Joss Whedon Talks ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ TV Show; Bringing Agent Coulson Back

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joss1 Joss Whedon Talks S.H.I.E.L.D. TV Show; Bringing Agent Coulson Back

Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show pilot is in post-production, with ABC expected to formally order additional episodes in the foreseeable future. The pilot was written and directed by the studio’s Phase Two architect and The Avengers director Joss Whedon, with the cast including several new characters written specifically for the comic book-inspired series – and Clark Gregg, reprising his fan-fave role as plucky Agent Coulson following the events of Avengers (despite his apparent death in that movie).

This past week Whedon visited Austin, Texas, in order to attend the 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and premiere his modern Shakespeare retelling Much Ado About Nothing (watch the trailer here). /Film is reporting that Whedon and Gregg took questions about about Coulson’s return in S.H.I.E.L.D., confirming that it’s “for realsies” and joking about the Heimlich maneuver being responsible for his resuscitation after Loki’s attack.

Whedon was more serious during an interview with Deadline, where he revealed the personal interest that motivated him to bring Coulson back:

“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.”

The smaller-scale afforded by the television medium has served Whedon well in the past. Indeed, he made his name working on geek-friendly shows that favor overarching character development and storytelling that goes beyond an episodic basis (see: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel‘s season-long narratives). That approach should benefit his desired “more intimate” approach on S.H.I.E.L.D., as will the show’s hopeful outlook and optimistic philosophy, as was previously described by Whedon.

SHIELD agent coulson Joss Whedon Talks S.H.I.E.L.D. TV Show; Bringing Agent Coulson Back

The filmmaker also re-emphasized his desire for viewers to accept S.H.I.E.L.D. on its own terms, rather than focusing on how much (or little) the show affects larger events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

“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.”

Whedon’s last comment harkens back to his recent claims about the difficulties of Hulk solo movies; not mention, it’s an off-hand explanation for why Marvel’s been hesitant about moving ahead on Guillermo del Toro’s proposed Incredible Hulk TV show. Furthermore, the filmmaker has a hand in that gestating project in addition to S.H.I.E.L.D. and everything else Marvel does over the next few years – which is why his brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen will be handling a good chunk of the showrunning duties, along with executive producers Jeph Loeb (Smallville) and Jeffrey Bell (Angel):

“I will be as involved as I can be – mostly on a story level. On the TV show I can say, “No, do it my way.” I’m just trying to keep it exciting and meaningful and surprising.”

In the meantime, Whedon is making his way through the writing process on The Avengers 2 (not the official title) ahead of production beginning sometime next year.


S.H.I.E.L.D. is expected to be picked up by ABC for a Fall 2013 premiere.


Source: Deadline, /Film

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  1. “Well, there’s not gonna be a Hulk because that guy’s too expensive.”

    That’s why the Hulk is green!! He’s the color of money!!

    • Sorry, I’m gonna have to bust ya on that joke. It was just too tacky. Lol

  2. The one worry or concern I have about S.H.I.E.L.D is wether or not it will be more of a episodic or serialized show.
    As excited as I am for the show I just can’t deny that I always have a hard time getting invested in stories that wrap up every hour. That’s why I stopped watching Supernatural, Elementary, and even Arrow to name a few. I realize that those shows have or are introducing serialized storylines but sadly I’ve already stopped watching.
    So I hope if S.H.I.E.L.D. does go this route I can set aside this issue of mine because I’ve waited years for a show like this.

    • Arrow’s main story has been ongoing throughout the season, they just have hour long episodes with the arc in each episode wrapping up quickly to introduce characters and show us what Green Arrow is all about.

      That’s why we’ve had the Merlyn/Queen thing mentioned since episode 1 that will lead to answers about Oliver’s dad’s death and the plan for Starling City and the flashbacks to Ollie on the island since episode 1.

      • I’m with ya, Dazz. Sometimes I wonder if commenters really even watch the shows they rag on.

  3. i just hope shield gets high enough ratings cause abc always cancels their good shows

  4. This will be great! And with the Marvel bonus here’s hoping that it will finally be a Joss Whedon show again that doesn’t get cancelled before its time.

