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Exclusive: Executive Producer Maurissa Tancharoen on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.’s New and Improved Second Season

Having written for Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and sung on the soundtrack for Much Ado about Nothing, Maurissa Tancharoen (pictured below) is no stranger to the way things work at Mutant Enemy Productions. And, along with her husband and fellow executive producer Jed Whedon, she’s brought new life to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after its sometimes rocky first season. I caught up with the multi-talented Tancharoen recently, and she shared a little about what’s in store for Agent Coulson and his cohorts now that they’re battling both Hydra and the U.S. military.

Nerdist: Fans appear to be happy with how you guys have springboarded off of your crossover with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Since that time have you developed a new rhythm or rule of thumb for coordinating your storylines with those of Marvel’s films?

Maurissa Tancharoen: Right. I have to say we set out to make the show we always intended to make. It wasn’t adored by everyone, but enough people tuned in every week to get us to a second season. As far as the way we structured everything, we were well aware that in the middle of our season we would blow up. [Laughs] So it seemed that we were biding our time, but you’ll see in the second season that a lot of the seeds we planted last year will come into play. So I think we’re staying the course, and the momentum that we gained from the reveal that happened in Cap 2 is very much where we’re starting at the top of this season.


N: Do you find you’re better able to relate to these characters the more seasoned and world-weary they become, because of the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

MT: Well we don’t have that huge challenge that we faced in season 1, which is introducing the world to a cast of new characters, and characters that had never been established in the comic universe. So I think everyone has spent enough time with them to get to know them, like them, dislike them. Now we come into who they already are. They very much feel more lived in, some time has passed. They’ve all been through a hell of a lot last season. So you can feel that weight and you can feel how they’ve changed. Mainly in Skye, just as far as the wide-eyed ingenue goes — now we see who she really is. She’s sort of a hardened spy. So we’ll be exploring a lot of that with many of our characters.

N: The show began as a Marvel show, but it appears to be more Marvel-like than ever, in the classic fashion, in that most of the characters are damaged people.

MT: I think everyone is damaged. So we’ll just start there. [Laughs] It may seem the damage is more heightened now because of their dire situation. But again, a quality that we have in the work that we like to do is just maintaining a sense of humor about it. That’s something we very much achieved with Coulson. He is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he’ll joke about re-tiling bathrooms or fixing the George Foreman grill.

N: With the new faces this year, and the the influx of new characters, has part of your plan for season 2 been to increase the amount of change within the organization’s ranks?

MT: People will come, people will go. And it seems like a lot of people, but this is basically what you’re seeing in all of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yeah, I think “trust no one” is a good motto.

N: Well, we’ll trust you guys to deliver a solid season.

MT: [Laughs] Thank you.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights at 9|8c, and don’t miss our weekly S.H.I.E.L.D. reviews every Wednesday.

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