Ming Na Wen -- best known as Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen on NBC's ER, Jing-Mei "June" Woo in the movie The Joy Luck Club and Fa Mulan's voice in two Disney animated movies -- has become the second actor cast in ABC drama pilot Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. Inspired by the secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. group, which operates as a law enforcement agency in the 2012 film The Avengers, the show is projected to fit in to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, but will focus on a different set of characters. Ming-Na will be joining Clark Gregg, who is reprising his Iron Man, Thor and Avengers role as Agent Phil Coulson.
The project is a collaboration between Marvel TV and ABC TV Studios. Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers and cult TV genius behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is co-writing and directing with his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and producing the pilot with Jeffrey Bell and Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb.
Ming-Na will play Agent Melinda May. According to Deadline.com: "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."
Ming-Na's character was originally listed on the pilot’s casting breakdown as Agent Althea Rice, aka The Cavalry.
In the past, Ming-Na has often played sci-fi roles such as Chun-Li Zang in the 1994 movie Street Fighter, Doctor Aki Ross in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, U.S. Senator Michaela Wen on Syfy's Eureka, and Camile Wray on Syfy's SGU: Stargate Universe. She also voiced the character Lisa Wu a.k.a. Jade in the HBO animated series Spawn and Detective Ellen Yin on The Batman animated series.
Production on the pilot has already begun, and there are reports that ABC has placed S.H.I.E.L.D in its fall 2013 lineup.