    • Its going to be on ABC…I do not put anything past Disney to screw over anyone,

      They can only put it in one viable spot and that is Thursday night at 9pm. Because no show is going to even knock out BIG BANG THEORY.

      So, at least on Thursday night at 9 it has a fighting chance.

  5. DON’T BRING AGENT COULSON BACK!!! For crying out loud! People need to learn to let things go. He had a good death, and bring him back would lessen the impact of that scene. It takes away from the movie. Seriously, I hate it when a good vision is ruined by fanfare.

    • Speaking of letting things go, he’s already brought back. They already filmed an episode. HE’S BACK! Deal with it.

    • Yeah, it had nothing to do with fanfare. Weedon wanted to bring him back so he’s back.
      I agree that bringing him back can lessen the impact of his death in The Avengers but I’ll wait to see how they handle it on the show before I can say for sure.

      • same here. I trust that Whedon will make Coulson’s return worth it.

        • It could either lessen the impact of his death or emphasize the lengths to which Nick Fury will go to manipulate the Avengers.

          • I agree with Cave-ish Man. If Coulson was truly not dead at all, but only critically injured, then it would show just how far Fury is willing to go as a puppet master. How manipulative he is, how he lies to his own allies as a means to an end.

            It could set up some huge Avengers vs SHIELD conflict (or even an internal SHIELD conflict, Hill did not look like she was informed either, since she pointed out that the cards were in Coulson’s locker).

            I mean sure, this is the TV show and not the MCU, but if Coulson is alive sooner or later Tony Stark and the rest of The Avengers will know about it.

            I’m confident Joss will handle his return well.

            • Joss Whedon is a writer that I think would be equal to Stan Lee, that maybe why he wrote for Marvel for so long, so I believe that Whedon was aware of who would be used in other story lines. When Whedon writes he’s already thought of the possible directions each action could go, so to suggest that the people who were involved in the creation of that “good death” didn’t think of this direction “That I consided while watching the movie, is at best disappointing from people that don’t see the beauty in the whole story.

    • “A good vision” – V I S I O N


      That wasn’t intentional… was it?

    • VISION you say?

  6. If Jeph Loeb is involved then this show may be doomed

    • Jeph Loeb helped Smallville become the longest running Sci-Fi series on television. To say that this show will be doomed because of him sorta contradics the facts. Aside from that – with Wendon at the head of this, there’s no way this show is going the wrong direction. Quit being so opinionated.

      • So nobody can have opinions?

        Because honestly, in my opinion, Smallville was terrible for the first 6 seasons and full of Dawson’s Creek style drama that I as a young person in his late teens when the show debuted despised then lessened it slightly in later seasons but still wasn’t very good.

        Whedon also in my opinion hasn’t created a decent TV show that isn’t full of the aforementioned crappy teen drama.

        Just cause something runs for years, doesn’t mean everyone loves it. Besides, as we saw with American Pie, that series of films has been terrible since the beginning but they still make them.

        • Yes. Smallville was awful, Whedon sucks and makes bad shows and the American Pie movies are terrible. Its a massive conspiracy to keep awful shows and movies on our screens.

          Or maybe, just maybe, that’s just your opinion and many other people don’t agree with you. You talk about opinions. Everyone has them. They arnt wrong if they disagree with yours. If something does run for years, than yes, people do love it. Filmmaking and tv are a business. Any studio that spends millions on something with no viewers, will quickly go broke.

        • “Whedon also in my opinion hasn’t created a decent TV show that isn’t full of the aforementioned crappy teen drama.”

          Maybe there’s a lot of this in Buffy (I haven’t seen it), but where’s the crappy teen drama in Firefly and Dollhouse? Have you actually seen many of Whedon’s works?

      • Actually, Smallville started to suck starting with season 7. Just saying.

        • For me, it all started to dive downhill once Lex thru Lionel out the window… that’s just me though.

          But c’mon… don’t be hatin on Smallville. That little Justice League tease they did is the only live adaptation of the League that we have

      • @Superdave.

        You are posting misleading information.

