Marvel Short Film ‘The Consultant’ Fills Gaps in ‘Avengers’ Saga

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 12th, 2011 at 10:40 pm,

thor cameos agent coulson clark gregg tony stark  Marvel Short Film The Consultant Fills Gaps in Avengers Saga

Marvel Studios is now ramping up to their big superhero movie crossover event The Avengers – an ambitious saga that has been in the making ever since Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were released in 2008.

The last two years have brought us much deeper into The Avengers universe with the releases of Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger – however, despite some clear links between the respective films, there have been some gaps in the telling of how Marvel’s mightiest heroes ultimately come together.

We’ve known for some time that Marvel is planning live-action short films, which would presumably be used to test the appeal of their more obscure superhero properties (Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Heroes for Hire, etc.). However, at Comic-Con 2011 we learned that some of the first “one-shot” shorts would be used to serve another purpose: fill in gaps of The Avengers saga.

Marvel’s first one-shot short is called “The Consultant” and stars Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson – the errand boy of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – who has shown up time and again in an effort to recruit superheroes for “The Avengers Initiative.” Marvel has released a preview of “The Consultant”, which will be featured on the Thor Blu-ray this fall.

Take a look at Coulson’s clandestine conversation in this preview clip of “The Consultant”, and see if you can place the short in the proper chronology of The Avengers saga:

To us it’s pretty clear that this conversation between Coulson and (presumably) another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent takes place in the time period of Iron Man 2/Incredible Hulk. The “consultant” would refer to Tony Stark’s status as a consultant on The Avengers Initiative (which was established at the end of IM2), and the mission to annoy General “Thunderbolt” Ross would refer to the conversation that takes place between Ross and Stark at the end of Incredible Hulk.

Basically, what we’re seeing in this short is Coulson deciding to send Stark to talk to Ross about The Avengers Initiative and manipulate him into keeping “Blonsky” – a.k.a. The Abomination from Incredible Hulk – under lock and key. But to what end?

To create Hulk-buster armor?

To help secure The Hulk as an Avenger?

To use the super-soldier serum in Ross’ possession?

Guess we’ll find out when The Avengers hits (or in another one-shot), but our guess is the conversation will likely lead to Ross helping bring Banner/Hulk to the team.

There is already word on the next one-shot short, entitled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.” It will reportedly detail an incident that occurred between Iron Man 2 and Thor, as Agent Coulson was en-route from Tony Stark’s mansion to the New Mexico desert to lock down the crash site of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Should be fun.

Thor and SHIELD agent Coulson Marvel Short Film The Consultant Fills Gaps in Avengers Saga

What happened on the way to Thor's hammer?

While these first one-shots aren’t as exciting as, say, a short introducing Doctor Strange, it’s still good to see the Avengers saga being expanded, and all the little gaps being filled. We know that Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie will likely hit the ground running and blow the borders of the Marvel movie universe wide open, so using these shorts to drop little clues and foreshadows that will better explain the big showdown is a good strategy in our book.

What about you guys: do you think these Agent Coulson one-shots are good fun, or just boring?

The Avengers will (finally) be here on May 4, 2012.

You can catch “The Consultant” one-shot short on the Thor Blu-ray, which hits store shelves on September 13, 2011.

Source: Marvel

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  1. Why just on Blu-Ray? What about the viral campaign? Just post the shorts online and spare us the money-grubbing.

    • Cheapskate 😉 (No offence)

      The answer to your (presumably rhetorical) question is simple: they want to make money (like any normal enterprise), Marvel needs to pay some bills and get funding for future-Marvel movies.

      This always baffles me… people claim that they are fans of the movies and that they would want to see sequels, but when Marvel asks for their “fans” to support them and help them by buying movie tickets and DVDs, the “fans” immediately start complaining (or even worse) they just download the movies and exclusive content (like the Marvel-shorts) illegally.

      I for one, have already put some money aside for the Thor Blu-Ray, and on the day of release I will be able to enjoy the Thor movie in glorious HD with all the awesome special features. 😀

      • Well see l’m also a big marvel fan but seen as the shorts will be exclusive to the Blue Ray l’ll be forced to watch them illegaly.
        But then again downloading movies is legal where l’m at. doesn’t stop me from paying for good movies

        • I think you misunderstood (maybe SR was a little unclear): the Marvel-shorts WILL BE AVAILABLE ON DVD (not just Blu-Ray). The special features aren’t limited to one format… even if you don’t have a blu-ray player, you can still watch the shorts on DVD.

