Enver Gjokaj is an Albanian American television and film actor best known for his work on Fox’s science fiction series “Dollhouse” and Marvel’s TV show “Agent Carter,” where he portrayed Daniel Sousa: a World War II veteran turned Strategic Scientific Reserve agent.
Sousa was hit by shrapnel during the Siege of Bastogne, leading to the loss of his leg and the need for the use of a crutch. Despite his disability, Sousa goes on to advance in the S.S.R., where he becomes chief of the spy agency’s newly-opened Los Angeles branch.
Gjokaj reprised his role as Sousa in the final season of Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which aired last year. Although the show is primarily set in a contemporary setting, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents’ time-traveling adventures provide them the opportunity to interact with Sousa, who is known in the 21st century as a legendary S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Deadline reported that Gjokaj will recur on the upcoming CBS spinoff “NCIS: Hawai’i” as Navy Captain Joe Milius.
Before becoming a professional actor, Gjokaj graduated from UC Berkeley and then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in acting at NYU as stated on his ABC biography page.
Here’s what you need to know about Gjokaj, his acting career and his history with Marvel.
1. Before He Was an S.S.R./S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, He Was in ‘The Avengers’
While most Marvel fans know Gjokaj best as Daniel Sousa, he was first seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a police officer in “The Avengers” during the Battle of New York. Per IMDB, he is credited as “Young Cop” in the film.
Gjokaj’s character is first seen in the movie running to another cop to provide an update about the National Guard. Captain America then appears at the scene to direct the two officers on what he needs them to do to help.
A deleted scene reveals that Captain America hands Gjokaj’s character — Officer Saunders, per his name tag — a Chitauri gun to use in the fight. The scene also shows that his character dies in the battle.
Gjokaj is one of several actors who has appeared in different Marvel titles. Kenneth Choi, for example, was first seen in “Captain America: The First Avenger” as Jim Morita, a member of the Howling Commandos, and reprised that role in an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Choi also appeared in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as Principal Morita, a descendant of the aforementioned character. Other actors who will or have been in multiple Marvel titles include Gemma Chan, Alfre Woodard and Laura Haddock among others.
2. He Could Have Reprised His ‘Avengers’ Role in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’
Ultimately, Gjokaj ended up on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as Daniel Sousa. But there were discussions years prior that he could reprise his role as Officer Saunders on the ABC show.
Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen created “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, with the latter two serving as showrunners alongside Jeffrey Bell. The Marvel show’s co-creators had previously worked with Gjokaj on Dollhouse.
In an interview with TVLine, Gjokaj mentioned potentially appearing on the show earlier:
“There was actually almost a bit of a “false alarm” where this may have happened a while ago. There’d been talk of trying to get back my appearance from [2012’s] The Avengers, as that [New York] cop. There was talk of tying in my cop that appeared in The Avengers, but nothing was ever official.”
When Gjokaj was brought on for the final season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Jed Whedon told The A.V. Club that there was also mention of using the time travel storyline to have Sousa go undercover as a cop, tying back to Gjokaj’s appearance in “The Avengers.” That idea, however, did not come to fruition.
3. He Acted Alongside His Identical Twin in ‘Dollhouse’
According to IMDB, Gjokaj has two brothers, one of whom is his identical twin. He has an older brother, Bekim, and an identical twin brother, Demir. Although Enver is the lone Gjokaj brother to pursue a serious acting career, he is not the only one in his family with acting credits to his name.
Season 2, episode 10 of “Dollhouse,” titled “The Attic,” featured Demir in a guest role, according to this listing on IMDB.
“Dollhouse” centers around an organization that uses men and women as “dolls,” imprinting them with whatever personalities are needed to perform different types of client work. Enver portrayed a doll named Victor. The doll’s original self was an Afghanistan war veteran named Anthony Ceccoli who has post-traumatic stress disorder.
Demir’s IMDB page lists him as playing opposite Enver as “Victor #2.” The two of them each played a version of Ceccoli.
4. Gjokaj Has Starred in Off-Broadway Plays
While Gjokaj has become best known for his on-screen work, the Los Angeles Times reports he comes from a theatre background, having starred in an off-Broadway Shakespeare play before getting into TV.
According to the Internet Off-Broadway Databse, Gjokaj made his off-Broadway debut in a 2005 production of “As You Like It” as part of The Public Theater’s “Free Shakespeare in the Park” program. He portrayed Jacques de Boys and was a member of the ensemble.
In 2018, he returned to the stage to star in the Public Theater’s production of “Fire in Dreamland.” Gjokaj played a Dutch filmmaker by the name of Jaap Hooft. According to Broadway World, his character aspires to create a film about a famous disaster: the 1911 fire that destroyed the Dreamland amusement park at Coney Island.
Gjokaj mentioned in an interview with StageBuddy.com that he “had to work like crazy” to develop the Dutch accent he used for Hooft:
“There’s something about the Dutch that is very… Dutch. And a lot of that is in the cadences and speech patterns. It’s hard to describe but there’s something very forward and open about it. There’s no American ‘coolness’ where we throw stuff away and live in vocal fry.”
Accent work, however, was not new to Gjokaj. On “Dollhouse,” he utilized a Russian accent, as he mentioned to the Los Angeles Times. This happened when his doll, Victor, was imprinted with the Anton Lubov identity.
5. He Read Marvel Comics Growing Up
Daniel Sousa may not be a character that exists in the Marvel comics, but the actor who portrayed him was a Marvel comics reader growing up. So Gjokaj had a connection to the world before becoming a part of the MCU.
Gjokaj spoke with Marvel last year regarding Sousa’s appearance on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” In the interview, he explained his personal history with the comics and what it means now to be a part of that universe:
I grew up reading Marvel comics and it still blows me away that I’m somehow now– I am portraying the character, to be clear, when I say I, that I’ve been a part of Marvel history now, and that I’m somehow in the Marvel universe as a character with some significance. It’s so fun and it’s such a trip. To this day, it’s still a real treat.
More specifically, during a roundtable interview Looper participated in prior to the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” finale, Gjokaj admitted to being a fan of Marvel’s “What If…?” comics:
When I collected Marvel [comics] when I was a kid, I loved What If…? comics. I don’t know if you guys remember What If…? comics, [but] this felt like such an amazing What If?…What if Daniel Sousa joined the cast?’ So I thought it was just a blast.
Marvel’s “What If…?” animated series, inspired by the comics of the same theme, is currently airing on Disney Plus with new episodes every Wednesday.