Though season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had plenty of ups and downs, the show finished out its debut year on a strong note, ultimately earning its season 2 renewal. The big turning point of the first season was the Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in episode which split the world of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his ragtag group of agents wide open. The last few episodes of the season left Coulson with an agency destroyed by Hydra as well as a team that had been betrayed by one of its own and with another member in critical condition.
One major highlight during the back half of season 1 was Bill Paxton’s portrayal of John Garrett – who played a pivotal role bridging the gap between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. However, with Paxton out ofS.H.I.E.L.D., another beloved action star has joined the series.
TV Guide reported S.H.I.E.L.D. has cast Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess, Parks and Recreation) in an unspecified role for the show’s season 2. Lawless’s character and the number of episodes for which she has signed on have not been revealed, though Marvel may provide more insight during the studio’s television panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
As far as the upcoming season of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gregg has said it will be “darker” and more “lo-fi” as Coulson deals with the aftermath of season 1. Specifically, the team is tasked with rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. while looking into the T.A.H.I.T.I. project and the unknown GH 325 serum as well as its possible side effects on Coulson. Theseason 1 finale also teased some developments in the mystery of who Skye (Chloe Bennet) is and who her parents may be.
With all these storylines to be pursued throughout S.H.I.E.L.D.’s sophomore season, there are many roles that Lawless could play. Additionally, it’s unclear whether she’ll portray a character from the Marvel Comics or an original character. She could be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that Coulson recruits to his cause of rebuilding the organization; she could be a former scientist involved with the T.A.H.I.T.I. project; or she could portray Skye’s mother – or someone else that had a hand in Skye’s past.
Although, at this point, the list of possible characters and story arcs is extensive, it’s possible ABC recruited Lawless for her experience with action roles – specifically her portrayal of a warrior princess. Whether those skills will help her in the world ofS.H.I.E.L.D. remains to be seen, but there are more than a few Xena fans who are certainly hoping Lawless goes head to head with the Cavalry a.k.a. Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), or even Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the warrior woman from Asgard.
However, Lawless has most recently played less physical characters on Parks and Recreation as well as Top of the Lake, so it’s also possible she won’t display her fighting skills at all. Once more details are released as to who Lawless will be portraying – and how many episodes she’s signed onto – it will be much easier to figure out how she’ll fit in to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 will premiere Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 @9pm on ABC.