Actor Adrianne Palicki is one of that select group of actors who has had a foot in both the Marvel and DC universes onscreen. While her DC adventures did not work out so well – she played the title character in an unsold Wonder Woman pilot for NBC and appeared as a villain in an (also unsold) Aquaman pilot for The CW – her time with Marvel was more successful.
Palicki played agent Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, for most of two seasons on Marvel’s ABC-TV series Agents of SHIELD, appearing in 31 episodes between 2014 and 2016 alongside team partner and ex-husband Lance Hunter (Nick Blood). Morse and Hunter were such a popular part of the ensemble that Marvel TV decided to spin them off at the end of Season 3 into their own series.
However, while a pilot for that show, Marvel’s Most Wanted, was shot, the fledgling series was not picked up as ABC scaled back its Marvel broadcast content and Marvel TV itself pivoted to streaming series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
While Morse is technically still out there in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (AoS’s connections to the film universe became more tenuous as the show went on, but were still legit, while her Agent 19 alias has been transplanted to Linda Cardellini’s Laura Barton), Palicki tells Den of Geek that there are other characters she would love to play in the MCU if she had the chance.
“The only one that I haven’t played that’s on my bucket list is Rogue,” she reveals. “I would love to play Rogue, or Jean Grey. I want to be one of the X-Men.”
Palicki’s wish is not beyond the realm of possibility: Marvel has cast actors in different roles in the MCU before (see: Gemma Chan, Kenneth Choi, Mahershala Ali) and enough time will have passed since Palicki’s AoS stint before Marvel Studios gets the mutant corner of the MCU fully up and running.
In the meantime, however, Palicki has nothing but fond memories of her time as part of the AoS world. “I loved working on that,” she says. “I mean, it was hard. We had three units going at all times. We’d have the main unit, we’d have a second unit shooting the action stuff, and we’d have the third unit, which is usually on the eighth day, starting the next episode. So all of us would be jumping from one thing to the next, to another episode, to another fight scene, to whatever.”
Palicki says that she remains close friends with Nick Blood, Ming-Na Wen (Agent Melinda May) and Henry Simmons (Agent Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie), and that while the show was “a lot of work,” it was also “really fun and surreal” to be part of it. She adds that plans were already afoot for a bigger role for Bobbi Morse when she came aboard.
“I’d entered the show knowing that it was going to either transition to a series or was going to go into the films, so that was already kind of in play,” she says now. “That moment in the bar, when we say goodbye to Mack, is still like, I think, one of the best moments of that show just because the love that’s with those three characters is so much and you really feel the loss of those characters.”
Morse and Hunter were disavowed by SHIELD at the end of Season 3, sending the sparring one-time romantic partners on the run and ostensibly into their own show. But while Marvel’s Most Wanted advanced to the pilot stage, it never got picked up as a series.
“Most Wanted was really good,” Palicki says wistfully. “It was really good. I just think that at the time, they didn’t want to bring any more Marvel shows on that network. So it’s too bad because I think it would have really done well.” [Agent Carter was also on ABC around the same time.]
Palicki says that had Most Wanted gone to series, it would have had a different tone that the sometimes-uneasy mix of spy intrigue and sci-fi shenanigans offered by AoS. “It was very different,” she reveals. “It was just these two people. It kind of had this Bonnie and Clyde feel to it, with their comedy sensibility, and just boom, boom, boom action. But it felt like it was more in our universe, as opposed to the sci-fi universe of things. It was a little bit more grounded in human nature.”
Although Palicki and the Most Wanted team were disappointed that the show was not picked up (“We were all just so bummed — we really thought that was a shoo-in”), she’s adamant that she’d jump back into Bobbi Morse’s gear in a heartbeat if she got the call – or if her X-Men dreams don’t work out.
“I would love to put on that costume again,” Palicki says. “I loved playing Bobbi Morse. I loved everything about that character. She embodied all the things: She was comedy. She was drama. She was action. She had it all. She’s a really fun character, and I would love, love, love to play her again.”
Agents of SHIELD is currently streaming on Disney+.