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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

and let it be known

That Thing In The Avengers You Totally Thought Was Joss Whedon’s Doing Totally Wasn’t

Pardon our vague title but we’re trying to make sure we don’t spoil anything for those of you who still haven’t seen The Avengers. If you have, or don’t care if you’re spoiled, read on to find out whose idea it really was to do that big thing Joss Whedon is notorious for. 

We know Whedon has a penchant for killing beloved characters so we went into The Avengers thinking it was a forgone conclusion that’s what we were going to witness. And we were right. Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson, one of the coolest secret agents ever, was seemingly offed by Loki in the film. Upon getting asked by io9 if he was worried about perpetuating his “Whedon kills the ones we love” habit, he said, you came put the blame on Marvel Studios President instead.

In our first meeting Kevin Feige said, this is what we’re gonna do and I said, “Oh but you have to go out there and tell everybody that it was your idea because this is going to get me so much shit. Because they are all going to be like, “Oh he did it again!” It was stipulated from the beginning, and I completely agree that it was the right thing to do, and so did Clark. Who said in the early days, when I was busy apologizing for it, “In a movie like this, with what’s going on if there isn’t some toll, it’s just irresponsible story telling.”

It doesn’t make me feel any better about the death but at least they can’t tally this one on Whedon’s chalkboard. Like many others, I’m holding out hope that Coulson is not actually dead or that they’ll find some way to bring him back to life if he is. If not, you can be damn sure fans will avenge him.

(via Geeks Are Sexy)

Previously in The Avengers

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  • Russell Jones

    They SAID “life model decoy” in the movie.  While that could easily have been a wink at comic book fans (and very well-done), you also don’t show a gun in Act 1 without having it go off in Act 3.  Of course, I’m still in the “denial” phase of the Coulson Grieving Process, so it could just be that talking.

  • Anonymous

    Even here, you said “seemingly offed”

    We all live in hope.

    I’ve been saying that Coulson was an LMD all ALONG, from when he was just a nebbishy cipher in Iron Man. 

    But yeah, totally hoping for an LMD.  Nick already admitted that he played up the death a bit, dripping blood on the cards because they needed a reason to fight.  So I don’t see any reason he couldn’t have played them totally and he’s in the next room saying “I feel happy, I feel happy”

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    And of course, being it is the comic universe, does anyone really die?  I can totally see them bringing back Phil Coulson somehow (she says hopefully…)

  • Francesca M

    In my head he’s on leave to recover from his injuries and his thus making Coulson Babies with his Cellist in Portland.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

  • Shard Aerliss

    If Coulson is somehow not dead in the next one I’ll be very disappointed. What’s the point in harrowing character death and sacrifice if the character doesn’t remain dead? As Clarke said; not having a toll would have been irresponsible story telling, and so would bringing him back.

    I’m very pleased that this was not Whedon’s doing. Not because I don’t like him killing off beloved characters (that’s one of the reasons I love his work) but because it shows that Big Execs are starting to understand why character death is good in story telling

  • Anonymous

    He should stay dead or it is a slap to our intelligence. I actually foresaw him as a throw away character. His part was very to the form of a charachter that dies. I actually think any primary side origin character dying in the avengers would have been more impactful. Whedon may get shit for killing characters but i think it is weak storytelling when the danger is not real. It is what holds back the avengers. We know marvel wont let anyonr die.

  • Anonymous

    “What’s the point in harrowing character death and sacrifice if the character doesn’t remain dead?”

    Ask any Christian. I’m sure you can find at least one in the US if you look around a bit. They still exist.

  • Amanda W

    I hope Whedon is taking credit for the scene after the credits. I LOL’d.

  • jared

    Isn’t Ultron going to use Coulson’s brain to create Vision in the Ant-Man movie?

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    God knows why.

    I’ve read elsewhere that some people are hoping Coulson becomes the basis for Vision…I could see that.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    That’s some serious denial, buddy. But I understand.

  • Adam R. Charpentier


  • Angela Zembal

    LOL! I actually predicted that Agent Coulson would die because Joss Whedon was writing it. I was convinced that all the shorts of Agent Coulson being awesome were just to make sure it hurt as much as possible when he died, because Joss Whedon gains power from our tears. I still cried when it happened, but I’m glad I don’t have to curse Joss Whedon for it.

