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Joss Whedon Says He’s “For Realsies” Bringing Coulson Back from the Dead for S.H.I.E.L.D.

We’ve known for a while that Clark Gregg‘s dear departed Agent Coulson would be coming back to the Marvel Universe for S.H.I.E.L.D. The question has been how exactly that will happen. Was Coulson’s “death” a set-up by Fury? Might Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. scenes be flashbacks? Could the new Coulson be a Life Model Decoy or a Skrull? Was the Coulson who got stabbed by Loki a Life Model Decoy or a Skrull?

Joss Whedon had something to say about it to a crowd at SXSW. Sadly (or happily—your mileage may vary) it didn’t clear up all that much. There’s still plenty of room for us to be Jossed.

Per ComicBookMovie:

“I’ll tell you guys this, Heimlich,” Whedon joked, before effectively clamming up about the show. “I can’t talk about it,” he admitted, but said that he did bring Coulson back from the dead for the ABC drama. “Yes. For realizes. [sic]”

Soooo… bringing Coulson back from the dead literally, as in Loki did kill him and he’s been revived somehow? Or “bringing him back from the dead” in the more colloquial sense, in that he’s coming back, which we already knew?

JOSSSSSS! *shakes fist*

Whedon also spoke to Deadline about Coulson and how he fits into the S.H.I.E.L.D. universe, and while there’s not much we can extrapolate from the quote about how Coulson cheated death, it’s still pretty cool (emphasis mine):

“The idea of the Little Guy is something that I am very fierce about, and there has never been a better Little Guy than Clark Gregg. That intrigued me, this world around the superhero community. It’s the people whose shop windows get blown up when the Destroyer shows up. It’s the more intimate stories that belong on television that we can really tap into the visual style and ethos, and even some of the mythology, of the Marvel movies. I think we’ve put together another really great ensemble headed by Clark. And how much it’s actually seeding or hinting or reacting to what’s going on in the movies is something we’ll let play out as we go. For me the most important thing is that people fall in love with it on its own merits, rather than constantly asking, ‘Is there gonna be an Avenger?’ Well, there’s not gonna be a Hulk because that guy’s too expensive.”

So… since Gregg heads the ensemble his scenes probably won’t be in flashback, because there will be too many of them… unless there’s a sort of Once Upon a Time-style split narrative. But unless I’m mistaken we’ve known for some time that he would have a major role, not just a few cameos to spice things up Coulson-style. So, yeah. I got nothin’.

The thing about “seeding or hinting or reacting to what’s going on in the movies” caught my eye. Might S.H.I.E.L.D. take place concurrent with the Marvel movies, so we’ll get to see how the agency reacts to Nick Fury’s Big Week? That might explain why the man himself would be too busy to show up.

(via: ComicBookMovie)

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  • Anonymous

    I assumed “literally” was that it wasn’t some sort of clever trick or something. One of the most frequent theories I saw was that SHIELD would take place BEFORE Iron Man, so they could have Coulson appear as long as they wanted without worrying about his death in Avengers. So I took Whedon’s statement here as just clearing up that SHIELD is post-Avengers.

  • TKS

    I don’t think the one killed by Loki would be a Skrull. It would have reverted back to Skrull Form.

    Dear Coulson, please be The Vision. You could marry Wanda Maximoff, the cellist, and be super happy. BUT DON’T HAVE KIDS. Trust me, things end badly for you if you two have kids.

  • Warren Boykin

    They should bring him back as Deathlok!

  • Rizz Rustbolt

    Life Model Decoy. We know they exist. Tony mentioned them. They show up in IM3 and Winter Soldier. It’s really a no-brainer here.

  • Anonymous

    Been saying it since day one. Heck, since he played the part so calm and deadpan in Iron Man, I surmised Coulson might be an LMD all along.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Alls I know is I want this show NOW.

    And Coulson. Definitely more Coulson.

    *Sigh* It’s too bad (well, not really, I supposed) that Jeremy Renner suddenly became a Big Star, because it would’ve been cool to see Hawkeye as well.

  • Tané Tachyon

    One thing I could see Marvel doing is having him — as a warrior companion of Thor killed by Loki — go to Valhalla, and then the Valhalla powers that be agreeing to send him back for some reason.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    It’d be nice if we could see him off in the distance, hanging out on the tops of buildings from time to time.

  • drgeek

    MAYBE WE DIDN’T SEE HIM DIE. Maybe he just passed out. . . maybe. The medics were right there, and they have SHIELD tech – if they can fly an aircraft carrier, they can heal a punctured lung (we would assume it missed the heart). We know Fury lied about the cards, that is a set-up for him lying about the dying. No need to do something crazy (like making Vision not an android) or pulling the “it was all a dream” or “it was a duplicate), we just cut to him in a bed with tubes sticking out of him. Bam. Alive.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think they’re going to have him be the Vision. That sort of misses the point of what Whedon was saying about Coulson’s appeal as the little guy.

    As for the Skrulls, Marvel can’t use them even if they wanted. Fox has the rights to the Skrulls.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    That seems the most likely to me of all the options, and it keeps Coulson human, which I like. But who knows with Joss?

  • TKS

    What you say makes a lot of sense and is probably correct. But I choose to ignore it because I love Scarlet Witch and The Vision. That’s how I roll.

    I forget that Fox owned Skrulls. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Or maybe he died and Joss is just doing a big fanservice and making him not-dead. I think it is silly and makes dying feel cheap.

    I am not bitter, if people enjoy having him around then I hope they enjoy having him in SHIELD. It’s just my opinion, and everyone has one of those so blargh to me.

    Who knows, maybe I will be knocked on my ass by whatever means Joss brings him back by and I too will join you all in praise.

  • Lisa Lacey Liscoumb

    Yes, I like this interpretation too – he still dies, but there’s a good reason for him coming back.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I’ll settle from random mentions, especially if it lines up with the fandom approach of Coulson fondly tolerating him. (Just something casual, like handing him a phone, saying it’s Barton, and listening to half of a conversation, the other half of which is clearly taking place under fire, in a foreign country.)

    Or better than that, I want Sitwell, so the two of them can be smug dorks and annoy that other agent.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Seems to me that what we saw in the background when Fury said “they called it” was not the medics pulling a sheet over Coulson’s body, but the medics lifting some kind of big mechanical thingie. I’d have to watch it again, but yeah, my money says he was only mostly dead to begin with.

    I do hope it wasn’t LMD–I want Coulson to be able to retain his CMoA of politely confronting Loki alone, armed only with an experimental weapon.

  • James Gardiner

    Hawkeye would work pretty well on TV, especially if they took cues from Matt Fraction’s current run and kept it focused on Clint’s non-Avengers street level work.

  • Ariel Deras

    but Whedon says that Skrulls, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can be used in Avengers or X men Movies… (sorry english is not my firts languaje) :)

  • Ariel Deras

    Coulson, pleasee be the Vision!! and Bring The Scarlet Witch with U!!!!! PLEASEEEEEEE i need wanda in a movie!

  • drgeek

    “Mostly” dead? Then it’ll take a miracle. . .

  • Laura Truxillo

    We have a wheelbarrow…