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Fact From the Vapor of Nuance

Did We Just Find Out How Coulson Survived The Avengers?

A tipster over at /Film has shared how Joss Whedon will supposedly bring Agent Coulson back from the dead for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. So, y’know, have your grain of salt ready. But their explanation certainly sounds like it could be legit.

Unmarked spoilers beyond the cut, be ye warned.

According to the tipster what it all comes down to, as revealed in the pilot, is that Fury faked Coulsons’ death to bring the Avengers together to kick some Loki and Chitauri butt, which has been one of the primary theories up to this point and the one that I personally like best. Via /Film:

Some S.H.I.E.L.D. members were in on it (including, possibly, Maria Hill played by Cobie Smulders) but The Avengers were not. Their security clearance wasn’t high enough. Coulson was forced to hold his breath as part of the ruse and that’s a point of contention among his colleagues  After the fact, Fury moved him to a remote location until things died down, and then he was reinserted into duty at the time of the show.

Well. There ya go. Just a plain ol’ instance of Fury being sneaky and manipulative, which fits with other actions of his in The Avengers. Of course, this explanation does bring up the question of how Coulson survived being stabbed by Loki—maybe he actually was seriously injured, and Fury took advantage of that situation. Or maybe (conspiracy theory hat on) Fury planned to fake Coulson’s death early on and, with Coulson’s knowledge and cooperation, they… I don’t know, replaced Coulson with a LMD decoy for his “death.” Or maybe replaced Loki’s scepter with a fake one, like one of those joke knives where the blade is blunt and slides into the hilt instead of into the victim. Not likely, I’ll admit. But I like those knives, darnit. And tricking the trickster is always fun.

What do you think of this explanation? Good? Or boring/uninventive?

(via: /Film)

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  • Deggsy

    His body died, but his mind got copied into a Life Model Decoy! One that will get upgraded to make him The Vision! No?

  • Anonymous

    Coulson was forced to hold his breath as part of the ruse and that’s a point of contention among his colleagues.

    That’s kind of a bizarre explanation… wouldn’t they notice that he had a pulse? Or did he hold that too? o_õ

  • CiCi Cervantes-Joseph

    that’s what i was really hoping for!!!

  • Luis Mendoza


  • Anonymous

    I’m fairly certain that Vision rumor was debunked a while back. It sort of ruins Coulson’s fanboy/everyman appeal if he can fly and shoot lasers out of his head.

  • Anonymous

    I’m fairly certain they don’t mean in a literal sense. I think they mean he held his breathe as in he didn’t inform any of his friends that he was alive.

  • Jay Calendine

    It can’t be a fake scepter, because the scepter was later used to close the Tesseract’s portal in NYC. But, I’m all for Colson coming back. The only people in comics who ever died and stayed dead were Bruce Wayne’s parents.

  • amira

    Why can’t anyone just stay dead? Why do they always have to come back to life? With every “Haha! J/K I’m not dead!” I feel the character becomes less and less authentic and harder to relate to. Meh.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I was kind of “Bzuh?” at that at first too, but I think it’s meant metaphorically.

  • Deggsy

    You’re probably right. Still… :-)

  • Anonymous

    The problem is, it’s pretty clear when they shot the scene that he was meant to be dead. Trying to retcon that scene will be tough to do without the whole thing feeling forced. I prefer the resurrection theory.

  • Wayne Anthony Feeney

    And Uncle Ben!

  • Wayne Anthony Feeney

    Really not liking the LMD idea that’s being thrown around. It doesn’t quite seem to fit in with the MCU (Marvel Cinema Universe – that’s the term, right?)

  • Jen Roberts

    I dunno, I think he got actually stabbed, and possibly deliberately. Fury might’ve put him into that situation in the hopes something like that would happen. If Coulson dies, well, that’s a risk that was always part of the job; if he doesn’t, well, Fury will just make the Avengers think that’s what happened and hey, he gets to keep an excellent agent!

    I don’t see it outside of the realm of possibility that Coulson even knew it going in, that, at best, he’d probably be badly wounded. Think of it: Agent Fanboy is told that he needs to literally take one for the team here, and that his death/”death” would be used to inspire said team, especially his hero, Captain America, to unite and work together? A dedicated agent w/ a fanboy complex like that? Maybe he doesn’t jump at the opportunity, but, hey, if Loki isn’t stopped, he’ll probably be killed anyway. THIS way, maybe he helps save the world by inspiring his hero to avenge his death!