        Smallville was the longest running science fiction show, yes. On the WB Network. Which is easier to put on cheaper shows with a direct target audience.

        No SHOW on the WB like Smallville would last past 2 seasons on ABC, NBC OR CBS.

        Hell, I like Smallville and recorded it, there were better quality shows on, hell Smallville once went up against NCIS and boy that ended horribly.

    • I agree. He is a DC spy. He has ruined multiple good things from Marvel.

      • like Astonishing X-Men, man that comic…. it was so bad


  7. Bringing Coulson back is just bad writing. Coulson dying is the closest thing to an actual irreversible consequence of anything that happened in ‘Avengers’ except that Whedon immmediately reversed it at the first opportunity. It doesn’t inspire much trust in his long-term planning as the mastermind of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    • are you a self-proclaimed professional writer? You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Bringing Coulson back is a smart move from every aspect. You haven’t heard of a Life Model Decoy, have you? Coulson was such a key player in SHIELD & liked by everyone. NOT bringing him back would be bad writing my friend.

      • The point is that Whedon should never have killed Coulson in the first place if he felt that he was important or would be important in future projects. I’m well aware of the ‘Life Model Decoy’ theory but I think it constitutes a breach of trust with the audience and it still doesn’t make any sense. Why was an LMD of Coulson running around the hellicarrier at that moment? Why didn’t Maria Hill know about the LMD? Where was the real Coulson during the attack? Why didn’t Fury reveal that Coulson was alive after the Chitauri crisis had ended? Why didn’t Loki notice that the LMD was synthetic while stabbing it through the “chest cavity”? Why did a robot bleed from it’s mouth after being stabbed in the “lungs?” I don’t believe that this is the brilliantly planned fake-out that some of the supporters are suggesting.

        • have you considered the possibility that Coulson was really killed in Avengers – and the LMD is who will be appearing in S.H.I.E.L.D? I never once assumed that the Loki stabbed a LMD instead of the real Coulson.

          • It would actually be more interesting than bringing Coulson back if Whedon went in that direction. Imagine how the SHIELD agents would react to having to work with an unsettling simulacrum of their dead colleague. As loong as they don’t play it as “Okay, I’m agent Coulson and I’m back now. Nobody acknowledge that I’m really just a soulless automaton created as an expendable decoy.”

    • They are comic book movies. The majority of comic book characters already died and came back again. It’s just how it is. Get used to it, or you won’t like Captain America 2. ;)

      • Granted, it happens all the time in the comics, but it’s almost always crticized when it does. I think people may be giving this a free pass because it’s Whedon. Also, I think it’s notable that he wasted zero time enacting this cliche, killing Coulson in his first Marvel project and then bringing him back in the second.

  8. I havta say that I expect this to be good. From the premise to Whedon’s involvement, it just seems like an idea that will work.

    Arrow bored me too much, Smallville became too ridiculous to take seriously, and I think that a Hulk show would be too expensive. The level of CGI necessary to make him look good is probably beyond the budget of a TV series…but maybe not, these days. Who knows.

  9. What makes me laugh is that people are complaining about him coming back from the dead, but the funny thing about it is he NEVER died. He’s body was never shown being taken away all we saw was Fury telling them he didn’t make it and something going on in the background.

    Steve Rogers: Fury didn’t tell me he was calling you in.
    Tony Stark: Yeah, there’s a lot of things Fury doesn’t tell you.

    Agent Phil Coulson: Mr Stark, we need to talk.
    Tony Stark: You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark, please leave a message.

    Steve Rogers: How can you not trust Fury?
    Tony Stark: He’s a spy, he’s THE spy. His secrets have secrets.

    Maria Hill: Sir, those cards were in Phil Coulson’s locker, not his pocket.
    Nick Fury: They needed a push in the right direction.

    I dont know if people didn’t want to believe it or just couldn’t see the obvious but it was always there that he never died or was never going to die.

    • That’s what I thought too.

