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Clark Gregg talks about the "resurrection" of Agent Coulson in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series and next phase of Marvel films

Apr. 1, 2013by:

Clark Gregg certainly took the Marvel Cinematic Universe by storm, popping up initially in 2008's IRON MAN as the serious but playful S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, who would return in IRON MAN 2, THOR, the Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer, and finally in THE AVENGERS where the character seemingly met his demise, much to the shock and outrage of fans everywhere.  Turns out, everyone pretty much loved ol' Phil Coulson and he was anything but a throwaway comic relief character.  After a fan movement that included signs, t-shirts, and graffiti, declaring that "Coulson Lives," Marvel and Joss Whedon took note. 

Talking to Collider at Wondercon, the actor discussed the evolution of Phil Coulson and what the future has in store for the character, both in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show and next phase of Marvel films.

On Agent Coulson's death and "resurrection":

I’ve been so happy and living this geek fantasy as they kept adding Agent Coulson to everything including The Avengers and then gave him this magnificent, almost Shakespearean death scene, and I found out on that day how much I loved this guy and had come to identify with him partly because of the way fans responded to him, and also because he had such a great niche in those movies. He got to be funny, he got to be, in this case, heroic. And then I got to say good-bye to him, and it was a very emotional day. And yet I feel what Joss did with that was a fantastic conclusion of the character. And even though my friends at Marvel said, “You know, we spent a lot of time talking about how Coulson lives, and we know that there’s a movement out there, and there are t-shirts and people paint on bridges ‘Coulson Lives’, we’re going to bring you back”, and it’s one of the many things people tell you that never ever happens. And then I get this call from Joss saying, “Well…there’s a script. And here’s what we’re thinking, and it’s after The Avengers, and here’s the concept.” By the time Joss finished telling me, I was in."

On what kind of explanation viewers will get about Coulson's "death" in THE AVENGERS:

After people see the show, they’ll have some clue as to why I’m still there, still breathing. But I don’t think they’ll know everything…

On Coulson's transition from the big screen to the small screen:

I’m not going to lie. It was a little frightening. I’m used to coming in and doing my scene. And letting Robert and Scarlett do their thing, and then going back to the trailer. And now it’s, “Where’s Robert? I need someone really beautiful like Scarlett standing right here!” No one is going to want to look at this mug for that long. Because then I would go on to do the next thing. And luckily, they put together a pretty spectacular ensemble around me, and I don’t know where they found them. I didn’t know many of them. Every day I would just show up and be impressed. I think there’s something people responded to in Coulson’s through-line and who he is. He’s the human factor of S.H.I.E.L.D. The people who’s job it is to keep things running smoothly; the keepers of the secrets, and to kind of be the first line of defense and welcoming. The thing that really works well on a smaller context for that. I’ve never seen anything like we shot on a television screen before, so I’m really excited for people to see that.

On whether or not we'll see Agent Coulson on the big screen:

Joss is right over there. That’s a really good question. I want to go ask him. I don’t know. If my schedule doesn’t conflict, and they need him in one of the movies, will they come calling? My feeling is that there’s no breaks in continuity with this and the Marvel movie universe. It makes sense in that universe, and I certainly feel like his chances of appearing in those movies are far better than when he was far out dead.

I'm a big fan of Agent Coulson and the movement to support the character.  It's 100 percent Gregg's character as he's the one that made him as engaging as he is, and I think it's awesome that Marvel and Whedon have given him another life.  In the comic world people only stay dead for as long as there's not a story for the deceased to live in. I'm fine with the movies following suit and totally stoked to catch the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show when it debuts later this year.

Aside from the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, Gregg can next be seen in Jason Reitman's LABOR DAY and his second directorial feature, TRUST ME, starring Sam Rockwell, Amanda Peet, Allison Janey, and William H. Macy later this year. Oh, and he'll be joining the cast of Dancing With The Stars for its 17th season. When does this guy sleep?

For uber fans of Agent Coulson, click below to check out his very own Hot Toys figure.  I'd say he's arrived...

Extra Tidbit: Anyone out there wish that Coulson stayed dead?
Source: Collider

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+0
9:52PM on 04/06/2013

Possibility ?

