Normally, being greeted by people shouting “Hail HYDRA!” is a cause for concern, but when it’s done to welcome Brett Dalton, the turncoat Agent Grant Ward from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.… Well, it’s still not ideal, but it is understandable. Dalton was part of the show from the beginning, but his character was killed off in season three, and then he played the alien Inhuman possessing the body of Ward in the second half of that season before being killed off again. But things are looking up for Dalton because Ward is back. In alternative universe form!
“It’s Ward ’95,” Dalton joked about playing this fourth iteration of his character. “Some of you guys are too young to understand that reference.”
The actor said that he was surprised that he got the call to do a reprise as Ward, but it was a very welcome surprise and a great opportunity. “It’s very, very cool and it’s actually a way for us to look at how the characters had an effect on the world we know, and now on the world that never was,” Dalton said. “So now we have alternate timelines, and my thought was that [Ward] might be a baker, or a dog trainer, but it didn’t go that way.”
Of course, a lot of stuff didn’t go Dalton’s way, like finding out that his fine upstanding character was a double agent in HYDRA. According to Dalton he “didn’t find out too far in advance” of the audience that Ward was going bad. “They gave me a different jacket, and they said you don’t have to shave anymore,” he recalled of the turn. “I started listening to different music, I don’t know if that helped, but it’s an interesting thing because it’s like driving at night and you can only respond to what’s visible where the headlights are illuminating, and you don’t have the luxury of knowing the turn that’s up to head and make a different decision. You do your best, and you adjust along the way.”
When Ward was eventually killed off, Dalton played the part of Hive, that “alien guy that looked like he just came out of The Matrix,” but through it all he missed Ward 1.0. “I like the guy in the pilot, he had wise-cracking lines and stuff like that, and I liked that character,” said Dalton. “He seemed to have an Indiana Jones quality to him and he lost a bit of that as season one continued. I thought it was fun.”
But it seems that what Dalton’s gained is far more than what Ward lost. Got a major franchise film role requiring a tall, square-jawed man of a certain age? Then Dalton’s name has probably come up in the media. Like Green Lantern, for example. “My names has been on a list of things I’m not sure I would legitimately get,” Dalton cracked, but he would definitely like to throw his hat in the ring for one role.
“The one that I’m really hoping for is Nathan Drake in Uncharted,” Dalton said to cheers. “Not only do I look exactly like the guy – I feel like I should be getting royalties eventually – but it would be such a great part because he’s a swash-buckler and adventurer, and I hope on the show that I’ve proved that I’m coordinated enough to do it convincingly. It’s about good old fashioned adventure.”
But don’t think Dalton is all about action. “I was born for the role of a Disney prince, so the answer is where do I sign?” Dalton said when a fan asked if he would ever appear in a remake, but what remake? Would The Little Mermaid be out of the question? She is his favourite princess. “Probably Ariel,” he said. “She’s got a nice voice. ”
In the meantime, Dalton’s got a crowdfunded web series on his to-do list called Trust No One. “It’s a proof of concept for something larger that I hope gets made,” he said. “I hope it gives Jason Bourne a run for its money, and it looks good for the stupid amount of money we made it for.”
And in it, Dalton once again plays a villain. “If you think Ward and Hive are bad, wait till you see this guy,” Dalton said with a smile.