The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Showrunners Confirm Big Twist

Grant Ward was worse for wear the last time we saw him on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that’s putting it lightly. After having his chest crushed by former ally Phil Coulson, his body was subsequently taken over by the sinister Inhuman living on the alien planet Jemma Simmons had been trapped on. So the Ward we’ve known for years is dead, leaving actor Brett Dalton to play this Inhuman predator, who is back on Earth and working with HYDRA leader Gideon Malick. Now we finally have a name to attach to this creepy creature: Hive.

After months of speculation and a casual mention from co-star Elizabeth Henstridge, producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen confirmed to Nerdist that Dalton will play Hive, adapted from the same-named villain who appeared in the Secret Warriors comics. Here’s who they described their version of the villain on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Our version of Hive is going to have its own unique twist and be very different from what fans have seen so far.

Hive debuted in the episode "4,722 Hours" as a shadowy figure, nicknamed "It," who terrorized Jemma and astronaut Will Daniels on the alien planet. It was later revealed in "Many Heads, One Tale" that this being was an Inhuman who had grown too powerful on Earth thousands of years ago and was banished to this world through the Monolith portal. We now know this power was being able to reanimate the dead. Hive’s followers spent the following centuries planning to bring it back to Earth, and this group became what we know now as HYDRA.

After Will helped Jemma escape the alien planet, his body was taken over by Hive, and when Ward, Fitz and the HYDRA team went back to the planet to retrieve Hive in "Maveth," it tried to pass itself off as the real Will. Fitz eventually discovered the ruse and fought Hive, but no matter how many times he shot the Inhuman, it wouldn’t stay down. Left with no other option, Fitz shot Will's body with a flare gun, but Hive (its actual form being worm-like) escaped the burning corpse and possessed Ward's body, and now it’s back on Earth and ready to cause trouble.

Grant Ward Hive

In the comics, Hive was created by HYDRA as a "physical embodiment" of their ideals. Made up of hundreds of genetically-engineered parasites, a HYDRA agent would willingly offer themselves as a host for Hive so it can express itself. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Hive is an Inhuman rather than a science experiment, so far this Hive lines up closely with its comic book counterpart, including its partnership with HYDRA. Still, with 12 episodes left to go in Season 3, we’ll learn more about what the MCU’s Hive is capable of and what it has planned for Earth…aside from total enslavement of humanity. It also gives Marvel fans their own “Hive” to watch on TV, while DC fans have the organization H.I.V.E. to follow on Arrow.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns with new episodes Tuesday, March 8 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC. Here's what else network TV has coming up.

Photo courtesy of ABC.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.