Published On: Wed, Jan 18th, 2017

‘Agents of SHIELD’ season 4: Ming-Na Wen talks LMD twists, the impact on Agent May

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be delving deep into Marvel lore during the second half of the show’s fourth season after finally featuring Life Model Decoys.

At the close of season 3, S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced the comic book concept with a brief nod to AIDA, the artificial intelligence data analyzer used by John Hannah’s Dr. Radcliffe, who later brought his creation to life in season 4.

In the winter finale, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) was revealed to be unconscious in Dr. Radcliffe’s lab, under the care of Life Model Decoy Aida (Mallory Jansen) while Agent May was still out in the field.

“When they told me that there was going to be an LMD May, it was a real surprise,” Wen tells EW.

“One of the key factors about an LMD is that, right now, AIDA has created a replica of May using all her brain data that they downloaded when she was dying,” Wen says.

“For me, when I was playing LMD May, it’s not very different from playing the real May, so the challenge was keeping track of what’s going on, who’s who, and how to somehow find little moments [to differentiate her]. You could have twins that are identical, and yet you’ll always find a little something that’s a little different, so that’s what I try to incorporate into it.”

The real May will not be happy with the situation once she’s conscious. “I think she’ll be a little pissed, don’t you?” Wen says. “And a little disappointed in herself for having been imprisoned.”

The concept of Life Model Decoys in the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. dates back to the conception of the show, with many fans believing that Coulson (Clark Gregg), who had perished in Marvel’s The Avengers, was actually an LMD.

Gregg previously hinted to EW that the show would finally be exploring the Coulson-May relationship dynamic. “It was a real clever way for the writers to come up with a way to fulfill the Philinda fans’ fantasies,” Wen says, “and also delve further into May, because she doesn’t open up about much. It’s an interesting way to look into her mind through Robo-May.”

Wen’s comments seem to suggest less nefarious intentions for Robo-May growing closer to Coulson: “Let’s see if she gets out of the prison first!” Wen says of the real May’s feelings.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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