My guess is they will go with the Life Model Decoy (LMD) which Nick Fury uses loads in the comics. Whether Coulson will be one from now or WAS one when he died i'm sure we will discover
My guess is they will go with the Life Model Decoy (LMD) which Nick Fury uses loads in the comics. Whether Coulson will be one from now or WAS one when he died i'm sure we will discover
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10:42PM on 04/02/2013

The avergers movie was so good

That even Harley Quinn and Superboy couln't resist to join in.
That even Harley Quinn and Superboy couln't resist to join in.
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+2
4:15PM on 04/02/2013

Coulson Never Died!

there's this moment during his death scene when Nick Fury calls off the medical team from even approaching/examining him. why? because they would have to report that Coulson survived and log that in some computer that Stark would find.
there's this moment during his death scene when Nick Fury calls off the medical team from even approaching/examining him. why? because they would have to report that Coulson survived and log that in some computer that Stark would find.
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8:41AM on 04/02/2013
Part of me thinks it's a cynical move to create a character that people like with the intention of killing him off to tug on people's emotions, but such are the tropes of storytelling I guess. Bringing him back - again seems a little cynical, but I guess we live in an age where studios do sometimes notice fan reaction - good thing or bad thing? I'm not sure, but in this case I'm not sure it matters too much. As a character with no prior history before Iron Man, it's one of the few characters in
Part of me thinks it's a cynical move to create a character that people like with the intention of killing him off to tug on people's emotions, but such are the tropes of storytelling I guess. Bringing him back - again seems a little cynical, but I guess we live in an age where studios do sometimes notice fan reaction - good thing or bad thing? I'm not sure, but in this case I'm not sure it matters too much. As a character with no prior history before Iron Man, it's one of the few characters in the Marvel movies that they can't really annoy me by screwing about with.
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3:15PM on 04/02/2013
I don't think they created Caulson just to kill him. I think they created him just to be the face of SHIELD way back when Iron Man was its own movie.

When they made the first Iron Man there was no grand plan or even intent to make The Avengers or a Marvel Cinematic Universe, they just tacked Sam Jackson on the end because the thought it would be a nice cool little bit of fan pandering. It wasn't until Incredible Hulk that they started building it all together.

Also, I'm not sure what you
I don't think they created Caulson just to kill him. I think they created him just to be the face of SHIELD way back when Iron Man was its own movie.

When they made the first Iron Man there was no grand plan or even intent to make The Avengers or a Marvel Cinematic Universe, they just tacked Sam Jackson on the end because the thought it would be a nice cool little bit of fan pandering. It wasn't until Incredible Hulk that they started building it all together.

Also, I'm not sure what you really mean. Who are you supposed to kill in your fictional stories? Only characters that people dislike? A story is a story. The good guys don't always win, and when they do they don't always win clean. The fact that we care when a character like this dies means that the story is being told well don't you think? He wasn't even one of the main characters, and yet the fans care about this one smaller, bit part, side character just as much as any of the main guys. That's an achievement in itself.
5:55PM on 04/02/2013
@Guy

I think he means when they build up a character just so that you have an emotional attachment in time for their death.

PRIME EXAMPLE: the walking dead. (i dunno if you watch the show, but SPOILER ALERT i guess....)

the Axel character in the prison. they didn't even touch his backstory until the episode where they kill him off. and you know they wrote in his backstory in that episode BECAUSE they were planning to kill him off. it's pretty.... lame / irresponsible / ruthless of the
@Guy

I think he means when they build up a character just so that you have an emotional attachment in time for their death.

PRIME EXAMPLE: the walking dead. (i dunno if you watch the show, but SPOILER ALERT i guess....)

the Axel character in the prison. they didn't even touch his backstory until the episode where they kill him off. and you know they wrote in his backstory in that episode BECAUSE they were planning to kill him off. it's pretty.... lame / irresponsible / ruthless of the writers to do that.

though i'm not sure what the OP means by "cynical"
+8
11:39PM on 04/01/2013
He should team up with Deadpool and make a dynamic duo of sarcasm.
He should team up with Deadpool and make a dynamic duo of sarcasm.
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11:00PM on 04/01/2013

Any other day

If this was any other day I would rejoice in this news. But no not today. Not ever. All news today is a lie.
If this was any other day I would rejoice in this news. But no not today. Not ever. All news today is a lie.
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+7
10:20PM on 04/01/2013

Paltrow guest spot

Paltrow does a fair bit of TV guest spots on GLEE, I would like to see her at least once meeting up with Coulsen for lunch. Also they have a great opportunity to fill in background on universe. Introduce the location of Wakanda and have AIM being linked slowly to no good throughout. William Hurt as General Ross coming in and barking about stuff etc. Keep the connections subtle and loose, but deepen the shared universe.
Paltrow does a fair bit of TV guest spots on GLEE, I would like to see her at least once meeting up with Coulsen for lunch. Also they have a great opportunity to fill in background on universe. Introduce the location of Wakanda and have AIM being linked slowly to no good throughout. William Hurt as General Ross coming in and barking about stuff etc. Keep the connections subtle and loose, but deepen the shared universe.
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9:45PM on 04/01/2013
I'm glad that Gregg/Coulson will be back. And that Agent Coulson figure from Hot Toys looks badass.
I'm glad that Gregg/Coulson will be back. And that Agent Coulson figure from Hot Toys looks badass.
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8:41PM on 04/01/2013

So...

