upcoming Marvel television series.

Note: some Marvel film and television spoilers may follow.

It was announced at New York Comic-Con that Clark Gregg would be playing the role of Agent Phil Coulson in the new show from writer/director Joss Whedon, based on the Marvel Film Universe which he’s the point man for.

This news tells us a few things, but primarily that S.H.I.E.L.D., or at least the pilot will be taking place either before the events of the Avengers film or in a parallel time-line. The former seems more likely, and we have no idea how many episodes Gregg will be in. He may only appear in the pilot or a few episodes further, so as to perish in the fight with Loki, and become a major inciting event for the show.

Not only does the other option – a parallel time line – seem less likely, I think it would break the show, and drive away lots of potential fans. Marvel’s comic book fans may be used to many overlapping parallel stories which seem mutually exclusive, but film and television audiences are not as forgiving, and Marvel has done such a good job keeping all of their film properties in line with one another, it would be a shame if they did not pull this television show into the same story world.

Joining Gregg, we now know that Ming-Na will be playing the part of one of the lead characters, Agent Melinda May.

The press material describes her as "Soulful and slightly damaged by her combat experiences, Melinda is an ace pilot, a weapons expert and a soldier who can — and has — gone beyond the call of duty."

This is very similar to a description that was given in the alleged character descriptions that turned up online earlier this month, though the name attached at the time was Althea Rice, and that description also gave the character the nickname ”The Calvary” – which I still think was a typo along the line somewhere.

This seems to confirm that those casting descriptions we got ahold of are genuine, so it gives us an idea of what the other characters will also be like, though nothing is set in stone, of course.

Ming-Na - who dropped her surname, Wen, several years ago - is probably best known among this show’s potential audience for having played Chun-li in the mid 90’s adaptation of Street Fighter, Camille in SGU: Stargate Universe, and Senator Wen in Syfy’s Eureka. She’s also known as the voice of Mulan whenever Disney does anything with the character, and for a long-lived role on the medical drama E.R.

S.H.I.E.L.D., which will be directed and co-written by Whedon, is currently in development. If it stays on track, we might see a pilot in Fall of 2013.