  • Zoe Diplock

    you came put the blame on Marvel Studios President instead.

  • Shard Aerliss

    *rolls eyes* leave your religion bashing out of my geekery, thanks.

  • Anonymous

    What religion bashing? I was laughing at those unfamiliar with Christianity or unable to recognize Christian themes. Comics, especially, adopt a lot of religious themes which is one reason their stories are so popular. It’s like the old mystery and magic shows, and so they have very deep roots in our culture.
    - K

  • K@

    I’m just hoping he has a twin brother.

  • Life Lessons

    Wow. In that case I take back my furious scream of “Whedon damn you!” during the movie. 

    Sorry Joss!

  • Craig Forshaw

    You’re all upset the Cuddler Rapist died?

  • Quill Penprickle

    Several rumors have it that Mr. Gregg is signed on for Iron Man 3.  So unless they’re doing a flashback scene…  

  • Anonymous

    Operative word being “seemingly”. I really hope hes not dead. I mean come on, its PHIL!

  • Blaise

     That was 100% Joss hehehe. I loved it too!

  • Sara Crow

     The “risen messiah” theme isn’t exclusive to Christianity. It’s a manifestation common to almost all human subconsciousness. Christianity wasn’t even the first religion to include it. It’s just the most popular. Inanna, Shiva, Orpheus, Persephone and Kuan Yin are just a few examples of characters who take on the “sin” of another (or many others), die and descend, and then rise again. And, if you want to get a little kinky with your version of “risen messiah,” look up Isis and Osiris.

  • JM Z

    Personally, I’m clinging to Quint’s theory/wish that Coulson’s not death helps drive a wedge between the team and Fury in Avengers 2, contributing to an Empire Strikes Back tone for the film.

  • HashMaster9000

    LMD or they turn him into the Vision in later films. One or the other, I’m guessing. Unless Gregg is signed to do 4 more films purely in flashbacks…

  • Scott Hill

    My shout was “Joss Whedon you bastard!”  I, too, am sorry for mis-blaming him.

  • Shard Aerliss

    You’re honestly telling me that was mockery of people unable to see Christian themes in all the resurrections that have happened merely to boost/restore ratings, pacify an angry audience or due to lazy creators and actors/network execs who can’t make up their minds about leaving/cancelling a show? Like Spike (and Buffy if you count the time Joss didn’t know if the show had a future), Ripley, Holmes, any number of super heroes and villains, Harold Bishop, Bobby Ewing, Imhotep, Daniel Jackson, K…

    It doesn’t matter if their returns were done well, the reasons for their returns did not begin “in world” but were decisions made for the sake of something other than the progression of the story.

    Besides, your tone was very mocking and sarcastic, and it did not translate as mocking people for failing to see overt Christian symbolism in comics. My complaint was against audiences braying for blood if their favourite characters get killed off, not the portrayal of character sacrifice and resurrection as allegory for Christ on the Cross, Christ Resurrected or Christ Eternal. 

    Can’t say I’ve ever actually read a super hero comic with overt Christian themes (I’m not counting the likes of Preacher or Lucifer as they are, obviously, playing with that whole mythology and dogma… and they ain’t really in the same genre as Iron Man or Wolverine). Universal themes; yes. As Sara Crow says; death and resurrection are not only universal human themes but are more ancient than Christianity.

    Christian symbols are used in the immediate art (or in the case of on film, the cinematography) of some works in the west i.e. a character dies with their arms flung to the side. Does that make the sacrifice part of a Christian story or is the well known image being used to just hammer home “this is a sacrifice” without the specifically Christian additions to the theme such as washing away of mass sin, life ever lasting and forgiveness by a higher authority?

    Spike is the best example of this. He died sacrificing himself to save the lives of every human in the world. He even flung his arms wide and his sides were pierced. However, his sacrifice washed away no sin, not even his own, he only saved mortal lives and no one was given forgiveness from a higher authority, again not even himself. The image of his death was to portray sacrifice but not that of a messiah, dying for a spiritual cause. His resurrection was, also, more to do with ratings and contracts than Spike’s personal story arc.

    So anyway… why mock people (and by people who do you mean, exactly?) for not being familiar with Christianity, a faith that not everyone adheres to or has studied? Why mock people for not seeing Christian allegory in comics (Iron Man, Hulk, Spidey, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, The Avengers, Dead Pool)? What religious themes have been used in what comics and how does that now make them so popular, especially amongst an increasingly atheist, secular (or in many cases pagan) youth?

