How Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Jeff Ward Prepared For His Unforgettable Musical Moment

Jeff Ward as Deke Shaw on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2020)

Spoilers for the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D” – lie ahead.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming to an end but, with only six episodes left in its run, the series shows no signs of slowing down as it reaches the finish line. This was especially true with the latest installment, which was a fun, nostalgia-filled adventure set in the ‘80s. One of the episode’s stand-outs was definitely Jeff Ward’s Deke, and the actor has offered some insight into his character’s totally excellent musical performance.

The episode, “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D,” followed the left behind Henry Simmons’ Mack and Deke, who were forced to reunite after a separation and face off with resurrected Chronicom leader Sybil. Along the way, Deke recruited a new team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and hid the group’s true activities under the guise of a cover band named Deke Squad.

In one of the episodes most memorable scenes, Deke performs Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” claiming the iconic song as his own in the process. Jeff Ward looked more than comfortable on stage, but the actor admitted to EW that he was incredibly nervous about it. However, this was lightened by the fact that he’d done plenty of prep beforehand:

That was hands down the most nervous I've ever been to film anything I've filmed because [of] the singing. I loved it, and I thought it was such a fun thing that I really wanted to do it [well]. I was watching a lot of David Bowie, Prince, Elvis [Presley], and Bruce Springsteen — like a lot of these incredible showmen and people I think Deke would have watched. I have such great reverence for music, and I wanted to be able to do it justice. I felt like once I got over the hurdle of being insanely nervous — and once we were able to just go and I stopped thinking about it [and] could just kind of do it — it became so fun and one of my favorite things that I've ever gotten to film, and something that's such a rare [opportunity].

Deke’s performance was filled with energy and showmanship, so it’s not surprising to hear that Jeff Ward drew from so many great artists to get things right. Acting is one thing but having to perform a full song during an episode can’t be easy. Ward deserves credit for not only going for it but also nailing it.

With so much dramatically heavy storytelling as of late, this latest episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a breath of fresh air and it was only made better by Jeff Ward and Henry Simmons’ performances. Coulson and the team is far from finished with their time-traveling shenanigans, so it’ll be interesting to see what lies ahead for them in the final batch of episodes.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.