How The Agents Of SHIELD's Cast Felt About Their Characters' Fates

As of now, there are seven Marvel Studios original series available to stream on Disney+, with so much more on the way. After several different attempts, from the edgy Netflix Marvel shows to the more niche Hulu exclusives, it's finally safe to say the Marvel Cinematic Universe has embraced TV. If you're been a longtime fan, however, you'd remember a time when there was just one. One year after 2012's "The Avengers" changed the entertainment industry forever, a spin-off show, "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" premiered on ABC with big ambitions of being a TV complement to the ever-expanding MCU.

Due to the internal corporate drama and creative differences between Kevin Feige and Ike Perlmutter, who was in control of Marvel's TV endeavors at the time, "Agents of SHIELD" unfortunately never got to fulfill that promise. But, due to the show's loyal audience, and the genuinely strong character writing, it endured a surprisingly seven season long run, its final episode airing in August 2020, just a few months before the MCU premiered its canon series, "Wandavision."

While they never got to fight alongside the Avengers against Thanos, the SHIELD team make up a fierce found family, and the cast describe themselves just as, if not even more, close in real life. Saying goodbye to these characters that some of these actors built for eight years couldn't have been easy, but luckily, in an interview with SyFy Wire, the cast mostly embraced the fate of their characters in the finale with positive, open arms.

Ming-Na Wen appreciates May's independence and ambition

"Agents of SHIELD" season 7 saw our rag-tag group of agents on a special, time traveling mission to defeat the Chronicoms, an ancient robotic threat to humanity. Of course, our heroes prevail. The last third of the finale takes a great tonal shift, showing one final hologrammed meeting with our agents, stopping by to say hello before breaking off to their own separate paths.

It's a gorgeous farewell scene, equally balanced in its sentimentality and its mature amount of restraint. Yes, our agents are a family — but like any group of people, they have their unique desires out of life, and eventually they have to find that peace for themselves.

In the show's final moments, we get to see the whereabouts of the SHIELD crew one year after the events of season seven. When May (Ming-Na Wen) takes off her comm link, we find out she's now a teacher at the Coulson Academy. "I was happy ... for her to end up running the Coulson Academy," Wen said, "being there to uphold the standards and passing on her knowledge and experience to the new recruits of SHIELD, I felt that was very apropos for May. And to be single."

Though Coulson (Clark Gregg) is still somewhat alive in robotic form, it feels fitting for May to make her own peace with his death in a way that's fulfilling to her. May has always been a silent and guarded character, so seeing her open up to a new generation of agents as a way to make peace with her past feels like a fitting end to her character arc.

Mack and Yo-Yo take the reigns for a new generation of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Then there's Mack (Henry Simmons) and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), both still working for SHIELD, but taking the lead in their own different ways. Yo-Yo finds herself leading her own squad with Agent Davis and Agent Piper, freely using her powers as Slingshot. "I thought it was appropriate for Yo-Yo to become a leader of her own squad, said Cordova-Buckley, "she's kind of been building up to that position and she's finally there and she's happy with who she's with — the president and the first lady."

Cordova-Buckley of course is alluding to the fact that Yo-Yo's partner Mack has become the new director of SHIELD, inheriting the title from the likes of Nick Fury, Coulson, and Daisy. It makes sense for Mack, who has always been the emotional support and hidden glue of the group, to ultimately be the one to rebuild the institution for a new generation. However, for Henry Simmons, it was a shock to see Mack still working, "I was a little bit surprised because I thought that we would see everyone in their private lives quite honestly, moving on from SHIELD I liked the fact that we still continue to fight for justice."

Simmons also noted a layer to this ending that felt true to his own experiences. "It's weird because we're all kind of in separate places," Simmons admits, "but I guess that is a nod to life itself because it's very rare where individuals working collectively towards something stay together forever."

Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge rejoice in Fitzsimmons peaceful new family

One of the more rewarding threads that was tied up in the "Agents of SHIELD" finale was the payoff of the slow-burn romance between Agent Leo Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), a pairing so inseparable, they are lovingly referred to in and outside of the show as "Fitzsimmons." Although Fitz was absent for most of the season due to scheduling conflicts with De Caestecker, the finale sees the pair finally settling down and raising a child together. Says Henstridge:

"It was a lovely ending for them, and it helped to explain why Fitz was away and it had to be something bigger than them, and for them, that would be their daughter. And it was just so lovely to get to play characters that at the start were just kind of doing everything they could not to think of each other romantically, to ending at season 7 with them having this daughter that they've both laid their lives on the line for."

After years of this pairing being driven apart or being put in material harm in some way, it only made sense for these characters to retire from SHIELD and finally live the life they deserve as well as make up for all the time they lost. De Caestecker echoes Henstridge's sentiment, "It's kind of a fitting end, but the beginning of something as well, the beginning of another life for them."

Jeff Ward finds comfort in Deke's newfound selflessness

Finally, there's Deke (Jeff Ward), a relative newcomer to the show compared to all the other characters, but one that made a great impression with his bold and hilarious screen presence. When we first meet Deke, he's an orphaned bounty hunter looking out for himself, but we soon find out he's the grandson of Fitzsimmons' future child, Alya Fitz. In season 7, the SHIELD crew run into a conundrum: the only way to save their timeline is to travel through the time split that they created, so in a moment of self-sacrifice, Deke chooses to stay behind in the '80s.

"The only thing [Deke] ever wanted was a family, and saying goodbye to that family is the most selfless and good thing he could have done," says Ward. "It was pretty cool, I feel like, to get to leave him with that and for him to be strong enough to do it by himself and to say goodbye and sacrifice himself for those people."

Part of Deke's sacrifice was allowing Daisy (Chloe Bennet) space to be happy and forge a life with man-out-of-time Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), despite his own feelings. It's a poignant moment for a once self-obsessed character, and it leads us to a definitive end for Daisy and Sousa, last seen traveling the cosmos together.

Bennet has her own mixed feelings about the ending of the show, and while those feelings are valid, "Agents of SHIELD" now offers something satisfying and fulfilling that most comic book franchises simply do not have the luxury of: a definitive end.