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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Grant Ward from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Grant Ward (Comics).
Villain Overview
I'm everyone's type.
~ Grant Ward showing his true colors to Raina.
Everyone had this place wrong... It isn't death... It's a new beginning. Malick was right. This is all meant to be. And the fact that you followed me here, that we're in this together, that just confirms the fact that I am part of a grand plan. I see that now.
~ Grant Ward's final monologue to Phil Coulson

Grant Ward, or simply referred to as Ward, is a major character in the ABC TV series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., appearing as the secondary antagonist of Season 1, a supporting antagonist of Season 2, and the main antagonist of the first half of Season 3. A version of Ward later appeared in the Agents of HYDRA arc of Season 4, this time being a supporting protagonist.

Having grown up abused by his own family, Ward became one of the many HYDRA agents who had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. He strategically got himself onto Phil Coulson's team under the orders of the Clairvoyant, who was actually his mentor John Garrett. During this time, he began feigning interest in his teammates, especially the hacker Daisy "Skye" Johnson, whom he developed genuine feelings for. Following Garrett's death and a journey of self-discovery, Ward became the co-leader of HYDRA with Gideon Malick to avenge the death of his lover, Agent 33, which led to his death at the hands of Coulson to avenge his girlfriend and Ward's other victims. However, shortly after his death, his body became the host of the ancient Inhuman known as Hive, the creature that inspired HYDRA's creation.

He was portrayed by Brett Dalton, who later portrayed Hive who had possessed Ward's body and voiced Agent Brick in Milo Murphy's Law.

Personality

S.H.I.E.L.D. Identity

I'm agent Grant Ward. I could rupture your spleen with my left pinky... blindfolded.
~ Jemma Simmons imitating Grant Ward.

Grant Ward, while infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., generally had a bad temper but was able to stay calm and collected during sticky situations. He was slightly anti-social with strong morals and was known to be "deadly". On his days off, however, he enjoyed a nice book or even singing along to his favorite West Side Story song. As time progressed, Ward seemed to soften somewhat, developing friendships with his fellow Agents, which was eventually cemented upon rescuing Agent Simmons after she jumped from the Bus. Ward did not seem overtly interested in relationships but for a time had a purely sexual relationship with Agent May. However, when he began to develop feelings for Skye, this arrangement ended.

True Personality

See, I've seen the real Grant Ward, the one buried deep inside. He's a coward who always has an excuse or someone else to blame.
~ Bobbi Morse to Grant Ward about his true nature.

However, in reality, Ward was a master manipulator who was able to adjust his personality in order to gain the trust of others. During his time as a part of Project Centipede, Ward was shown to be blindly loyal to Garrett, whom he viewed as a father figure, and that he owed him everything. This was contributed to after Garrett trained a young Ward when he felt torn down by his family's abuse. Regarding his loyalties to Garrett and Coulson's team, Ward did appear partially conflicted, especially with his genuine feelings for many of his teammates and his increasing reservations about Garrett's actions, especially after he took the GH.325 formula. This was backed by the fact that he couldn't bring himself to directly murder Leo Fitz and Simmons, but instead ejected them into the ocean.

Following Garrett's death, Ward slowly evolved into his own person. During his imprisonment, Ward became more remorseless as he attempted to use his knowledge Skye's father to exploit regardless if it emotionally hurts her. He also murdered numerous guards during his escape, and also both his brother and his parents as revenge for the years of abuse they put him through, and showed a lack of empathy for when Daniel Whitehall confronted him about it. Ward slowly became more delusional, which started when he believed that aiding the team against HYDRA would help re-earn their trust, but this ultimately ended when Skye and Simmons both attempted to kill him on several occasions. Ward was also a hypocrite as he believes that because his family tortured him for years as a child, he had every right to kill them and that it justifies all of the cruel acts he has committed. During his time of torturing Bobbi Morse to help Agent 33 gain closure for Whitehall brainwashing her, Ward showed to be far more sadistic as he showed signs of enjoying the pain that they were inflicting on her. After being tricked by Melinda May into killing Kara Palamas, this was the last straw for Ward as he vowed vengeance against S.H.I.E.L.D. and was willing to join HYDRA as one of its last remaining leaders into order to gain "closure".

