Mallory Jansen and Brett Dalton of the Marvel Universe hit Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. answered audience questions Friday afternoon at 5:30PM in the Grand Ballroom in the Sheraton for the panel “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (or Is That Hydra?)” The two actors have the unique perspective of playing good characters that have gone bad. Leigh Bennet-Conner moderated the Q&A session and started by asking both actors about the craziest thing they did when preparing to be an actor. Jansen mentioned a class in drama school during which she had to pretend to be an animal, including how the animal would eat, move, and even sleep. Dalton asked Jansen what animal she would choose for Madame Hydra. Her answer—a snake. Dalton reminisced about a clown class he took, recalling how difficult and it was when the more he would cry, the more the rest of the class would laugh. He had to remember a painful childhood memory which “apparently throwing a party and no one came.” Bennet-Conner saved Dalton by moving on to audience questions.
The first question was an inside joke. An audience member asked Dalton who Michelle Harrison played on The Flash. After a little ribbing, Dalton was able to answer properly that she played Barry’s mother. The next question for Jansen referenced her character Queen Madalena in the movie Galavant. The audience member wanted to know where her background in singing came from and why it wasn’t used in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jansen revealed that she did bring it up at one point but they didn’t take her up on it. Dalton joked that he had mentioned singing at one point and the next thing he knew, he was killed off. Jansen joked back that she wished he had warned her. As for her background in singing, when she was considered for Galavant, her agent said, “Can you sing? You can sing, right?” Of course, she answered that she could and then hired a vocal coach. Now she loves singing and would sing all the time in her trailer.
Dalton was the subject for the next two-part question. The audience member recalled that last year, Dalton had said he would not be returning to the show. He wanted to know if Dalton had actually known last year that he would be coming back, and how he felt about how he left. Dalton mentioned that it is never pleasant when you leave. He joked that he is going for a third death, and he was not sure whether or not he knew he would be returning during Dragon Con 2016. Dalton did not like being killed off planet by Coulson because “no one got to see it,” but felt that the most recent time he was killed was cool. The next audience member asked how much advance notice the actors get that they are flipping to bad. Jansen joked that she typically plays bad characters and feels that it may be due to her “resting bitch face.” Dalton asked for a demonstration which Jansen happily provided. As for how much time she was given to learn she was turning bad, she remembered that it was only a couple of weeks. She also mentioned that she felt that Aida “thought she was doing the right thing,” and “was the hero of her own story,” meaning that she didn’t precisely turn bad. As for Dalton, he mentioned that he would think he finally had a handle on Grant Ward and who he was, but then got the script that he was evil and decided he really had no idea.
The next question to Dalton brought up The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. The audience member wanted to know if Dalton preferred playing villains. Dalton said he likes playing characters with faults, but not necessarily villains. The next audience member wanted to know how difficult it was for Jansen to play a non-human. She mentioned that she couldn’t blink or breathe which was difficult. She would also practice moving gracefully, purposely, and efficiently. Moving her head without moving her eyes was also challenging.
Another audience member wanted to know how much research Jansen did for her role as Madame Hydra. She said she actually did a lot of research and even found the comic book from 1969. For a fun question, the actors were asked what super power each would like to have. Jansen chose She Hulk while Dalton chose the dog character in Inhumans. The final question for both was whether they were allowed to take a souvenir from the show when they left and if not, what they would take. They both said they were not allowed to take anything. As for what they would have wanted, Jansen would have taken a unique patch with lots of backstory that Madame Hydra wore.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return this fall. Tune in to find out if either Dalton or Jansen will reprise their roles on the show.