SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" midseason finale, which aired on December 8.
When Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) next appears in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," he'll have a whole new identity. Following an earlier leak last week, Nerdist has confirmed with "S.H.I.E.L.D." showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen that Ward has been transformed into the "Secret Warriors" villain Hive following the events of the midseason finale.
“As we saw in the midseason finale episode, Ward is back on Earth, but he’s definitely not the same Ward who went through the portal to the alien world,” revealed showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen in a statement. In the episode "Maveth," Coulson shot Ward dead on an alien planet, but Ward's corpse was possessed by the malicious entity that haunted the remote location. They added that their take on Hive “is going to have its own unique twist and be very different from what fans have seen so far. We will see similarities that pay homage to the original character, but fans will see that Hive is taking an exciting new direction in the world of 'Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'”
The news of Hive's addition to the show first broke as part of an interview with "S.H.I.E.L.D." actor Elizabeth Henstridge. While discussing how Agent Simmons deals with the constantly shifting circumstances of the show's world, Henstridge said "...and now Ward is Hive and takes on the memories of people he's killed, so that's going to have some interesting situations."
Created by Jonathan Hickman in his "Secret Warriors" series, Hive is a mass of genetically engineered parasites created by Hydra to personify the best qualities of the organization and the individuals therein. The parasites latch onto a human host, increasing its strength while absorbing its memories. The TV show has taken a different route with the character, as it has already been revealed that the creature is an Inhuman and that freeing it and harnessing its powers is the reason Hydra was originally founded. Still, the increased strength and memory absorption remain part of its power set.
"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." returns to ABC on Tuesday, March 8.