During his time as the director of HYDRA and having accidentally killed Agent 33 and lost all connections to the team he initially cared for, Ward effectively severed all ties to his humanity and whatever form of conscience he had retained before was erased. His sole objective was to subject S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson to the same amount of suffering as he had. Ward had also slightly became more arrogant and narcissistic as he viewed his beliefs were above all others' and when he recruited Werner von Strucker, he assumed that after one act of savagery that the boy could murder Andrew Garner, an act that caused Gideon Malick to chastise him. Ward was completely dismissive of the previous generation of HYDRA, believing their greed and lust for power was what led to the organization's collapse, which was partially true. Ward's sadism became more increased as he took great pleasure in killing Rosalind Price in front of Coulson, knowing that it would hurt him and would occasionally taunt him about it afterwards; and he showed a slight amount of enjoyment when he took part in both physically and emotionally torturing Fitz and Simmons.

However, overall, despite being manipulative, delusional, sadistic and remorseless, Ward still deeply cared about his younger brother, Thomas and even after being separated for fifteen years, Grant still loved him. When Coulson had Hunter point a gun to Thomas's head, Grant swore that he would cut Fitz from head to toe if they hurt him.

During his mission to Maveth to retrieve Hive, Ward realized that his life had gained a purpose. He reflected on how he lived his life and how he joined HYDRA, starting from because father figure, to vengeance and to closure. Ward looked back and thought of how things were at that point, and because that he was chosen for this mission, he felt that for the first time, his life was important for something. He actually felt truly loyal to the HYDRA organization rather than any individual HYDRA operative. He even spoke the words "Hail HYDRA" for the first time in his career. Months later, Hive, after possessing Ward's body and gaining his memories, stated that Ward was, in a way, glad to be dead. This insinuates that despite his relentlessness, he secretly wished to end his pain and suffering having finally undergone a life of turmoil, from his family, to Garrett, to Kara and was ready to die.

Abilities

  • Excellent Physical Condition: Ward passed S.H.I.E.L.D.'s combat clearance tests with flying colors.
  • Master Martial Artist: Ward was a master in hand-to-hand combat. His fighting style combined elements of Kali, Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, and Krav Maga. Maria Hill evaluated his fighting skills with the highest available marks for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s standards, and able to match the agency's best fighters. Daniel Whitehall considered him as one of the best killers. Ward often used this to take down many opponents at the same time, whether security, or other S.H.I.E.L.D agents. He managed to defeat multiple opponents whose strength surpassed his, even defeating the enhanced Centipede Soldiers
  • Master Marksman: Ward was an extremely accurate marksman skilled in sharpshooting and sniping. John Garrett recommended Ward to take this course in S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy after Ward spent time in the woods using this skill to hunt for food. Ward has famously made a shot from over 1000 yards; Ward says it was 2000. He was also able to shoot Rosalind Price from a long distance, aiming accurately at her neck in order to let her die slowly in front of Phil Coulson.
  • Multilingualism: Ward was fluent in 6 languages, including English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and one more. Ward used this skill in missions in Paris, South Ossetia, and Peru, most times as an undercover agent. He had used such skills on the train in Italy, in the Todorov Building in Belarus, and when arriving at the Barbershop Headquarters in Cuba.
  • Master Spy: Ward was a proficient agent trained in espionage, stealth, disguise and infiltration. He has spent years on some missions as an undercover agent. When taking a Lie Detector test, Ward put splinters of cable wire into his fingers to confuse the sensors. Infamously, Ward used this skill to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. as a HYDRA operative, spending years gaining trust and respect. When questioned by Raina, he explained to her methods that he used to solidify his place on Coulson's Team.
  • Expert Pilot: Ward was a competent pilot, able to maneuver a huge aircraft such as the Bus.
  • Expert Tactician: When Ward suspected that S.H.I.E.L.D. was pursuing him, he knew that they would send agents that he had never met. Ward observed that Bobbi Morse was not changing her page as she pretended to read a book. He also spotted Antoine Triplett at the bus station, subtly revealing his explosives to the agent. After the death of Kara Palamas, Ward made his goal to rebuild HYDRA from the ashes, starting with a small cell of only four operatives. Six months later, Ward had dozens of operatives under his command, all of them unscrupulous and trained in brutal fights to the death

Relationships

Family

  • Mother † - Abusive Mother and Victim
  • Father † - Abusive Father and Victim
  • Christian Ward † - Abusive Older Brother and Victim
  • Thomas Ward - Brother, Former Best Friend
  • Sister
  • Anna Ward - Sister-in-Law

