TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

Whedon, Gregg on Why Coulson Living Works on S.H.I.E.L.D.


Agent Phil Coulson will live again when Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC this fall. Although leading man Clark Gregg won’t open up about how Coulson manages to be alive after a very sad and obvious death in The Avengers, he and series co-creator Joss Whedon are making it very clear the plot twist works within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“It came up, ‘What about a S.H.I.E.L.D. show?’ And I said, ‘Oh, that makes perfect sense.’ And then, you know, ‘What about Coulson?’” And obviously, the first question, was, ‘Will this upset the integrity of what we did in The Avengers?'” Whedon told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s like, ‘If we were going to have Coulson, how would we even do it?’ Well, we’d do exactly this. That’s what I pitched to [Clark] on the phone, that’s what’s in the script, word for word, and it’s all about earning everything, so that people don’t feel that you lied, or that you pulled one over on them, that you have an explanation that you buy. Because at the end of the day, the S.H.I.E.L.D. show, it works.”

Gregg said he had the same reservations about the series, but was still thrilled that the folks at Marvel liked his character enough to want to bring him back from the grave.

“It’s a pretty spectacular phone call to get. ‘Listen, I know you were dead, but …’ The executives at Marvel had joked about being in meetings where they were talking about how to bring Coulson back, but you know, I was there. There was a lot of blood. I felt pretty dead,” Gregg explained. “So I was wary as to how can we do that in a way that doesn’t feel like it undermines any of the magic that I thought was there in The Avengers, and as soon as I heard the concept and saw the script, I realized it was worth doing. There’s very little that we can say about it. It’s post-Avengers. It works with the Avengers universe. That’s what’s exciting about it for me.”

Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT this fall on ABC, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also stars Ming-Na as Agent Melina May, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Gemma Simmons, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward and Chloe Bennett as Skye.


  • lewis4510

    I’m guessing that Coulson did die but was brought back through the use of some hybrid of Stark and reverse engineered alien tech. Or another possibility is that Odin was impressed with his sacrifice so had his body taken to Asgard where it was resurrected.

  • Mideon

    Maybe the Coulson who died was an LMD. Or maybe they got really clever and the Coulson in the show is the LMD.

  • Billy

    Maybe he just got better. I mean, yeah he got run through, but then he’s okay to watch Loki and Thor have a conversation, have his own conversation with Loki, wait for Nick Fury to show up, and then have a conversation with him. That doesn’t exactly suggest any major organ damage.

  • FlaviusJosephus

    The new coulson is an LMD, im sure,

  • Steve Chaput

    I’m with Mideon on this. I think the LMD’s were mentioned by Stark at one point, possibly in The Avengers. I don’t think we ever saw any, or if we did it wasn’t made obvious what they were.

  • Séan Michaelangelo Tobin

    Awesome. I’m willing to go with the LMD thread, but I’ll be happy for anything that seems plausible for the Marvel Universe.

  • DarkeSword

    He’s a Skrull.


  • 010011010110101

    Yeah, there was a line from Greg about Coulson thinking he knows why he’s not dead…that screams LMD…which will be kind of awesome. There are a lot of ways to go with it too…Coulson as LMD, but doesn’t know it…learns the truth…comes to terms…or, maybe not…gets a new shiny Adamantium body…hello Ultron.

  • Rollo Tomassi

    People die and come back in comics literally almost every week. I think they(“they” being the show people) are overthinking this and are unnecessarily worried about this.

  • MadWorldRadio

    Would have been cool for him to become Vision though.

  • Jack Saat

    It’s a clone! Turn out S.H.I.E.L.D make clones of all to agents even Nick! ;)
    Just not tell Spider-man he really hates clones but turn out he is not really him self right now!

  • Noel Pascual

    The simplest explanation I could think of is this: a healing factor.

    They could say that Coulson somehow got one during one of his past adventures working under Shield. Not on the level of a Wolverine or an actual superhuman, but simply above an average human’s ability to heal.

  • dusk

    Time travel. This is pre-“Iron Man” Coulson from the past. Because that’s what hot in the comics now, right? Damn you and your far-reaching influence, Bendis. Even non-616 universes are affected. The Age of Bendis is upon us. T_T

  • Doug

    No, the simplest explanation is that he didn’t die in The Avengers. He passed out from blood loss while Fury was the only witness. We were never shown medical personnel examining Coulson, we only got Fury’s voice announcing his death. Add in Fury’s lie about where Coulson’s Captain America cards were and you get a con by Fury to motivate his people and The Avengers.

  • Happily LS

    Definitely much simpler to have the one that died be the fake, rather than the one that’s alive. Maybe less interesting dramatically, but it makes buckets more sense.

  • Steve Miller

    Khan infused tribble blood

  • Samantha Vest

    It’s not like it’s beneath Fury to do that anyway. We all know how shifty he can be and what he’ll do to ensure the right thing gets done.

  • Huw

    Watch the film, he didn’t die onscreen. Medics rush in and the camera moves away. No need for clones or LMDs

  • Austin McDowell

    Um, those medics said he was dead.

  • Austin McDowell

    That’s kind of B.S. then. I mean, it was the medics who said this first TO Fury, and it still kind of a pus-out move on their part.

  • Austin McDowell

    It makes more since if he was a clone.

  • Robert Schreib

    Well, a recurring theme in the Marvel universe is that SHIELD and related groups are always stealing ultra-tech devices from crashed UFOs, and one of those outer space alien artifacts might be a chamber that can resurrect the recently dead. But SHIELD would only use that thing very rarely, for their most favored agents killed in action, because it has a limited battery of special energy needed to function. Heck, even Nick Fury was killed in a sweeping storyline arch a few years ago, and they resurrected him later because the readers missed him!

  • Jeebs

    I seen so many people with Coulson did not die theories saying Fury never said he was dead, do I interpret “Agent Coulson died still believing in heroes” wrong? what will be really cool is if Whedon has a reason that fans have not conjured up like the LMD idea… Im pretty sure Tony wanted to get it on with Pepper and there wasnt any other meaning to that in the movie

  • Jeebs

    I dont think Clark Gregg will be playing any form of a character who has yet to be mentioned in any movie nor the character who created him in the first place

  • Jeebs

    Thank You!

  • jeebs

    no actually Fury said the medics said he was dead, send medics Fury: they are already here, they called it