Dr. Calvin Johnson lived and worked in Milwaukee, where he had a private practice and led a very comfortable life. He joined Doctors Without Borders and was sent to China. He worked in a clinic, where he met Jiaying, who would become his wife. As he could not understand Chinese, she helped him with translations. After a while, the two of them had a daughter, whom Zabo delivered himself, and they named her Daisy. In 1989, Jiaying was killed by Werner Reinhardt, a Hydra scientist and disciple of the Red Skull who experimented on her to see why she could touch the Diviner and had not aged in forty years. Cal swore revenge against those who butchered her.
At some point later, Cal took a group of con-artists in Shanghai under his protection. One of the con artists was Raina, who would be loyal to the man for several years. In 2014, Raina let the man know she had found his daughter, and that she was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. He demanded Raina bring his daughter to him. Instead, she brought back the Diviner, which Cal had her touch. Raina was able to hold the device. Werner Reinhardt, now going as Daniel Whitehall, found out Raina was in possession of the device, so he ambushed her and threatened to kill her unless she turned the Diviner over to Hydra in 48 hours. When she reported this back to Skye's father, he attacked her and asked if she was more afraid of Hydra than she was of him. Raina tried to get S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Phil Coulson to hand over Skye so her father would let her give the Diviner to Hydra. Coulson refused, but Skye ran to where Raina said her father was anyway. When she arrived, Skye found a few bloodied corpses littering the floor, leading her to think her father was a monster. Cal watched the whole thing remotely from his car, and smashed his tablet in frustration. He then went to Daniel Whitehall's office to deliver him the Diviner in person. Citing their mutual enemy in S.H.I.E.L.D., he offered to teach Whitehall what he knew about the Diviner, revealing to Hydra that the device is not a weapon but a map to a hidden city. The Diviner would "divine" those it deemed worthy to enter a temple inside the city, and Cal would lead them to that temple. Not long afterwards, Daniel Whitehall introduced the man to Grant Ward, a Hydra operative and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who worked closely with Skye and Director Coulson.
Ward later took Skye as his prisoner and reunited her with her father. Skye at first wanted nothing to with her father because he worked with Hydra, but Cal eventually got her to listen to him. He told her about how Daniel Whitehall butchered her mother, and that she was in the exact place she needed to be to undergo an important transformation. Cal then left his daughter to get his revenge on Daniel Whitehall, who was overseeing the drill digging into the mysterious city. However, Daniel Whitehall had Skye escorted into the chamber as well, and made her pick up the Obelisk. When she could lift it without being affected, she attacked Whitehall's soldiers with it, and Ward and Cal fought Hydra with her. They were quickly outnumbered, and Skye and Ward were tied up while Cal had a shock collar implanted into his neck. They were not indisposed for long, as Cal managed to overpower his guard when S.H.I.E.L.D. attacked Hydra's location. He left both Skye tied-up because he did not want her to see what he was going to do to Daniel Whitehall, as well as Ward because he needed to do it alone. Cal found Daniel Whitehall in the chaos, and has Daniel Whitehall raised his gun to him he was shot in the back by Director Coulson. Denied his revenge, Cal went into a fury and started savagely beating Coulson. Eventually, Skye, who had been let out of her ties once Ward cut himself free, found him and demanded he get off Coulson and leave. He refused, so Skye threatened to shoot him. Rather than force his daughter to do that, Cal chose to stop beating Coulson. Before he left, he said goodbye to his daughter, told her she would need him once she changed, and called her by her real name, "Daisy."
Cal later prepared to leave Puerto Rico when he was confronted by Raina, who had undergone Terrigenesis, and her transformation had stripped away her humanly beauty, leaving her hairless and covered in thorns. As she ranted on how Skye remained beautiful after her transformation, Cal became ecstatic that his daughter had undergone Terrigenesis, and couldn't care less about what had happened to Raina. He then departed her company to recruit other enhanced people on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Gifted Index to lure out Coulson so he can kill him.
Cal tracked down and recruited Karla Faye Gideon, Wendell Levi, Francis Noche, and David A. Angar and took them to Coulson's home in Wisconsin, where they rendered an entire field of teenagers catatonic, to draw out Coulson and make an example of S.H.I.E.L.D. by portraying them as a barbaric organization keeping the "gifted" suppressed. Just when Coulson surrendered himself, Agent May turned up with a gun pointed to Skye's head, demanding Cal stand down. Then, suddenly, an Inhuman named Gordon teleported on the field and abducted Cal. In an unknown location, Cal let out a tantrum that Skye was not taken too. Gordon reminded him that he was not an Inhuman and his fate would be decided by his superiors.
Enhanced Strength: Cal has superhuman strength when under the influence of his drug cocktail of amphetamines, steroids, and hormones, and was able to easily kill humans with his bare hands.
Gifted Intellect: Cal has an extremely high intellect, and has a broad base of education ranging from the scientific arts to mythology and fantasy (i.e. extensive knowledge on the Diviner)
Skilled Physician: Cal has shown extensive medical knowledge and able to perform on-the-spot surgery
Delusional: Cal was fixated on the belief that he could bring his family back together again after decades of separation. He went to extreme, often irrational, lengths to ensure this plan came to fruition.
Emotionally unstable: Cal, after the loss of his wife and daughter, has become a violent and uncontrollable man.
He usually keeps a first aid kit, just in case someone is hurt or dying. He used the first aid kit to help fix Agent Triplett's shoulder when he was shot by Hydra soldiers. He can also use a surgical knife as a weapon if needed, demonstrated when he almost escaped from a Hydra base.
- Kyle MacLachlan portrays Cal Zabo in the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes "Heavy Is the Head," "A Hen in the Wolf House," "The Things We Bury," and "What They Become." An uncredited extra made a cameo appearance as Skye's father in the shadows at the end of "Beginning of the End."
- Cal's full name was confirmed by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon.
- 15 Appearances of Calvin Zabo (Earth-199999)
- Minor Appearances of Calvin Zabo (Earth-199999)
- Media Calvin Zabo (Earth-199999) was Mentioned in
- 7 Images featuring Calvin Zabo (Earth-199999)
- 3 Quotations by or about Calvin Zabo (Earth-199999)
- Character Gallery: Calvin Zabo (Earth-199999)
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- Strom, Marc (10 December 2014). Debriefing the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Winter Finale. Marvel.com. Retrieved on 9 December 2014.
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