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Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. changed up the status quo in a big way by replacing Coulson with a brand new agency director. We haven't known much about the character other than that he would be played by Jason O'Mara and based on a comics character from the 1940s. Now, S.H.I.E.L.D. fans can stop wondering about his identity. As it turns out, the new director is none other than Jeffrey "Jeff Mace, also known as Patriot in Marvel comic lore.
Jason O'Mara has finally been able to discuss the character he's playing in S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, and it's definitely reason to get excited. Jeff Mace debuted in Marvel comics in 1941 as a New York reporter who was inspired by Captain America. He became a superhero who would go by the name Patriot. Like Cap, Mace possessed no superpowers but nevertheless chose to don a costume and fight supervillains during World War II. When the second Captain America died, Mace succeeded him and became the third Captain America.
Unlike Captain America, Patriot is not a WWII-era superhero who has been adapted into mainstream media. In fact, Jeff Mace's appearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be the first time that modern Marvel fans have ever heard of him. As it happens, however, the Jeff Mace of S.H.I.E.L.D. already has a major difference from his comic counterpart. The new Jeff Mace will have powers.
The second episode of Season 4 featured the surprise reveal that the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is actually an Inhuman with specialized abilities. He easily subdued a rampaging Melinda May as she was beating the stuffing out of the other agents. The formidable May was unable to harm him, and he picked her up and knocked her out with no problem. From the looks of things, he won't be needing a traditional Patriot shield to keep him safe in Season 4.
Interestingly, Jeff Mace's superpowers may not be as significant in battle as they are in the bureaucracy of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The characters are all trying to move forward in their jobs in the wake of the Sokovia Accords that split the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. Jason O'Mara explained on a Marvel podcast that Mace will have to deal with a conflict of interest between the government's stance on Inhumans and his own feelings as an individual with Inhuman powers. As a director who genuinely wants what is best for the agency as well as the public at large, he may have trouble reconciling his personal feelings with what he needs to do in order to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. running in the post-Sokovia Accords bureaucracy.
There's no saying at this point just how different the Jeff Mace of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be from his non-superpowered comic counterpart. Tune in to ABC on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. ET to see what's next for Director Mace and Co. on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and don't forget to check out our fall TV premiere schedule.