    And, y’know, maybe he gets to survive and star in his own TV show. So, y’know, extra bonus.

  • Janis Wright

    If you are going that manipulative, have him be a Coulson clone. (either live or dead one.) Make 6 total including the requisite evil clone. Plus the original.

  • Anonymous

    I had assumed Coulson’s death to be a ruse anyway, since the whole “blood-splattered trading card” thing was pointed out by Maria to be fake, too. You never see anyone explicitly standing over Coulson long after he was killed. In fact, if I remember correctly, you see him get stabbed, Fury finds him, and then it’s a cut to them talking about Coulson being dead after they all regroup. I was a bit surprised when the stinger never revealed Coulson to be alive at the end.

  • Totz_the_Plaid

    I’d prefer that S.H.I.E.L.D. has the tech to back up their best agents’ minds and that the Coulson in the show is a LMD replacing the original dead Coulson. This also gives them the option to turn him into the Vision down the road (as has been another popular theory).

  • Robert Vary

    Yeah, if it’s not Death by Origin Story, all bets are off.

  • Robert Vary

    However he comes back, he’s gonna be pissed about what Fury did to those trading cards.

  • Mr The Batman

    I still really liked the idea of him becoming the Vision.

  • Jonathan Garland

    A fake death would have required Loki to fake-stab him. Unlikely.

    BUT… note that (a) the first thing that happens is that Coulson is attended by medics (b) Fury’s other statements about Coulson are explicitly proved to be false (the cards). Why should an omission that he’s been revived on the operating table not be part of the web of deceit?

  • Anonymous

    That does make more sense.

    Coulson was forced to hold his b̶r̶e̶a̶t̶h̶ tongue

    Alright guys, everything’s cool now!

  • Anonymous

    Really, because I always wanted to be a robot that flies around shooting lasers from my head.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I prefer the idea that Coulson did go in there himself to face Loki and did get himself stabbed but didn’t die from it. SHIELD’s got all kinds of wacky tech they could be using on him. Like whatever big thing the medics are unloading when Fury says they called it.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I don’t think so. Because when Fury announces that the medics called it, in the background you see the medics pulling out some big techy-looking thing over him. In the end scene, with that pan-out, Maria hands off a folder to a bland-looking guy in a suit–swear I thought if the shot had stayed on them any longer we would’ve seen it was Coulson.

    But mostly, Maria called Fury on his BS about the cards. Why bother to have a character actually say, “Hey, at least SOME points of this conveniently dramatic death were fake…” in the movie itself if it wasn’t to leave it open that Fury can be a manipulative lying liar what lies and that there’s very little he says that can be trusted at face value.

  • Anonymous

    Since I first watched “Avengers”, I thought Coulson’s death was a lie, and was seriously disappointed at it not being revealed as such at the end.

  • Jesse Bryant

    Maybe the Coulson that “died” was just a Life Model Decoy.

  • literatewench

    “You owe me a whole pack, Fury.”

    (Fury caves in)


    “Agent Fury, could you justify this expense on the budget of one hundred thousand pounds spent on ebay for trading cards?”

  • Aeryl

    Except that Tony(and I think that’s important) inserted the idea of the LMD into the movie at the very beginning.

  • Anonymous

    …but in more of an in-jokey “obviously this is too silly for the more serious tone we’re using in the MCU” sort of way.

  • Aeryl

    I dunno. My guess is that Tony helped resurrect Coulson into a LMD. Which is why him bringing it up and becoming so close to him were so important.

    But I guess we’ll have to wait til fall to find out. I’ve read that it’s addressed in the pilot.

  • Anonymous

    I want Coulson alive, and I want a redo on Serenity, Mr. Whedon. Wash lives!

  • Anonymous


  • Disney Dose

    Check out our meme about Coulson coming back to life. I love that Fury faked Coulson’s death.

  • Eric Salazar

    “LMD decoy.” Life model decoy-decoy? C’mon, you write for a living.

  • Sparky Santos

    Phil earned a berth in Valhalla; but Odin swapped him for the Cosmic Cube.

