At the end of Agents of SHIELD Season 3, a lot of fans assumed that Agent Melinda May (played by Ming-Na Wen) had become the new director after the time jump, replacing Coulson. And why not? She’s a proven leader and one of their most incorruptible agents.
Alas, the new director is actually played by Jason O’Mara, who we won’t see in the Season 4 premiere tonight (rumor has it he’s a character from way back in Marvel’s catalogue). May, on the other hand, is leading her own strike team of agents, training them to use some interesting new gadgets in the updated SHIELD arsenal.
So, why isn’t she director, then? Ashley Robinson at ComicBook.com asked Wen that very question in a recent interview, and this was her response:
“No, I really, I mean I was actually really surprised when people started, you know, conjuring up the whole like Director May, Director May, because for me I think it’s one of the things that she would least likely want to do.”
Wen elaborated further as to why:
“Because then she has to really go by the books. She really has to ya know, take care of any circumstances that occur within the confines of a rulebook, and that’s just not May. May wants to be out in the field more, and I think as a director you would be doing that less and it would be more administrative stuff. She’s not a suit.”
That certainly makes sense. You’ll see in the premiere that May has more agency than ever, though at the expense of SHIELD reverting to more bureaucratic tendencies than we’ve ever seen on the show. And as always, May is more willing to break the rules (and some bones) when it’s necessary.
Season 4 of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD premieres tonight at 10pm (eastern) on ABC.