‘Agents of SHIELD’: Brett Dalton ‘Doesn’t Get Enough Credit’ For His Marvel Role

When one hears the term “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” their thoughts typically go to heroes like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man. But the franchise is bigger than just its movies. It’s also spawned several successful TV series. One of those was Agents of SHIELD, a show with a sizable fan base that went off the air this year after seven seasons.

The show was made strong by its powerful ensemble cast. One of those cast members was Brett Dalton, and there’s reason to think that Dalton didn’t “get enough credit” for his performance on the show according to at least one fan. Let’s take a closer at what made him so good. 

How SHIELD fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Brett Dalton
Brett Dalton | Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic

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The MCU is popular because it takes larger-than-life characters and depicts how they’d look in reality. Certainly, no one believes a super soldier and a man in a high-tech suit made of iron could actually exist. But the MCU goes a long way toward showing what they’d look like in real life if they could. Even supernatural and god-like characters (Thor, Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange) are portrayed in the most grounded way possible. 

That said, someone has to help facilitate the actions of these heroes. While they’re an ever-present force in the comics, in the films, SHIELD is the government agency tasked with helping support these superheroes while also protecting the country (and Earth) from foes both foreign, domestic, and interplanetary. Led by Nick Fury, this body is the one responsible for uniting the Avengers. Eventually, they’re taken down after it’s revealed SHIELD was infiltrated with the evil organization known as HYDRA. 

While SHIELD ceased to exist in the films, they still had a presence on TV even after they were seemingly disbanded. 

‘Agents of SHIELD’ shows the unsung heroes in a world of superheroes

Agents of SHIELD inhabits the same world as the MCU. Populated by a talented ensemble cast, the events of the film often impacted and drove the plot of the show. The show also carved its own path, diverting from the films when necessary in service of its own plot. 

Again, the show was an ensemble piece. But the undeniable leader of the program was Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson. Originally featured in the MCU movies, Coulson appears to assist several of the Marvel superheroes. He sacrifices himself in the first Avengers film, dying by Loki’s hand. His death galvanizes the team, uniting them to come together and end Loki and the Chitauri’s attempted invasion of New York. 

Coulson is brought back to life for the series, where he leads a team of SHIELD agents as they attempt to safeguard Earth. Eventually, the show relied less and less on the films to guide the narrative and became its own story. It showcased some great actors as well, one of whom was Dalton. 

Why Brett Dalton didn’t “get enough credit” for his Marvel role

A recent Reddit thread discussed the show in general and one poster remarked on Dalton’s unheralded performance, saying: 

“Brett Dalton doesn’t get enough credit for the amount of range he showed throughout the series. The difference in characterization between early S1 and late S1 Ward is striking.”

According to IMDb, Dalton played SHIELD agent Grant Ward, a character who starts on the side of good but who reveals his intentions are evil. He becomes a supervillain known as Hive. Dalton’s performance is so good because he initially gains the audience’s trust but just as quickly draws their ire. He plays both good and evil effectively, which is the sign of a strong performer. 

Since leaving the show in 2017, Ward has appeared in a few projects such as the TV movies Cooking With Love and Just My Type. If the incredible versatility he showed on Agents of SHIELD is any indication, he’ll have plenty of options for roles to choose from in the future.