Fans finally learned more about Edward James Olmos’ mysterious new character, Robert Gonzales, in last week’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Sitting as one of the heads of what the group calls “the real S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Gonzales and Coulson now find themselves on a collision course—even if the latter doesn’t know it yet.
The battle between the two S.H.I.E.L.D. organizations kicks into high gear in this week’s all-new episode, and ahead of that we had the chance to speak with Olmos about what the future holds for Gonzales and his crew.
Read the full interview below, and tune in to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Tuesdays at 9:00 PM ET on ABC to see what’s next!
Marvel.com: The main conflict between Gonzales and Coulson seems to stem from a difference in philosophy between them. I was curious, which philosophy, do you personally believe in more?
Edward James Olmos: All that I’m saying is: Get ready. Our philosophies, it’s not that they’re different. It’s just that the situations that I’ve come across and the situations that he’s come across have changed our ability to work with the same understanding. He’s working like Fury worked and under that understanding. I don’t work under Fury’s understanding. The very first scene that I did, you saw that, right? I said directly to Hunter, “Fury was being very secretive, and that’s not what we are.” Then that’s when Hunter says, “Hey, I hate to tell you guys but that one-eyed guy? He’s gone. He’s dead.” And I say, “Yeah, but Coulson isn’t.” I think that Coulson’s philosophy is the same as mine! We are S.H.I.E.L.D. We are not anything but S.H.I.E.L.D. people. It’s just that our S.H.I.E.L.D., the one that we originally put forth, was very, very transparent. And the S.H.I.E.L.D. that has materialized under Fury–and now Coulson–is much more secretive.
Marvel.com: It’s interesting that you sort of touch on Coulson’s secretive tactics, while at the same time, Gonzales has had at least two agents that we know of under cover in Coulson’s faction. What’s the difference to you between Coulson’s secretiveness and Gonzalez’s in placing moles inside Coulson’s organization?
Edward James Olmos: When we’re [dealing with] internal affairs, it’s different than what you do and how you run your structure. Internal affairs goes in and has to find out the truth. Those two agents were working under internal affairs. They had to find out what was happening and how the troops really worked. I have to tell you, there’s nothing secretive about what Gonzalez is doing. Everybody in his structure knows what he’s doing. Everybody that was sitting at that table knew what was going on. While if you asked May if she knows what Coulson’s doing, or if you ask Fitz or Simmons or even Skye, do they know? No one knows what Phil’s doing. Coulson is the leader and he’s the director, and like Fury, [he keeps] his cards very close to the chest.
Marvel.com: Very good point. And coming up, we’ve teased that there is a confrontation coming between your faction and Coulson’s. At this point, does Gonzalez see Coulson’s group as something to be absorbed, or something to be eliminated? Is it simply Coulson that needs to go or is it Coulson’s entire organization that needs to go?
Edward James Olmos: I’m not going to be able to reveal that. The changes that are needed are the same changes that are needed in our government today. So looking at our government today and we see the separation between the Democrats and the Republicans [which] is so transparent and so ridiculously founded on [the political party] that it becomes very destructive. At the same time, they’re working for the humanity that we’re working with. Our government’s going to self-destruct and they might become the same thing with what we’re doing with S.H.I.E.L.D. They might have to completely self-destruct. No one knows. That’s where we’re going with this. I don’t know what’s going to happen with S.H.I.E.L.D. Really. For real, I have no idea. [laughs]
Marvel.com: You just touched on some of the real world metaphors going on in this story. Is that something that you put thought into how you portray the character, to try to bring out more of those similarities?
Edward James Olmos: Yeah. I think that we draw, as artists, from what we know. You try to invent and be really imaginative but basically when you really get down to it, we’re taking from reality and using it in a dramatic form or fictionalized form. And here, boy, I’m really into watching what’s going on in the world around me right this second and at the same time in S.H.I.E.L.D., we are definitely inside of what’s going on and trying to stay on top of it because of the situation that we find ourselves in. You have to remember, this is interesting. I don’t know, let me ask you a quick question, to you. Okay, you’re in the Marvel world, so is S.H.I.E.L.D. under my tutelage, Good or Bad?
Marvel.com: I don’t know, I don’t think I really see it as good or bad.
Edward James Olmos: What do you see it as?
Marvel.com: I think I see the two different groups as approaching the same problems with two different solutions, both of which have their pluses and minuses.
Edward James Olmos: But is it one S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Marvel.com: You mean the two groups?
Edward James Olmos: Yup.
Marvel.com: In my mind, yeah. Because as you say, it’s just sort of two parties both trying to attain the same goals.
Edward James Olmos: Then I like the way you think. Thank you for calling me, I really appreciate it.
Catch all-new episodes of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Tuesdays at 9:00 PM ET on ABC!