With Avengers: Age of Ultron burning up the box office, Marvel is hotter than ever… thanks in no small part to this year’s amazing season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. No longer the clean-up crew for the “real” superheroes, our favorite comic-book commandos have been thrust into the world of corruption, Asgardians and—most recently—Inhumans, along with Chloe Bennett’s character Skye have been the center of it all. Skye (also known to her real parents as Daisy Johnson) has grown from a junior geek goddess to legit badass, complete with super powers she never wanted, parents with murderous tendencies, and a former soulmate who turned out to be a treacherous sociopath. Despite all this, Paste found her to be in great spirits for this interview, as we chatted about Skye’s past, present, and future, and tonight’s season finale.
Paste Magazine: When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced Skye in the first episode, she was just a hacker living in a van. Now, she’s a legit, capable SHIELD agent with advanced fighting skills. Did you feel like your path in evolving as a performer was parallel to that, since you’ve had to learn how to do increasingly-difficult stunts and fight scenes over the last two seasons?
Chloe Bennet: Completely. I was thinking of it the other day. I’ve just had such a similar journey. We kind of got thrown onto the show just like how Skye got thrown into S.H.I.E.L.D. with people she didn’t know, and then she grew close to them and had to prepare for them in a way she’s never prepared for people before. That’s exactly how I feel about our cast.
During the hiatus last season. I trained for a couple of months every day for probably about four hours. I put myself through my own version of S.H.I.E.L.D. training, learning Muay Thai and moves we could incorporate into our choreography. We did lots of intense cardio to get ready for the season and did a lot of the gun training beforehand, so we kind of had a base starting point. That helped me so much.
I’m so different from who I was when I first started the show, and I think I’m more knowledgeable. I’m more comfortable in my own skin. It’s going to be a weird day, the day I ever stop playing Skye. A part of me will feel a little lost or a little off, because I feel so connected to everything she’s gone through.
Paste: On a day-to-day basis, has the job changed a lot for you now that you’re involved in a lot more of the fight scenes? Has this season been a lot crazier for you than the first one?
Bennet: You know, last year was actually very busy. From the second we started, to the day we wrapped, it was kind of a crazy tornado of chaos and excitement and fun, and just a lot of hard work. There was a lot of pressure on us for the first season. I put pressure on myself to make this as good as I could have made it.
I was super-green and I had really been given an amazing opportunity by Joss [Whedon] and the creators of the show. They put a lot of faith in me, so I think I was a little bit more stressed last season, but the workload this season was definitely more because of the stunts. It’s a whole other thing. It feels like you’re going to the gym all day.
It’s also like playing video games, except you actually get to do it. I have six brothers, so we always used to play Halo. I was really bad at it, and so getting to be good at basically the real-life hero is really exciting for me, mostly because I can rub it into my brothers’ faces.
Bennet: When they saw a scene I did recently they were kind of just like “You didn’t really do that.” I was like “Yeah, I did. That was all me.” They just didn’t believe me. They still don’t believe me, but it’s fine.
Paste: So what was it like for you to develop the relationship with Kyle MacLachlan [Skye’s father]—figuring out what that dynamic was going to be?
Bennet: Kyle is so wonderful to work with—from the first day we shot together, where I walk into the room, and he’s there and he goes “Hi.” I get nervous or anxious thinking about it because it was so wonderful. Every scene I get to shoot with him I look forward to, because there’s just like this whole father-daughter chemistry that we have. I think you’ll see that a lot coming into the end of this season.
There are going to be so many feels… Feels upon feels, they’re not going to be able to handle themselves.
Paste: That’s what people want. There’s a betting pool on how many feels there’s going to be in that two-hour episode.
Bennet: Oh my gosh! They might break Twitter or something. We shot these as two different episodes, so we didn’t experience it the way everyone’s going to get it. Everyone’s going to get two full hours. After reading the first one and then reading the second half together, it’s really… People are just going to shoot themselves. There are totally unexpected moments. And it comes at you left and right, so no one has a chance. It’s going to be great.
Paste: In a recent episode, we saw a very dark and unexpected turn for Skye’s mom, Jiaying.
Bennet: (laughs) Yeah? What do you mean?
Paste: I can’t tell you, I’m sorry. Marvel confidentiality clause.
Bennet: Tell me what happens!
Paste: After witnessing her kill Agent Gonzales and declare war on S.H.I.E.L.D., we now understand what she’s capable of, but at this moment Skye does not know any of this. From your perspective right now, where is Skye’s head as far as her trust and her emotional attachment to Jiaying?
Bennet: You know, I’m going to be honest. Shooting the finale was definitely difficult for me knowing, as Chloe, what Skye doesn’t know because her whole life she’s been looking for her parents and wanting to have that connection. She finally finds it and there’s this woman who’s so interesting and knowledgeable and comes across as caring, and kind, especially compared to what she thinks of her dad… it’s been kind of a dream come true.
Not only is she that way, but she was able to teach her something that she’s never had. She has the experience of being at home and at peace for the first time in her life, and then she finds out—and I think she struggles with—who to trust. Definitely in the finale you’ll see Skye just being completely torn between this S.H.I.E.L.D. family that she, I think in her gut, knows is right, and this person who she’s kind of just come upon and really grown to trust in a short period of time. It’s really hard on Skye.
