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Why Did Marvel Alter Pivotal Scene For Avengers U.K. DVD Release?

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s The Avengers.

Fans have been wanting to see the return of Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson seemingly since he was killed in The Avengers. The real question is: Is Marvel working to make that happen?

The answer is: Maybe. It’s easy to read too much into things that could be a mistake or have an easy explanation, but we’d really like to think a certain change in the home-video cut of The Avengers released in the U.K. was intentional. Bleeding Cool noticed a major difference between the original theatrical version of Coulson’s death scene and the one used in the U.K. Blu-ray/DVD release, which leads to some questions about just how dead he actually is.

In the original version, we see Loki kill Coulson with his spear. The killing blow is pretty definitive, with the spear tip blatantly protruding from Coulson’s chest. However, in the new version, the tip of the spear is removed, making Coulson’s death less violent and shocking.

This all could be chalked up to censorship or something of that ilk, but it’s worth noting that the U.K. screened the original theatrical cut of The Avengers in theaters. It’s also worth mentioning that other nations’ Blu-ray/DVD releases have the original version of Coulson’s death in them. So is Marvel retconning the whole thing to make Coulson’s return more plausible? Is there actually a chance Coulson could return as The Vision on Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D. television series? Or is this just one big mistake? We aren’t sure, but we like to think the former.

In May, Gregg admitted he didn’t think he’d get a chance to play Coulson again, but he loved all of the Vision theories. He also said he wouldn’t be surprised if fan interest brought Coulson back from the grave.

“I never know what Marvel is going to do, but I have to kind of feel like I’m trying to do my own business with ‘I probably won’t get to play this guy again.’ I love it, who knows? Who knows what the fans can make happen, you know what I mean?” he said. “That would be hilarious to me if the fans somehow managed… It would be the fans who brought Coulson back to life, but I don’t think there’s any plans. They’ve got enough superheroes to now bring in to take his place, you know? I think people would rather see Wasp than me come back.”

Coulson's death on the U.K. Blu-ray release

Coulson's death as originally depicted

(Images via


  • Richard Casey

    I would put it up to a censorship issue more than anything else, which seems odd, considering the fact it screened fine in the U.K. Makes me wonder if perhaps there were complaints. That said, I don’t care, I’m buying that Suitcase box set, or whatever it turns out to be, when it’s released next year.

  • tomdaylight

    Nah. It’s censorship. Disney will have done it to get a lower rating so they can sell it more easily in supermarkets. (Lord knows why but the BBFC rates DVDs separate to movies.) A bit stupid if they did that but left in “mewling quim”, but whatever. I’m not buying it anyway because of the lack of commentary, this just seals it.

  • loki4ever

    I realy want to see coulson back

  • Christian

    Worth noting that the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) gave this release a rating based on the UNEDITED version with the spear intact and are now investigating, as technically Disney could be breaking the law releasing a version that hasn’t been classified

    The release also has minimal extras, apparently being released a week early was too quick to add the Joss Whedon commentary that’s on the US release (can anyone say double dip ultimate edition next year?)

  • Orphan

    Return as the Vision! WTF that’s the stupidest idea ever. You Avenger fans gotta get a grip.

  • Erik Galston

    if they were changing the scene to make it more probable to bring Coulson, back you’d think they would have changed the scene on EVERY copy, not just the UK. 

  • Deanjsimons

    That just put me off buying the DVD.

  • percane

     it’s not stupid at all. in the comics, the vision was an android whose mental patterns were based off another avenger, wonder man. since there’s no wonder man in the avengers yet, it makes perfect sense to base an android’s mental patterns on someone else, and coulson fits the bill nicely.

    furthermore, it would make sense for SHIELD to have his mental patterns on record for Life Model Decoys, which they mentioned in the movie

  • Ollywood

    Is it just the dvd release? What about the blu-ray?

  • guest

    This sounds like a weird error or censorship rather than laying the ground to bring back Coulson. Millions of people saw the spear tip in the theatrical version and most of them probably won’t see the alternate version.

    And this version wouldn’t make a return of Coulson any smoother. If Loki bonked Coulson on the head with a comedy mallet on the DVD, that would be one thing. But the edit doesn’t change the fact that Coulson still has a bloody shirt and his last words.

  • the Dagman

    The easy way to bring Coulson back is to reveal he always was a Life Model Decoy from the beginning. And movie LMDs bleed if stabbed, because they are life model decoys and living things are supposed to bleed. If they did not, they wouldn’t be very good decoys now, would they?

  • Xaos

    Yeah, kind of doubting that they changed the movie for the trade paperback version to do a retcon

  • VBartilucci

    Why are we all worrying about the tip of the spear?  It was an LMD.



