'Agents of SHIELD': Age doesn't matter in May and Ward's romance
The one relationship to come out of the first 12 episodes of "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" was the one we were least expecting when the ABC series premiered. The tryst between Brett Dalton's Grant Ward and Ming-Na Wen's Melinda May has developed from drunken hookup to Coulson-approved relationship, and there's no sign of either choosing other romantic partners any time soon.
One thing that has never been a factor in the relationship between Ward and May is their age difference. In real life, Wen is almost two decades older than Dalton, but you'd never know it from looking at them (seriously, we want some of Ming-Na's fabulous genes). To "Agents of SHIELD" showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, the age gap is only a selling point for the two SHIELD warriors.
"Ming, come on. She looks amazing. And it's something to be said: A hot, mature woman. She's the Cavalry," Tancharoen tells Zap2it and other reporters during a recent visit to set. "Ward is definitely the one who scores points in this."
Whedon elaborates of the relationship, "Our goal with that was, when we were talking about it, is there's a way they both become really cool and there's no discussion of age or anything. They're two warriors who had a common experience."
Wen and Dalton admit they were both taken aback by the romantic plot twist when it was first introduced to them, but now they're totally on board with it. According to Wen, the relationship is the perfect way to humanize their sometimes-cold characters.
"I really love this relationship between May and Ward," she says. "It really builds on our characters and the secrets that they try to suppress in their world so they can function in the SHIELD world. But being human beings, it manifests where you need to have some sort of release of the stress of that kind of a job. I think they just understand each other."
Even though Ward and May are low-maintenance people, don't expect their romantic relationship to be without its complications. Tancharoen and Whedon tease that the way the two SHIELD agents close themselves off from those around them will backfire in their personal lives in the future.
"If any two people can pull off the no strings attached to a sexual relationship it would be those two, because they are so compartmentalized," Tancharoen says. "There may be a consequence to living that way with that kind of compartmentalization, we may explore that later, but for now it gets the job done so to speak."
"Part of it is Ward came into this plane not really big on people," Whedon adds. "It's not that he's having a harder time; she's just more used to it, and I think that they're both kind of double checking with each other saying, 'You're not being weird?' 'No, no. Are you being weird?' I think that they both have a pretty good handle on it."
Dalton hedges that Skye, who may or may not have feelings for Ward (though Chloe Bennet certainly wants them together), as well as Fitz and Simmons, has yet to find out that May and Ward are an item. With the final nine episodes of Season 1 barreling toward the finale, Dalton says there are "so many bigger aces up our sleeves" before the relationship fallout will be dealt with. But having to deal with a burgeoning relationship around four other peers does not work out well for May and Ward.
"It gets a little complicated, as any relationship where you have work and six people on a Bus and you're mixing work and personal feelings, so it's very subtle," Wen says.
One big reveal about May was the fact that her transformation into "The Cavalry" completely changed her character's personality. So will we ever get a flashback to see May pre-trauma? Whedon and Tancharoen says they've definitely talked about it, but audiences will have to wait a bit.
"We will explore that, and we'll learn more about that story and see a little bit of what she was like before. We'll get there," Whedon says.
When asked whether she'd want to play that side of May -- especially considering she is as giggly as her character is stoic in real life -- When concedes, "I hope so. In Season 5."
"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" returns from its mini-hiatus on Feb. 4 with episode 13, "TRACKS." It airs on ABC Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.