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- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Daniel Whitehall from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Daniel Whitehall (Marvel).
|“||Freedom. Equality. Individual rights. These principles make mankind a plague on this planet. Think of a forest. It dries up and catches fire with the first spark. Now, mankind would fight that fire, believing every individual plant perfect in its own individual way. But it's the fire that's perfect. Essential. Now more magnificent plant species, like the giant sequoia, their seeds need the heat of that fire to crack open and be born. To literally rise from the ashes. And they will live for a thousand years. You don't need to keep burning. Rise... be born.||„|
|~ Whitehall to Agent 33 while brainwashing her with the Faustus Method.|
|“||Discovery requires experimentation.||„|
|~ Whitehall's sadistic motto.|
Dr. Daniel Whitehall, born as Werner Reinhardt, is one of the two main antagonists (the other being Grant Ward) of the TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He is an unseen background antagonist in Season 1, one of the two main antagonists (along with Jiaying) of Season 2, a posthumous antagonist in Season 3, the posthumous overarching antagonist of Season 5 and a mentioned antagonist in Season 7.
He was one of the leaders of HYDRA, who intended to find a mysterious object known as the Obelisk and use its potential capabilities for HYDRA's intentions of controlling the world and committing mass genocide. He is best remembered as the one who dissected Daisy Johnson's mother and Calvin Zabo's wife, Jiaying, which gained him longevity and drove her into insanity.
Born as Werner Reinhardt, he was a Nazi scientist and HYDRA general working for the Red Skull. After coming across the mysterious Obelisk, he became obsessed with learning its true potential and using it to enforce HYDRA's goals, even using countless people as lab rats to test its power. After the Skull's death, he was imprisoned in a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison for life in 1945. Decades later in 1989, he was freed and then dissected Skye's mother Jiaying, who was the only person who survived the Obelisk and didn't age. Afterwards, he gained her powers and changed his identity, becoming one of HYDRA's most prominent leaders.
After the HYDRA uprising in 2014, Whitehall along with his loyal right-hand man Sunil Bakshi went on a mission to retrieve the Obelisk and continue his studies on it, which put him in conflict with a S.H.I.E.L.D. faction led by the agency's new director, Phil Coulson. During this time, he eventually became allies with double agent Grant Ward and Calvin Zabo, who was secretly Jiaying's vengeful husband and Skye's father wanting revenge for destroying his family. During a final battle over the ancient Kree city, he was finally killed by Coulson before he could learn of the existence and power of the Inhumans.
Even after his well-deserved death, Whitehall's actions still had an impact on S.H.I.E.L.D. afterwards. After Skye met her mother Jiaying, who was still alive, she would learn how she was more the monster than her father and would try to wipe out humanity and install the Inhumans as the dominant species. Three years later, Whitehall's Destroyer of Worlds Project led to the teams conflict with General Hale and her daughter Ruby, whom he created, and would result in Glenn Talbot becoming a villain that nearly destroyed the Earth.
Daniel Whitehall was completely amoral and capable of committing any crime that could help his or HYDRA's goals which were, in his mind, to answer the keys to death itself. Confident and arrogant in his capacities, he took seemingly all situations presented to him with calm indifference if not sadistic humor. He had no problems with killing dozens of people in horrifically cruel ways to test the Obelisk's power with no remorse. He did not care about any of his lower henchmen, because he had hundreds of them ready at his disposal.
Whitehall constantly calculated and sought a person's motive before applying an action. When confronted by Calvin Zabo in his office, he stopped Sunil Bakshi from acting to learn why Zabo was there, despite witnessing Zabo kill two of his operatives moments earlier. Before he acted on Grant Ward's disobedience for not attacking the Bus, Whitehall met with him and asked his reasons. Whitehall was dedicated to understanding and discovery. As a scientist, he was observant as well as fascinated by new situations and will experiment endlessly to find solutions to his questions. He developed a mantra of discovery requiring experimentation in order to justify his amoral experiments.
Whitehall is also psychopathic, and downright callous, able to commit horrible and sadistic crimes and actions without remorse. He has no empathy for his victims and even seems to enjoy torturing them. He also believes deeply in HYDRA’s Nazi ideology, specifically their misogynistic viewpoint as he discarded Hale to be artificially inseminated to continue their Destroyer of Worlds Project rather than a S.H.I.E.L.D. sleeper agent despite her skills and ideas being superior to her male colleagues.
- He is the series' incarnation of the Kraken, a legendary HYDRA agent from the Marvel Comics universe.
- Daniel Whitehall's death marks the second time Phil Coulson has killed a main antagonist in the series, following John Garrett, and preceded by Grant Ward and Aida.
- Though he dies halfway through the season, he can still be considered the main antagonist and Big Bad of the season because his sadistic dissection of Jiaying, traumatically turned her into a villain and there is nothing else that could have happened to her that would have caused her to do the things she did. It is reasonable to say that he is more deserving of the blame than her for her attempts to start a war against S.H.I.E.L.D. and mankind.
- Whitehall could be considered the Bigger Bad of Season 5, as even though he was dead, he was the creator of the Destroyer of Worlds Project and engineered the creation of Ruby Hale, all of which also caused Glenn Talbot to become the villain Graviton.
- Whitehall earned several military decorations for his participation in the Nazi's conquest of Europe, including the Panzer Badge, the Close Combat Clasp, and the Iron Cross First Class.