    Why did you immediately jump to sacrifice and resurrection as being Christian? Coulson did not hang, did not fling out his arms, his sides were not pierced and he did not doubt his cause or master. He did not think his death would wash away sins nor save souls (only lives), he thought it would galvanise The Avengers to do their thing; avenging… which isn’t a very Christian thing to do. I’d have thought that The Avengers would far more bring to mind Nordic mythology, such as the tale of Odin’s sacrifice of himself to himself on Yggdrasil, if it was going to bring to mind any mythology or religion.Well… that was epic. I’ve had DS9 on pause for so long my xbox has threatened to switch itself off.

  • JustPlainSomething

    Silver lining is he’s still alive and well in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon … and he’s still played by Clark Gregg! Actually, he’s undercover as Peter’s principal and his moments are pretty fantastic.

  • Rachel Krengel

    This didn’t really feel like a “Joss kills everyone I love and then chops them up and stuffs them in the refridgerator” thing tbh. It was practically all out war and someone who was in the middle of it died. It ended up being someone incredibly brave and someone very close to the action but not one of the someones who have superpowers to protect them. Which is pretty much right…. being one of the bravest and least protected people at the heart of a war isn’t a great place to be in real life either.

  • Megan Drummond

    I yelled the same thing. I recently got to watch Firefly/Serenity for the first time and wasn’t yet over the deaths in that series yet. This death almost killed me.

    I get to attached to characters. =/

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t watch anything with him in it for like a year after I saw Serenity. He was my favorite

  • Anonymous

    That scene almost made me jump out of my chair as I practicaly screamed,”Phil! No! Why? FirstWash now this? I don’t know if I can take it!” I got some laughs and looks but we all cheered when he shot Loki. Some nice gentleman even said to me,”see? He got him back!”, which made me smile. And that my friends is why comic fans are such awesome people. We know pretty much exactly what each other are thinking/need to hear.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Yeah right. Come on Joss, it’s obvious you were jealous of Gregg for stealing the Squinty Smirk with Receding Hairline look.

  • napalmnacey

    Great. Who’s responsible for that horrid “mewling quim” line? Cause that pissed me off more than Couslon dying.

  • Tessa

    As much as I liked Agent Coulson, I would feel cheated if he came back to life. Just like when they brought Jean Gray back after Dark Phoenix because they wanted to do X Factor. When a character’s death really matters emotionally, undoing the death is cheating.

    Like most superhero movies, the Marvel movies are packed with unkillable characters. We know Iron Man, Cap, and Thor are gonna be around for the next movie. We know Nick Fury isn’t going to get bumped off in the climactic fight. So Agent Coulson had to be the “something at stake.” Sigh.

  • Anonymous

    That movie was a hot mess. I barely even remember that scene.

  • Noémie Vaselli

    Coulson will be in the SCHIELD TV series. I’m not sure if the series is set before or after The Avengers, or even if it’s in the same continuity, so as far as I know he may or may not be dead for good. But at least we will see more of him.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, that? I thought you were referring to the scene in which the Hulk thrashes Loki around like a rag doll.

  • Anonymous

    They had to use that line to show just how obnoxious Loki was, but without letting the kids know what he was saying (But, yeah, over the top).

  • Anonymous

    Oh, please! Coulson is NOT DEAD. They went *out of their way* to set up how he;s not dead: Tony Stark makes the snarky remark about “You have reached SHIELD Agent Life Body Double…” & the movie point-blank shows us that Nick Fury would ie if he thought he had to, & that he lied about Coulson’s cards (Man, is Couslon ever going to clobber him when he sees what Fury did to them!!). It was a body double that was killed.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Coulson wasn’t an existing comic book character.

  • dthompson

    Not sure why we are discussing the merits of whether he is alive or not. He is.

  • Nirali

    I’ve just reread this story, and look how far we’ve come…

  • Ceci Pipe

    It wasn’t that harrowing though, it was expected because “it’s good story telling” yet we know they aren’t going to kill off the titular characters so it had to be a support. If it’s a support, it can’t be Fury, the doctor was too boring, had to be Coulson. It was such a predictable death that it lost all of it’s impact, imo.