How Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is Paying Tribute To A Firefly Star

Tipper Newton, Henry Simmons, John Yuan and Matt Yuan on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2020)

Spoilers for the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Adapt or Die” – lie ahead.

The final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has certainly been a wild ride up to this point. In an attempt to prevent the Chronicoms from conquering Earth, Coulson and the team have been traveling through time and attempting to preserve key events as they do so. Along the way, the team has also encountered new characters like Patton Oswalt’s Ernest Koenig and returning faces like Enver Gjokaj’s Daniel Sousa. Now, as the show enters a new decade, a few new agents will come into the fray and one will serve as a nice tribute to a late Firefly star.

When we last left our favorite agents, they had just dealt a blow to the Chronicom army by blowing up their ship. However, this came at a great cost, as LMD Coulson apparently sacrificed himself to destroy the ship. Meanwhile, Mack, having saved his parents from HYDRA, learned that the two the team rescued were Chronicom impersonators and his real parents are actually dead. Following the Zephyr’s jump to 1982, Mack would leave to mourn, with Deke heading out after him, but the two would be left stranded when the Zephyr suddenly time jumped again.

This week’s episode, “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D,” will see Mack and Deke join forces with a group of ‘80s agents to battle the Chronicoms. One of these agents will be played by Tipper Newton and, while her full name has yet to be revealed, her first initial and surname are “R. Glass.” This is a nod to the late Ron Glass who starred as Shepherd Derrial Book on Firefly and appeared during the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Dr. Streiten:

Cobie Smulders and Ron Glass on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)

S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will likely remember that Streiten was the head doctor who oversaw Phil Coulson’s resurrection following his initial death at the hands of Loki. And after Coulson would learn more regarding the circumstances of his return, Streiten would break down and reveal everything to him. The choice to name a new agent after an actor who played a key character is a sweet move on the producers’ parts.

Given the actor’s working relationship with Joss Whedon and S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen wanted to pay homage to him. You can check out Newton’s character down below:

Tipper Newton on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2020)

(Image credit: Courtesy of ABC)

Of course, Tipper Newton’s R. Glass will be joined by a team of ragtag S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. This includes a currently unnamed agent played by Jolene Anderson. Nothing is known about the character at this point, but she definitely looks tough:

Jolene Anderson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2020)

(Image credit: Courtesy of ABC)

Rounding out the group is the Chang siblings, who are played by Matt Yuan and John Yuan and, if they’re anything like the Koenig brothers, they’re sure to be a lot of fun:

Matt Yuan and John Yuan on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2020)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been a show that’s looked forward, but it’s never had a problem looking back, either. The show has lost a few notable actors during its run like Bill Paxton and Powers Boothe, but the show has always set aside time to pay tribute to them in some way. It’s nice that the same is being done for Ron Glass, and it’ll be exciting to see how Tipper Newton’s character lives up to her namesake.

This newest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air on Wednesday, July 8 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.