  • Arnold Garcia de Vega

    Every member of S.H.I.E.L.D has a ready clone and a copy of most recent memory.. so if an agent dies.. the clone will replace him as nothing happened,, Welcome to Level 7.

  • Doctor Mew (Ensign)

    One of the things that leads me to contemplate down the Vision-possibility path was the line from Fury about losing his “one good eye”… literal sense aside (Coulson pretty much being his right-hand man), we know that Joss, the comic book industry, and the movie industry all LOVE a good double entendre…
    Just saying…

  • Hrothgir Ó Dómhnaill

    Did Gwen Stacy get better? No one tells me anything.

  • Mairead

    and harder to relate to

    You’d find it easier if they were dead?

  • Amourah

    Did I say that? I’m not Lydia Deetz.

    Why Coulson appealed to me initially was that he wasn’t a superhero – he was just an average guy with a cool job, getting to rub shoulders with the supes. Add the adorable fanboyness with the Capt America card collecting, he was one of us.

    When he died it was sad, and apparently the nec. catalyst to unite the Avengers. Now it’s just deceit and trickery and I watch the death scene and I’m like, meh. Whatever was genuine about it is gone. Now he reminds me of Agent Simmons from Transformers (whom I find SUPER annoying), ya’ know – the guy who thinks he’s way more cool and important than he actually is. What I’m trying to say is Coulson lost his credibility by being resurrected.

    I’m not going to watch Agents of SHIELD either. It hasn’t piqued my interest.

  • Arania

    I just worry whether this means we’ll never see Coulson again in the Avengers movies. :(

  • Joe K

    Maria Hill’s “And he can never know”, from the pilot, throws a little wrinkle into the mix…

  • Stephanie C.

    that’s my thought, especially after the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot.

  • Anonymous

    I think Rebecca Pahle is close, but a little wide of the bullseye.

    I am reasonably certain that it really was Phil Coulson who was stabbed by Loki on the Helicarrier in the AVENGERS movie. Instead, the “Agent Phil Coulson” that we are seeing in the television series, “Agents of SHIELD”, is actually the Life Model Decoy or LMD, the robotic duplicates that are a cornerstone of SHIELD stories in the comics for years.

    The clue is how, in just the two episodes televised so far, “Coulson” reacts to references to Tahiti in the exact same way THREE OR FOUR times: by immediately calling it “a magical place”. Go look; you will see that he says it the exact same way each time.

    So… in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, LMDs must be a new development and still have occasional glitches. The trick will be to see how the others react. May may or may not care, and Fitz/Simmons may just end up appreciating the tech, but I can’t see Ward or Skye being able to treat a revealed-as-LMD Coulson in the same way.

  • Colin Harvey

    i’m not going with the LMD theory at all. My View is that Steven Strange resurrected him, from the comics he was in he Avengers and certainly has the power but this marvel universe has been somewhat lacking in sightings of him, after all we’ve seen Ghost rider Daredevil the Avengers the FF the Xmen and new mutants Electra spidey but no Doc Strange.

  • Roz Mosis

    ‘I’m a bit rusty’ = Android. Therefore – the Vision.

  • Roz Mosis

    ‘I’m a bit rusty’ = Android. Therefore – the Vision.

  • Anonymous

    We were always of the “Loki killed the LMD” school, until the show came on. Now we have the feeling that SHield downloaded Coulson’s consciousness into a LMD.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you caught what we did.

  • Ariel

    “LMD decoy” = Life Model Decoy decoy?

    Redundant redundancy there.

  • chris

    SHHHH, its called “Tahiti”.

  • Ceci Pipe

    This was their group origin, does that count?

  • Gwiber

    What is so difficult about his survival? People die from their wounds all the time and are revived a few minutes later by EMT’s and doctors. The camera panned off when the emergency med help arrived. They just revived him and put him in the hospital. He’s better now. Fury just took the situation as an opportunity to spur the Avengers on.

  • ToTripoli

    That…. sounds perfectly sound, surprisingly.

  • ToTripoli

    So if it turns out he really IS dead, and the LMD theory is right, you don’t care to know?
    Eh. I’ll be watching, at least.

  • demoncat_4

    maybe fury had thor after wards use some magic to heal coulson but he had coulson memory purged from ever knowing how he is alive again. though still going and sticking with the lmd