        • “But then again downloading movies is legal where l’m at. doesn’t stop me from paying for good movies”

          I SERIOUSLY doubt that since it is Interpol that developed the illegality of pirating. But go ahead and keep trying to convince yourself that you’re not stealing.

          • Amongst many, many other countries, downloading movies is not illegal in Canada. So you shouldn’t be so serious in your doubt.

            Also, Interpol? You’re daft. Britain has had been developing and enforcing copyright laws (including use of the word PIRACY) in various forms for 400 years.

            • Interpol is a small operation that exists only to facilitate inter-departmental cooperation & communication between countries…it’s not like they’re a huge international police department or anything. The film & music industries are the ones pursuing downloaders, not some little non-policy-creating group like Interpol.

      • I went to every Marvel movie and bought every DVD/Blu-Ray and animated movies. And watch ALL Marvel’s tv animations on Disney XD, Nicktoon, the new ones on G4tv and have the DVD and/or Blu-Ray sets. So don’t wrap all Marvel fans up in one neat package. Oh and I buy their comic books :)

        • Good for you 😉
          I do that as well 😀
          I didn’t “wrap all Marvel fans up” – I was just saying that there are many people who call themselves fans, but show none of the loyalty that you and I do for example.

          • That’s ridiculous. SO I’m not a fan because I don’t buy EVERY thing Marvel throws out?

            I’m a fan of the Dallas Cowboys football team but I don’t have season tickets nor every DVD of their games in my collection.

            Loyalty should not be a blind trust.

            • I dont think thats what they r saying, as long as u pay to watch their movies, id say ur a real fan, just not AS dedicated as some of the others

              • Exactly. That’s what I meant

            • I’m just saying what I do, you have do you. And I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan too, But I live in the DFW though.

  2. In retrospect it’s weird how they had the Hulk as the first movie, but chronologically it seems to be the last of the pre-Avengers movies.

    • Iron Man came out May 2, 2008, while Incredible Hulk came out June 13, 2008.

      • No see Hulk takes place after(or during) the events of iron man two
        l’m not sure where exactly this puts Thor yet but the shorts will explain it l guess

        • Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk and Thor all intersect – at certain points. Around the middle of each film, they are all happening at the same time.

          Iron Man 2 ends before Hulk does, and Hulk likely ends a little before Thor does.

          It’s why:

          Tony sees the Hulk’s battle at that college during IM2.
          Tony (now “the consultant”) visits Ross at the end of IH
          Coulson leaves IM2 to deal with Thor.

          • l see it’s all around the same time But agent Coulsun gets to Mjolnir at the end of ironman meaning Thor would be happening after IM2 for the most part.

            • Just the part when Mjolnir and Thor falls to earth.

              • actually, coulson leaves before the final battle in IM2, and so that would be when thors hammer fell to earth, and it didnt take coulson too long to get there, like a day or two. and after coulsons there, the movie ends after less then a week, so its possible that it ends before iron man 2(the part at shield headquarters) and they just add that seen in iron man 2 at the crater as a teaser for thor, dont use that as indication to when he gets there

          • When does does Tony see the hull in IM2? I missed that, was it on a tv in the background or something?

            • Yes, if you watch the bit at the end with Fury and Stark on the TV is news footage of the aftermath when the hulk was attacked on the college campus. Along with some other hints on a global map referring to black panther and stuff. :)

              • Wow…I never noticed until reading this. I just went back and checked it out. It’s all starting to make sense…chronological sense to be exact. 😛

                • Yup, and if you watch IM2 with the director’s commentary, Favrou (the director) explains even more cool stuff that people might not have picked up in the film:
                  Like when Tony goes to Monaco – he goes into the restaurant and a rich business man greets him and says “I have a great idea for an electric jet” – to which Tony replies “You do? Then we’ll make it happen” – THAT little easter-egg actually referred to the Quinjet.

                  There are many other little easter-eggs that only become clear when the director explains them. (So check it out, it’s worth it ;))

                  • tahnk you, i will have to check that out

        • Thor takes place during IM2.

          • What Kofi said.

            • There is a scene in The Incredible Hulk, after he grabbed Betty and is hiding in a cave from the thunderstorm, at one point it thunders really loud, the hulk turns and screams, and the screen pans up towards the sky…Rumor is that is when Thor’s hammer is falling to earth… sombody told me u can see a dot move across the sky from Right to Left…but if so that might help with the timeline.

