Warning: For those who actually haven’t seen The Avengers, a MAJOR spoiler is discussed below.
While talking about his second directorial effort, the Tribeca Film Festival entry Trust Me, Clark Gregg took some time to touch on the process of boarding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and what could have brought Agent Coulson back from the dead.
In case you need a reminder, Gregg put it bluntly: “It was hard to miss the moment where that Asgardian bastard stabs me quite thoroughly.” We thought poor Coulson was dead and gone, and so did Gregg himself. He admitted, “I was a little heartbroken.” The folks at Marvel continued to drill it in, telling Gregg that Coulson really was out of the picture, but, as the actor pointed out, “It’s the comics, so, you know, that’s a different form of dead.”
And apparently that different form of dead involves some sort of resurrection because back in October at New York Comic Con, Gregg had the pleasure of announcing that Agent Coulson would return in the upcoming ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The pilot wrapped about two months ago and, just the other week, details of the show’s plot surfaced. Apparently Coulson assembles a team of Agents to take care of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s unclassified cases consisting of “straight arrow” Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), marital arts expert Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), nerdy scientist Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), and civilian recruit, Skye (Chloe Bennet) the computer hacker.
But even with the brigade of new characters, with Coulson attached, the show is still very clearly connected to The Avengers and considering he bit the dust in that one, the question still remains; how is he alive? Gregg highlighted a few popular theories – “There was people talking about, was he gonna come back as The Vision?” He continued, “We never saw the body. The cards were in the locker. There was a lot of people talking about the Blu-ray, the English Blu-ray, you didn’t see the spear come through Coulson.”
Gregg did say he was thrilled to get the call to go to Comic Con and make the big announcement about his return, but also admitted, “I was very curious, but also wasn’t sure I was necessarily down with it. I don’t want to do anything to undermine the integrity of The Avengers.” However, after getting more details straight from Joss Whedon himself, Gregg was hooked:
“When Joss described to me the mystery that takes place in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the complexity and the unanswered questions about Phil Coulson standing there trying to deal with this, I found it so fascinating and so true to the world of the comics and mythology in general as I understand them that I was immediately in.”
Mystery, complexity, however Whedon and his team are going to spin it, Coulson is still a person and, therefore, is bound to be deeply affected by the events of The Avengers. Gregg noted, “I don’t know how you could not change going through what he went through.” He added, “I think if he hadn’t gone through some kind of change, it wouldn’t be any good. That said, I don’t know if he understands how much he’s changed.”
And of course Coulson wasn’t in it alone; the entire Avengers crew mourned his death so must be affected by his return, too. When asked how that would play out, Gregg admitted he didn’t know, but noted “It would be surprising to me if this was a world where there wasn’t some reckoning for the fact that it’d be … you know, some level of deception must have been perpetrated on the Avengers.” So now we’re left with another question to keep our heads spinning; deception perpetrated by whom?
Watch the full clip of Gregg talking about Coulson below and keep an eye out for our full interview with him and his Trust Me co-star, Saxon Sharbino, coming soon.
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.