Allies

  • Raina † - Former Enemy-turned Ally
  • Centipede Project
    • John Garrett † - Former S.H.I.E.L.D. Supervising Officer, HYDRA Supervisor and Father Figure
    • Kaminksy
    • Ian Quinn † - Enemy-turned Ally
    • Ernesto - Barber
  • Cybertek
    • Carlo Mancini † - Enemy
    • Sofia † - Enemy
    • Kyle Zeller
  • Carl Creel
  • Yuri Dubrovsky †
  • Marta
  • Vladimi
  • Calvin Zabo
  • Kara Palamas † - Lover and Victim
  • HYDRA (Third Incarnation) - Subordinates
    • Kebo † - Right-Hand Man
    • HYDRA Arsonist †
    • HYDRA Assassin †
    • Kirk Vogel †
    • Gideon Malick † - Rival-turned Superior
    • Giyera
    • Hive † - Controller

Enemies

  • S.H.I.E.L.D. (First Incarnation) - Allies-turned Enemies
    • Nick Fury - Director
    • Maria Hill - Deputy Director
    • Victoria Hand † - Superior and Victim
    • Felix Blake - Former Colleague
    • Eric Koeing † - Colleague and Victim
    • Coulson's Team
      • Phil Coulson - Team Leader and Former Friend
      • Melinda May - Former Lover
      • Jemma Simmons - Friend
      • Leo Fitz - Friend
      • Skye - Enemy-turned Teammate and Pupil (Former), Former Love Interest
      • Antoine Triplett † - Colleague and Former Friend
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. (Second Incarnation) - Former Jailers and Temporary Allies
    • Phil Coulson - Killer
    • Melinda May
    • Skye - Former Love Interest, Attempted Killer
    • Leo Litz - Torturer
    • Jemma Simmons - Attempted Killer
    • Antoine Triplett †
    • Bobbi Morse - Torture Victim
    • Lance Hunter - Attempted Killer
    • Billy Koenig
    • Sam Koenig
    • Michael Peterson/Deathlok - Ally (under HYDRA coercion), Now Enemy
    • Robert Gonzales
  • HYDRA (Second Incarnation) - Situational Allies
  • Werner von Strucker  † - Subordinate-turned Enemy
  • Vanchat
  • Todd Chesterfield
  • Franklin Hall
  • Chan Ho Yin/Scorch †
  • Policia Militar de Peru
    • Camilla Reyes - Ally-turned Enemy
    • Lopex
    • Perez
    • Cusi †
    • Vilca
    • Nahui † - Accidental Victim
  • Norse Paganists
    • Petra Larsen
    • Jakob Nystrom
  • Elliot Randolph - Former Ally
  • Luca Russo † - Ally-turned Enemy
  • Tobias Ford †
  • Sif † - Former Ally
  • Lorelei - Enemy-turned Enthroller
  • Dogs of Hell
    • Rooster
  • Emily Deville
  • Selwyn † - Victim
  • Andrew Garner/Lash
  • United States Armed Forces
  • Advanced Threat Containment Unit
    • Rosalind Price † - Victim

Trivia

  • Even before his reveal in the episode Turn, Turn, Turn, he was seduced and turned evil by Lorelei two episodes earlier and ended up having sex with her.
  • Ward is similar to Agent 23 from Get Smart, as both are double agents who are revealed to be working for an opposing organization and eventually betray their teammates. However, whereas Agent 23 is the main villain, Ward is the secondary villain.
  • If you define the words in Grant's name individually, Grant means "great", Douglas means "dark", and Ward means "protector". Consequently, Grant Douglas Ward means "Great Dark Protector", possibly alluding to his true nature.
  • Before his death, Ward was speculated to be an adaption of Taskmaster due to not being a character originally from comics, and since Skye was revealed to be an adaption of Daisy Johnson/Quake.
  • Following the reveal that Skye's real name was Daisy Johnson, Ward was later speculated to be an adaption of Secret Warriors member, Hellfire, due to both of them having genuine feelings for Daisy. This theory was debunked following his death.
  • Ward's death marks the third time Phil Coulson killed the main antagonist in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the first two being John Garrett and Daniel Whitehall. Ward is also the first main antagonist Coulson hasn't killed behind his back.
  • Ward is the second main antagonist that never originated from the Marvel Comics Universe, following Jiaying.
    • However, due to his popularity in the series alongside the other original main characters (Melinda May, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons), an incarnation of Ward was later introduced in the mainstream Marvel universe.
  • A recurring theme in the series was that Ward is shot every mid-season finale he appeared in. In Season 1, he gets shot by a Centipede Project helicopter (presumably on Garrett's orders to maintain Ward's cover); in Season 2, he gets shot by Daisy four times in the back; and in Season 3, he gets shot by Coulson twice, before finally killing him on Maveth, leaving his prosthetic hand (the murder weapon) next to his body.
  • In the penultimate episode of Season 3, Absolution, Daisy mentions to Coulson how Ward was brainwashed. Though this statement remains ambiguous, it's possible he was indeed brainwashed this whole time. During the second half of Season 1, Ward was completely loyal to Garrett, obeying his every command regardless of his action's consequences. After Garrett's death, he loses purpose in his life and tried to kill himself three times during his imprisonment. During Season 2, he makes a list of illogical choices (risking his life to get Coulson Sunil Bakshi only hours after escaping; later killing his abusive parents and older brother and rejoining HYDRA so he can keep his promise to Daisy by reuniting her with her father). After Daisy shoots him, Ward starts seeking personal independance, not working with many people until Agent 33 dies and decides to rejoin HYDRA as its new leader. All of the potential evidence is supported by the state of Agent 33's similar actions following Whitehall's death. It's also notable that 33 act antagonistically even after scans of her brain proved that her brainwash effects had been fully removed. This is interpreted that Daisy learned from experience that there's more than one brainwashing method and thus, emotional manipulation was a likely method under which Ward could have been brainwashed.
  • Ward has a good counterpart in the Framework, who was recruited by Victoria Hand as opposed to John Garrett and therefore learned from a genuine and benevolent mentor instead of a toxic one. This version of Grant Ward serves as an exploration of what the real Grant could have been had he truly been the person he pretended to be, and suggests to Daisy that he actually had good inside him all along.