              • yeah, it could be Thor’s hammer or it could be that large stone he chucks into the air when the thunder scares him. I will tell myself its Thor’s hammer cause that sounds cooler! ha :)

                • but, that cant be, coulson gets called after the hammer falls, but he gets called during iron man 2, and the battle at the college happens during the end scene in IM2, and the cave is after that, so it cant be the hammer, but could be sif and the warriors three, or the destroyer

                  • Well, all we see if new footage. we don’t know if its brand new footage or if its old. I mean really its probably that giant rock he throws, because Thor takes place hundreds of miles away from Hulk and its unlikely that they would see it anyways. :)

              • “Somebody told me…”

                I heard this rumor myself online, but it sounded exactly like many other “wishful thinking” oriented rumors I’ve heard about these movies, so I went and check myself. It’s not anything to do with Thor…it’s just people wanting to see something linking Thor, when they didn’t put anything in the films just yet.

    • The “timeframe” for the Marvel movies:
      1. Captain America: The First Avenger (1940’s)
      2. Iron Man
      3. Iron Man 2
      4. “A funny thing happened on the way to Thor’s hammer” (short)
      5. Thor (the events of Thor start near the end of IM2)
      6. The Incredible Hulk (starts at the same time as Thor but ends after Thor – it plays out over a longer timeframe)
      7. “The Consultant” (takes place near the end of TIH)

      • The events in Inc. Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor overlap. Besides, Banner “disappeared” before Thor’s events. Yes, we point to the campus scene in Inc. Hulk, but there is an expanded time frame that suggests at least a month or two has passed between the Hulk breakout at the factory and the Hulk breakout on the campus.

        And since we’re on the subject, I take it that Cap wakes up just before the Hulk- Abomination showdown?

        As for the funny thing that happened on the way to the Hammer, I’d laugh if Agent Coulson has to give Agent Barton a lift into town :)

        • y would he wake up before that, whats ur evidence

  3. I think two shots would create more of a buzz…

  4. Great idea. Love it.

  5. looks goood

  6. And wasnt Captain Americas new sheild on Starks desk in Iron Man 1. So Captain America “Woke Up” before Iron Man?

    • l always assumed that they just put that there for fun but there could be an idea behind that

    • Captain America didn’t wake up before the events of IM (or IM2) – the shield on Tony’s desk is a prototype – and someone mentioned it can’t be, because Tony’s father used all the available Vibranium on the planet – one can very clearly see pieces of the shield are missing (hence being a PROTOTYPE) – that shield is only made out of normal metals.

      • he may have said it was all the vibranium in the world, but theres some in uganda

        • *Wakanda*, not Uganda :P, and TheAvenger, that may have been the only vibranium known about at the time, cause it was in the 40s, they probably barely knew about all the vibranium in Wakanda.

          • sorry, im just getting into black panther still

      • YUP!

  7. No that was a prototype

    • That’s not possible the shield was put together by Tony’s dad with “all the vibranium on earth”

      • You do know what a “prototype” is right? The prototype shield doesn’t necessarily need to be made out of Vibranium – Howard made it to see if the design would work in action.

        • What was it doing over at Tony’s if his father’s stuff was given to him halfway trough iron man 2

          • Like I said it’s a flippin prototype, get it?!

            • Dude, why are you using my alias/avatar!

              That’s not cool…

              • ok ok sorry, couldn’t resist

                • What is wrong with you?!

                  You can’t do that!

                  P.S. I am the “Real Avenger” – I’ve been on this site for more than a year.

                  Please change your name. I beg you.

                  • isn’t there space for two of us??

                    • Why can’t you just change your name :(
                      There are plenty of great names you can use.

                    • I reported you to screenrant.

                      I really don’t understand why a person would do such a thing :(

                      Do you bear some grudge against me for a reason?

                    • ok my friend, I can see you’re a dedicated Avengers fan, I will choose something else

                    • Thank you. I GREATLY appreciate it :)

                      (I hope you’re not lying)

                    • It was nothing personal bud, was only joking about. I often like what you have to say. It made me laugh the way that guy didn’t understand what prototype was… sorry

                    • It’s cool (I bear no ill will against you)… I would just recommend you not do that again. You can get banned from the site if you do things like that.