    • agreed, Whedon left Coulson’s death open ended

    • That sounds like a stretch. The lines about ‘Fury is lying to us’-’his secrets have secrets’, ect. were foreshadowing SHIELD’s cosmic cube/WMD program. Why wouldn’t a high ranking SHIELD officer like Maria Hill have been aware if Coulson had survived? Besides, Coulson started bleeding from his mouth after being impaled which implies human physiology

  10. I 100% guarantee that if Coulson comes back as a lead character in the S.H.I.E.L.D TV show, ABC will have a hit on their hands.

    Well, maybe not 100%… but it’s close.

  11. so will agent coulson be back in the next Avengers movie?

  12. This is my major pet peeve with comics in general. You can’t have any real drama in them, no matter how they try to sell it to you, because if someone, or something is popular, and SELLS, it can’t permanently die. EVER. Only unpopular or non-important things ever stay dead, and rarely that. Comics I give a pass to, because they are cartoony, but when they make live-action movies, the rules should change.
    You can’t have even a major suspension of disbelief in a real-life comic movie, because any main character death will not be permanent. Real life isn’t that way, so there’s no way to “dis-believe” it. Watch the pretty special effects, then go rent Chronicle. Real life isn’t a Hollywood movie.

    • “You can’t have even a major suspension of disbelief in a real-life comic movie”

      I think that you need to examine that statement for logical consistancy.

      Real-life and comic movie are two phrases that never belong together and you automatically suspend your disbelief because it’s a comic book movie.

      You can have a “grounded” comic move (i.e Nolan’s DK Triolgy) but no way in hell is it real life.

      Why should the rules change because it’s live action.

      Comics aren’t created for “real” drama although there are numerous titles that provide it. They’re escapisim with a little bit of social or political commentary thrown in for good meassure but it’s mainly BIG action with these fantastical characters, locations and plots with the occasional life commentary for the young teens.

      If you want real-life drama, watch bio-pics or documentaries, you can have drama without death you know.

      Try Bigalow’s stuff… Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty if you want real life drama, you aint gonna get it from Chronicle, no superpowers in real life.

      • Chronicle was awesome though, and probably the closest thing to what the original poster is looking for. Since it wasn’t based on preexisting properties (literally anyway, im not talking about how Akira-ish it was), or characters that are selling the film based on name recognition, you can have actual drama and peril.

        Bigelows last 2 films are magnificent, but I think you are taking the original posters statements too literally. It’s obvious that he likes the idea of realistic takes on supernatural material (as do I), and he would prefer seeing REAL peril in them.

        To the original poster, we have Game Of Thrones. Don’t get attached to anybody.


  13. I never expected Coulson to die. As long as they use the LMD excuse, I am good with them bringing him back. Heck, I am great with it!

  14. Coulson could be brought back as a hologram or something along those lines, ala Jarvis. That way his death remains real.

    Or, the show could be a prequel of sorts, which would also keep the death intact.

    Either way, I think we will see avengers in the show her and there. Probably not the ones from the movie though, and probably not in costume, and maybe they aren’t Avengers yet.

  15. Y’know, you don’t even need to do the LMD angle. He could have been stitched up and carted away still alive, but Fury decided to say that he died to “give them the push.”

    You really don’t need to get fancy with it, all this he died and now is a hologram or it was a LMD… much easier for director Fury to say ” I lied. He’s not dead.”

  16. 1)Of course it lessens the impact of Coulsons role in the Avengers.

    2)I didn’t think he was dead anyway.

    3)Doing a SHIELD series without him would have been foolhardy, tbh. We KNOW how dangerous Coulson can be with a 5 pound bag of flour(or was it sugar?) lol.

    I’ll of course, check the series out, though I really don’t have any hopes that it will be breaking any serious televised ground.


  17. So The Avengers…didn’t really…avenge anything…

    Allllllrighty then

  18. Relax people..I got this.

    He will return in an episode entitled

    The New Adventures of the Old Agent Phil Coulson.

    See, told you…I had this.

  19. After watching Coulson’s alleged death a few times, I’m pretty confident in saying that if Phil was rushed to urgent care, that he would in fact survive his wound, as it didn’t seem to pierce any major organs (At least from eyeballing it).