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           Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains

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Television
John Garrett | Grant Ward | Ian Quinn | Deathlok | Camilla Reyes | Franklin Hall | Raina | Blizzard | Lorelei | Daniel Whitehall | Sunil Bakshi | Werner von Strucker | Absorbing Man | Jiaying | Calvin L. Johnson | Lash | Vin-Tak | Katya Belyakov | Johann Fennhoff | Dottie Underwood | Whitney Frost | Kingpin | James Wesley | Leland Owlsley | Vanessa Marianna | Madame Gao | Nobu Yoshioka | Bill Fisk | Hive | Giyera | Hellfire | Kilgrave | Will Simpson | Dorothy Walker | Audrey Eastman | Punisher | Elektra Natchios | Blacksmith | Diamondback | Cottonmouth | Black Mariah | Shades | Eli Morrow | Lucy Bauer | Aida | Anton Ivanov | Ellen Nadeer | Holden Radcliffe | Harold Meachum | Bakuto | Jim Pierce | Alexandra Reid | Sowande | Murakami | Maximus | Agent Orange | Jigsaw | Lewis Wilson | Jonah | Geoffrey Wilder | Kasius | Sinara | Graviton | General Hale | Ruby Hale | Alisa Jones | Karl Malus | Pryce Cheng | Detective Connors | Bushmaster | Steel Serpent | Joy Meachum | Typhoid Mary | Bullseye

Organizations
Ten Rings | Strategic Operations Command Center | Hammer Industries (Hammer Drones) | Frost Giants | HYDRA (STRIKE & Winter Soldiers) | Chitauri (Leviathans) | A.I.M. | Dark Elves | Marauders | Kree Empire (Sakaaran Mercenaries) | Yondu Ravager Clan | Celestials | Ultron Sentinels | Watchdogs | The Hand | Zealots | Sovereign | Bestman Salvage | Berserker Army | Sakaaran Guards | Fire Demons | The Pride | Black Order | Outriders | Roxxon Oil Corporation

           Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Villains

Season 1
John Garrett | HYDRA (Grant Ward, Ian Quinn, Jasper Sitwell, Deathlok & Raina) | Camilla Reyes | Franklin Hall | Blizzard | Lorelei
Season 2
Daniel Whitehall | HYDRA (Grant Ward, Wolfgang von Strucker, List, Sunil Bakshi & Absorbing Man) | Jiaying | Calvin L. Johnson | Raina | Lash | Vin-Tak | Katya Belyakov
Season 3
Hive | HYDRA (Grant Ward, Gideon Malick, Werner von Strucker, Giyera & Hellfire) | Lash | Absorbing Man | Watchdogs (Holden Radcliffe & Aida)
Season 4
Eli Morrow | Lucy Bauer | Anton Ivanov | Watchdogs (Holden Radcliffe, Aida, Ellen Nadeer & Hellfire)
Season 5
Kasius | Kree Empire (Sinara) | Graviton | HYDRA (General Hale, Ruby Hale, Werner von Strucker, Anton Ivanov & Absorbing Man) | Thanos