                      I look forward to talking with you on future articles (as long as you don’t use my name again ;)) – Welcome to screenrant.

    • Still, he woke up before iron man 1, right?

      • lt’s not clear yet. The shorts or The Avengers movie itself will clear it up

        • Actually Captain America was still frozen right before the events of the Hulk (according to the deleted scene). And so if the Hulk was taking place during the events of Iron Man 2 then he was still frozen during Iron Man 1 as well

          • I take it you haven’t seen Captain America: The First Avenger yet have you?

            If you did, then you’ll know the deleted scene in TIH was deleted for a reason (it has no relevance to the Marvel Movie-verse).

            But you are right, Cap first wakes up AFTER the events of IM, IM2, Thor and TIH.

            • I have seen Captain America but I’m sure that doesnt mean the scene isn’t relevant. I would assume the scene is deleted for time constraints like almost every other movie that exists. Where does it state the scene isn’t relevant in the actual movie-verse?

              • your point of view is irrelevant. sorry

                • WTF!
                  Screenrant, this guy is using my alias! I did not type that!

                  • What are you, 12? This is for discussions on serious movie content, not youtube flame wars. Don’t take the name screen rant too literally.

                • cap was frozen in the red skulls ship, so he wouldnt be near the surface

          • Ok, but if he was frozen, and S.H.E.I.L.D didnt know where he was, according to the first scene in Cap America, why would there be a prototype? How does Tony even know about him?

            Also, how brilliant of them to have all these easter eggs and give us stuff to talk about year from year. Well Done Marvel.

            • The prototype shield belonged to Tony’s father (he probably had it in his office as a remembrance of Cap)- when he died Tony inherited it?

              • I reply to this comment, because the reply button is missing to the one I want to reply to.

                I was talking about the movie versions of Cap and Stark. I think it was Feige who said that. Could be an interesting plot key.

                • Could be… guess we won’t till Avengers comes out 😀

                  But I still think that Tony would have a lot of love and respect for Cap. (But then again… he did use Cap’s prototype shield as a paperweight in IM1 and as a thing to make his machine level in IM2 – so I guess he actually DOESN’T have much respect for it :D)

                  But as to “Jbrose23″‘s statement saying that Stark was building a shield: THAT is incorrect. If you read “James A. Ferguson” comment further down the discussion page, the shield things is explained very nicely.

            • Well done indeed Marvel 😀

            • TheAvenger is right. But when you say ‘how does tony even know about him?” i’m assuming you mean Captain America. Well, everyone would know who captain america is. He would be a famous WWII hero that everyone would probably learn about in history. He wasn’t a secret.

              • So he was just working on a new shield incase Captain America came back.

                  • I think the best explanation is Tony’s a Cap fan, and was building himself a replica.

                    • He´s everything elese but a Cap fan. All his life, his father would tell him about Cap and what a hero he was. He wanted his son to be like Cap. So it takes a while until they get along.

                    • @Scapegoat: Actually, Tony was one of the biggest Cap fans around (in the comics at least). Deep down, Tony always wanted to be a hero (like Cap) and when Cap was unfrozen in the modern day, Cap and Tony immediately became friends (after Cap freaked out and attacked everybody though ;))

  8. Clark Cregg is a great actor and him as Agent Coulson is awesome, I mean the character is a great way to show continuity between the films.

    I am happy that Agent Coulson is in The Avengers and I hope he will be in more Marvel films.

    Also I hope the short films turn out to be great.

    • Couldn’t agree more 😀

  9. It’s been done in about every comic book. Placing one panel shots of something bigger around the corner. Marvel has simply taking that established trait and brought it to the big screen. Almost like taking all the selective movies (Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America) and these one shots to create a huge live action comic book. In years time we could have The Avengers 15 or something similar to the James Bond franchise.

    Much like the way The Avengers on the Disney channel started out. Small short cartoon bits introducing the characters that lead up to the actual show itself.