Paste: It’s an interesting parallel between two parental units. I think at this point, she kind of knows what her dad is all about, and she also understands where her surrogate dad, Phil Coulson, is coming from. She’s yet to learn the true nature of her actual mother, but we have seen angst towards her other major maternal influence, Agent May—especially after learning that she’d taken out a young Inhuman in Bahrain years prior. Where does that relationship stand?
Bennet: To say you’ll probably see a little bit of tension between May and Skye in the finale would be an understatement. I think you’ll know what I’m talking about once you see it, but Skye is in what I like to call it a bit of a teenage phase in my mind. She so badly wants for her new family to be who she has grown to think they are in her mind. Once stuff kind of starts unraveling, she’s clinging on to that idea of what she thinks they are. It’s kind of like a kid saying, “Mom, my friends are really cool. You have no idea.” She just feels a little bit like that, telling Coulson and May, “Well, they’re really good, I swear.”
There’s going to be a very interesting dynamic coming up. Skye’s really completely torn between the two families. It was kind of a weird divorce. She is an Inhuman, but she also is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent cornered in the middle of everything, and there’s going to be a huge struggle with her figuring out what’s right. I hope the fans can see where she’s coming from with the decision she makes.
Paste: Last season’s storyline trajectory was totally turned on its ear when it was revealed that the terrorist group known as Hydra had secretly infiltrated S.H.I.EL.D. Were any similar bombs dropped on you this season?
Bennet: I think any deaths are pretty harsh, even if the characters may not seem like we’re close to them on the show. We’re a really close-knit cast, so when Bakshi and Tripp—Simon and BJ—when they got killed off, it was really hard for all of us.
For me, the current twist with my mom is huge and I felt that for Skye. When I read it I was just like, “No, she just got her mom! Really? Really?” I’m still in a little bit of denial about it. There are things in the finale that go down that are pretty unforgivable. And that comes with the territory. It’s exciting because you know the fans are going to have some pretty interesting reactions when it goes down.
Paste: These days, it seems like everyone is still hung up on shipping “ Skyward.” From your perspective, is there any chance that we could see Skye and Grant Ward get together?
Bennet: (laughs) You know, it’s so funny because he’s like a big time murderer.
Paste: I know!
Bennet: I don’t know. I had hopes, and the more time passes, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. But in Marvel, you just never know what could happen. They could do some crazy twists for next season or whenever, but it’s really hard to imagine. The logical person in me, I would never date someone who’s a murderer. He did some pretty unforgivable things. So unless he does a complete 180, I don’t know.
I like that fans are still invested, but I really want to see Fitz and Simmons together. I don’t know when that will happen. I just want to see Ian and Elizabeth make out in real life because that would be so hilarious and awkward—they’re like siblings. I would get a bag of popcorn and sit there and look at how uncomfortable they’d be, and it would be so fun for me. I’d even be down with Simmons and Skye. I’m not opposed to that. I love Elizabeth. I’d be so happy with that.
Paste: That’s ratings!
Bennet: Yeah, right! I don’t know what the word is … “Skyelink” or something like that. Skye and Lincoln have a cute little thing going on. I think it’s cool. That’s more realistic right now than Skyward. I hope that everyone is still very excited and still invested in that relationship. The writers definitely teased Skye and Ward at the end of the first season, and then they just really took it away. They love playing hard to get with all the fans.
Paste: I have to tell you that we did get one suggestion on Twitter. This isn’t even catchy, but somebody pitched “Skyekoenig,” which I just thought was the greatest.
Bennet: I love Patton! He’s amazing. I remember once before he was even on the show, I saw him driving and I think I followed him. I told him about it and he was like, “Oh, okay, that’s weird.”
So that would be amazing. There are so many opportunities, but who knows where the writers will go? I feel my favorite relationships on the show are between Skye and Simmons and Skye and Coulson. I love the connection I have with Coulson and with Clark. Clark is like my off-screen big brother, uncle, friend. If he hasn’t talked to me in like two weeks, he’ll call me and say, “Hey bud, how you doing? How’s everything?” We have that relationship in real life. His family is like my west coast family and I just love him so much. And Elizabeth and I are obsessed with each other.
Paste: If Skye could visit any other Marvel movie or TV show, where would you like to see her pop up?
Bennet: I would love to pop up in Civil War. I’m a big fan of what Daisy Johnson’s become in the comics and I saw Avengers twice, so obviously I’m really excited about that world. I would love to be a part of that with Captain America, Thor and everyone.
Or we could go totally abstract… I would love to pop into reality shows set in Beverly Hills, like The Kardashians.
Paste:For fans that are truly invested in Skye’s story, what can we expect to see this Tuesday on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale?
Bennet: S.H.I.E.L.D is really putting everything on the line. There’s kind of a battle going on between the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D. Everyone’s forced to make sacrifices and everyone’s relationships are going to change. Everything is basically going to change after this, in every way.
It’s really shocking. I know that’s a very cliché thing to say, but every relationship will be tested or changed. Everyone’s forced to take sides, so we’ll see what happens. But your jaws will drop. There’s some really big action. My favorite sequence that I’ve done ever was for the finale. Probably one of my most proud moments.