Coulson's gonna be a Skrull.

A very "human" factor indeed lol
Coulson's gonna be a Skrull.

A very "human" factor indeed lol
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7:52PM on 04/01/2013
I was hoping season 1 of SHIELD would be pre-Avengers, which would allow Gregg to come back but not ignore his death in Avengers. I guess as long as they have a decent explanation for him coming back then I'm ok with it. But too often do characters get "brought back from the dead" b/c they're popular, at the expense of the story. I hope that isn't the case here.
I was hoping season 1 of SHIELD would be pre-Avengers, which would allow Gregg to come back but not ignore his death in Avengers. I guess as long as they have a decent explanation for him coming back then I'm ok with it. But too often do characters get "brought back from the dead" b/c they're popular, at the expense of the story. I hope that isn't the case here.
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7:45PM on 04/01/2013
Coulson is a great character, and I'm glad that he is back! I can't wait to see this series.
Coulson is a great character, and I'm glad that he is back! I can't wait to see this series.
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7:37PM on 04/01/2013

Coulson Lives

I imagine the show would be about him mentoring a younger group of SHIELD agents. They would go on minor mission that wouldnt require Ironman or Hawkeye to be a part of. However over the course of each season they would stumble across a "Big Bad" that by the time the seasons concludes, there is no time to call in Iron Man and this team would have to defeat it themselves. It would almost be like "Star Trek" show that follows another star ship led by Sulu going on routine missions.

Also, have
I imagine the show would be about him mentoring a younger group of SHIELD agents. They would go on minor mission that wouldnt require Ironman or Hawkeye to be a part of. However over the course of each season they would stumble across a "Big Bad" that by the time the seasons concludes, there is no time to call in Iron Man and this team would have to defeat it themselves. It would almost be like "Star Trek" show that follows another star ship led by Sulu going on routine missions.

Also, have it be that they dont explain Coulson's dead. He died in the movie and now he's alive, no explanation. Just that he can't be around the bigger heroes anymore because they have to still think he's dead.
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+3
7:32PM on 04/01/2013

CAULSON LIVES!

The guy was incredible, and really earned his spot amongst the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe. Which is saying a lot considering not only most of them had great actors in the parts, but also the roles themselves were incredibly iconic and have been around for decades. For Gregg to just pop in, unbeknownst to most movie goe-ers, in a tiny tiny supporting role.....and suddenly force his way into every movie, game, comic and TV show that Marvel have made since that point onwards is utterly
The guy was incredible, and really earned his spot amongst the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe. Which is saying a lot considering not only most of them had great actors in the parts, but also the roles themselves were incredibly iconic and have been around for decades. For Gregg to just pop in, unbeknownst to most movie goe-ers, in a tiny tiny supporting role.....and suddenly force his way into every movie, game, comic and TV show that Marvel have made since that point onwards is utterly inspiring the more I think about it.

Can't wait for S.H.I.E.L.D!

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7:07PM on 04/01/2013
Yea Clark Gregg is a great actor, I've liked him all the way back when he "SAVED" Sports Night
Yea Clark Gregg is a great actor, I've liked him all the way back when he "SAVED" Sports Night
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7:02PM on 04/01/2013

Should've stayed dead...

So now the Avengers goes from being a movie with very little sense of danger, barely any actual threats to our heroes, with only one character death, to all of the above except NOBODY actually died (or at least, stayed dead)? It was bad enough that the alien invasion was made up of a bunch of anonymous enemies that didn't even bother killing many civilians and ended up dying Star Wars Episode I-style, but now the entire reason the Avengers came together in the first place has been undermined. I
So now the Avengers goes from being a movie with very little sense of danger, barely any actual threats to our heroes, with only one character death, to all of the above except NOBODY actually died (or at least, stayed dead)? It was bad enough that the alien invasion was made up of a bunch of anonymous enemies that didn't even bother killing many civilians and ended up dying Star Wars Episode I-style, but now the entire reason the Avengers came together in the first place has been undermined. I love Son of Coul as much as the next guy, but this is kinda lame.
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+5
6:58PM on 04/01/2013
Agent Coulson is cool. They had this great scene in The Avengers when one of the agents drops the crate with the secret weapons and Coulson says leave it. That's so unusual because normally weapons are more important than human lives. It was a great way to show he has a heart.
Agent Coulson is cool. They had this great scene in The Avengers when one of the agents drops the crate with the secret weapons and Coulson says leave it. That's so unusual because normally weapons are more important than human lives. It was a great way to show he has a heart.
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6:44PM on 04/01/2013
I forgot he directed choke...man that was awesome.
I forgot he directed choke...man that was awesome.
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