Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) had the audience completely mesmerized from the moment he walked into the Sheraton Grand Ballroom A-F on Friday at 2:30PM and treated the delighted audience to a mock striptease while removing his jacket, encouraging laughter, applause, and wolf whistles. After such an auspicious beginning, he transitioned into a comical explanation for his tardiness: “I got caught in a Pokestop.”
The first audience member began her question by mentioning she had a dog named Grant Ward, and it looked like a wolf mixed with a corgie. Dalton said, “I’m going to take that as a compliment.” When he heard the actual question about whether he felt Ward was treated unfairly by his teammates because he was made to think the way he did, Dalton was surprised at the depth of the fan’s question. “You know,” he said, “I thought the first question would be, you know, like what is your favorite color? And I was so prepared for that.”
The fan said, “Yeah, what is it?”
“It’s clear,” he shot back. Actually, he thought it was a really good question. He felt that Ward’s character was underdeveloped at first. He didn’t know where Ward was going, although he knew he had a past, which was hinted at even in the pilot. There were flashes of “Ooo, there’s something wrong.” But he didn’t know what it was. “In some ways you could say he [Ward] was a victim of the events that happened to him in his past, but then again, he did make these choices, and they probably had different consequences then he thought.”
Dalton played the part in each episode as truthfully as he could, but he kept being as surprised as the fans and had to continually adjust. He compared it to driving a car at night, only being able to see a short distance ahead. He felt that Grant Ward was a combination of what Dalton brought to the role, what the writers dreamed up, and what the fans interpreted. He had no idea that Ward would eventually head up Hydra. “He [Ward] belongs to all of us.”
By episode nine of season three, Dalton finally felt comfortable in the role. “I think I understand this guy,” he said, “and then they gave me the script for episode ten. As soon as they give you a lot of good stuff, you gonna die.” With his wry grin, he gave his newfound technique for avoiding character death. “Don’t read the scripts and don’t film them. If you’re not there that day, you cannot die.”
When asked who he’d rather date—Skye, Melinda, or Simmons—he proceeded to enumerate the possibilities:
- Dating Skye is dangerous. Ask Lincoln.
- Dating Melinda is dangerous. Look what she did to my foot with a nail gun!
- Now, dating Simmons…*nods head*
One of the more profound questions asked about his return to working with the team. If they had treated him better, would he have stayed on the good side? Dalton thought that it might have had an effect. He was trying to change with Agent 33. If he would have met Coulson instead of Bill Paxton’s character, he might have seen Coulson as that father figure and devoted himself to S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of Hydra.
When asked about his fight scenes, he admitted that he had no combat training prior to this role. He trained hard and learned a great deal. Despite all of the effort, the hand-to-hand combat scenes are always the first to be cut when the episode is too long. He did notice, however, that he’s “always getting beaten up in the season finale. Or dead.”
Dalton has two movies coming out in January: The Resurrection of Gavin Stone and Lost in Florence, both feel-good, romantic comedies that are completely different from Grant Ward. He’s also working on a cartoon called Milo Murphy’s Law.