EXCLUSIVE: Joss Whedon has recruited ER alumna Ming-Na Wen for one of the leads in his ABC drama pilot Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., which he is co-writing and directing. The project, from Marvel TV and ABC TV Studios, is based on a peacekeeping group found in both the comic book and feature film universes, including the blockbuster 2012 movie The Avengers. Ming-Na will play Agent Melinda May. Soulful and slightly damaged by her combat experiences, Melinda is an ace pilot, a weapons expert and a soldier who can — and has — gone beyond the call of duty. The character was originally listed on the pilot’s casting breakdown as Agent Althea Rice, aka The Cavalry. Ming-Na is the second actor cast in S.H.I.E.L.D., joining Clark Gregg, who is reprising his Iron Man, Thor and Avengers role as Agent Phil Coulson.
Whedon is co-writing the pilot script with his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. The three executive produce with Jeffrey Bell and Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb. Ming-Na, who is reverting to her full name, Ming-Na Wen, comes to S.H.I.E.L.D. with solid sci-fi credentials after recent stints on Syfy’s Eureka and Stargate Universe. She is repped by Innovative Artists, KLWGN and Jackoway Tyerman.