  • danpsou

    Why is that a stupid idea? Surely the Vision’s original story would be way too out there for the movie verse, And having Coulson become the Vision would establish an original legacy element to the whole Avengers film franchise.

  • malestrithe

    Coulson is dead in the movie universe. Move on already. If they do bring him back, do it in a way that’s more original than the Vision.

  • SPitfireOverThames

    No time to include the Whedon commentary but they had time to revamp / revise a pivotal scene… Doesn’t make sense!!!

  • Spitfire Sean

    I’m not buying due to no commentary, too. I saw it five times. Commentary would’ve been major selling point for me here in UK. I also see there’s only 15 min of deleted scenes when they previously noted it would be up to 45 minutes of deleted scenes…

  • danpsou

    The Vision is an original way to bring him back, specially for the vast majority of the movie’s audience.

  • Lead_sharp

    Hate to say this but if a mothers group over here winges loud enough it tends to make the censorship board grab it’s ankles.

  •!/ David R. Schmitt

    Where did this whole thing of Coulson being the Vision even come from? It’s not hinted at in the movie AT ALL! Is it strictly because of his hairline? Because if that’s the case then that’s a pretty darn weak connection internet.

  • sandwich eater

    I don’t like the Vision theories.  If Coulson does come back as the Vision he’d be a completely different character, and he’d be lacking humor.  I’d say the easy solution is to make the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show take place before the Avengers, and make Coulson the star.  That’s an easy way for us fans to get more Coulson.

  • Sowat

    Wasn’t it hinted at in the theatrical cut that he might still be alive? I thought the thing with the baseball cards was a hint at Fury lying about his death to inspire the Avengers…maybe that’s just what I wanted to read into the situation.

    Coulson has been integrated into the comics now so it wouldn’t be right to have him inspire Vision. The comics took a long time to establish that Vision, while based on Wonder Man, is his own being with his own experiences that have shaped him since his existence. Given that, it wouldn’t make sense for Coulson to become Vision, because Vision has always been accepted as a different person from his inspiration to the rest of the Avengers. Vision is just Vision.

  • Mugenblaze

    1) It’s probably censorship  but also 
    2) Why does everyone assume Coulson wasn’t a LMD all along? The “man” was remarkably calm when the Iron Monger was chasing after him and pepper…   

  • coalminds

    The last thing I want is for comic movies to be like comic books where nobody ever really dies. 

  • Pee Bee

    I wanted to see freaking (Gi)Ant-Man and Wasp in the first film, never mind silly Hawkeye.

  • Steven Mckee

    So the Uk version doesn’t have commentary and now this.

    Ahh well no money from me. I’ll just continue to watch it online by “other” means

  • Dean

    It seems to be more the case that the distributors of the UK version have made a mistake, I believe it is the case that other European nations required this censored version, to achieve the rating they required, which was not the case in the UK. 

    I can only guess that the version used in the UK print was the “European” cut.

    I am confusing myself even as I type this, basically I blame incompetence rather than a secret plan to bring back Coulson as The Vision ( which surely would have made the dstributors alter the U.S version first, their largest market, if this where the case ). 

  • WarmMachine

    I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with censorship, at least by the State. Disney may have self-sensored, but there are no complaints about Marvel’s The Avengers on either the BBFC or OfCom ( the UK media regulator) so the change wasn’t down to the government mandate anything before release.
    I think this lends more credence to Coulson actually coming back in some form or another as himself, not Vision. The entire backstory for Vision is that we was built by Ultron. I am not sure how they would rectify building a robot out of a (dead) body. If Vision is built using Coulson’s face why would it matter if he had a gruesome death or not?

  • RunnerX13

    Since when are there censors governing DVDs?  

  • David Fullam

     Great Britain has a history of re-editing home releases. See if you can find a copy of “The Deep Red Horror Handbook” for an interesting article on the matter.

  • Bpidopido

    Wasp is cool and all but I’d rather see Coulson back

  • Michael Pilgaard

    What about the US version? Did they edit the scene in this version as well?

  • Legimpresn

     No. the scene in US has the spear showing.

  • Bill T.

    The version of the film that is currently running on DIRECTV pay-per-view shows the spear tip protruding through Coulson’s chest, although the spear is not bloody immediately after the attack.

  • Orphan

    Get over it already. We don’t need Coulson back in any form or The Vision either.It’s still a stupid idea.

  • Orphan

    We need Wasp and Nightcrawler back in a shared adventure with no tie in to previous continuity or origins. Now that would be cool.

  • HaydenLang

    Compared to the changes made to the Star Wars trilogy, this is pretty minor, nothing to get too upset about. It’s still clear he’s been stabbed, after all. I can understand that people want the original preserved, however.

  • Eggimations