  10. For the Love of Odin it’s
    Captain America
    Iron Man
    Iron Man 2
    Incredible Hulk

    • You are correct sir! (Here’s my list with a bit more detail)
      The “timeframe” for the Marvel movies:
      1. Captain America: The First Avenger (1940′s)
      2. Iron Man
      3. Iron Man 2
      4. “A funny thing happened on the way to Thor’s hammer” (short)
      5. Thor (the events of Thor start near the end of IM2)
      6. The Incredible Hulk (starts at the same time as Thor but ends after Thor – it plays out over a longer timeframe)
      7. “The Consultant” (takes place near the end of TIH)

  11. I believve its never stated how much time passed between the bulk of iron man 2, and the scene in the shield base. thor starts during the middle of iron man 2, seeing how he coulson was called to go to new mexico during iron man 2, but wouldve been called after thor starts. the consultant happens during incredible hulk, between the final battle and when tony appears in that bar. the reason that the scene in hulk with caps body is irrevelent, is that at the end of cap, he is frozen in Red Skulls ship, therefor not being able to be seen from above the ice.

  12. here’s an excerpt you may want to read:

    “According to Stane, Stark pulled the old files on an alloy his father worked on during World War II… For a project called Project Rebirth.”

    “I can guess what happened next. Stark found an… example…of the alloy in his father’s archives and used it to strengthen his suit.”

    “It’s pretty impressive, Mr. Director. What was Project Rebirth’s goal?”

    “That’s still classified to all but Omega level clearance, Coulson. But to give you an idea of its importance, what Stark has is just a prototype… A reject. The final product was lost… Although you can bet your life we’ll never stop looking for it.”


    That’s a conversation that Fury and Coulson have during Tony’s ‘visit’ to Gulmira. It’s from the Graphic novel Ironman: I AM IRONMAN! Which is based on the hit movie. Whether or not it’s relevant is up to you. Also I like the fact they’re answering questions to fill the gaps, it gives the other Marvel films a fuller experience. While you’re watching the movie you also know what’s going on in the background.

    • I neglected to mention that the prototype is the Captain America sheild seen in both Ironman & Ironman II.

      • Excuse me, Shield.

    • That explains everything! Thanks, man 😀

      I haven’t read that comic yet, but I’ll definitely check it out. (It seems like that series really explains a lot)

      • you’re more than welcome. Here’s the ISBN #

        ISBN 978-0-7851-4558-5


        ISBN 978-0-7851-4558-6

        IRONMAN II: PUBLIC IDENTITY (this one takes place before Ironman II)

        Enjoy with my compliments.

        P.S. try your local discount bookstore, that’s where I found mine for 7 bucks.

  13. Screw Blue ray, come on Marvel put them on the DvD’s versions too.

    • It is on the DVD version.

  14. Personally I was hoping these shorts would get aired before other movies in the theaters, but I guess that’s not practical, what with no new Marvel-studios movies coming out until The Avengers, and the competition wouldn’t want to advertise another studio’s flick.

    • its still possible. The fast and the furius released short films on dvds with the latest movie thats on dvd, then they aired them during the next movie in theaters, so these shorts still have a chance

  15. The other guy is Agent Sitwell.

  16. Not bringing back Ed Norton has royally screwed with this connected continuity, it seems as though The Incredible Hulk is not a part of the rest of these films, if Norton ahd come back it all would have tied together very well for the audiences.

    • I agree, but let’s not judge Ruffalo before we see him on the screen.
      F.Y.I. the events of TIH are still a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – they just got another actor to play the part of Banner.

      And let’s not forget the REASON why Marvel didn’t bring Norton back: Norton is used to being the “star” of the films he’s in, he doesn’t really work well as a part of the machine: he’s used to being the entire machine (sorry for that bad example, but it’s the best I could think of right now) – and since the Avengers is a movie about a TEAM of superheroes (who each had their own movie) AND some of those actors are the best in the business right now… do you really think that a guy like Ed Norton would be able to deliver his best performance?
      Short version: Norton doesn’t really work well in a team.

      Who knows, maybe Ruffalo makes a better Bruce Banner than Norton did (I’m being optimistic about this change).

      • Oh Im not judging Ruffalo until I see him in the part, I just think Norton did a great job and it’s a shame they couldnt reach a deal for him to return.
        What worries me in this regard is this; Are they going to keep the character exactly the same as the way Norton protrayed him, because that isnt exactly fair on Ruffalo who surely wants to do his own thing. And will General Ross and Betty, Blonsky, ever resurface and will they be played by the same actors?

        • All very good questions… I imagine that they would keep Banner the same (i.e. the way Norton portrayed him).
          I have no doubt that General Ross, Blonsky (Abomination) and Samuel Sterns (The Leader) will return for future Marvel films (and I’m sure Marvel would let the original actors reprise their roles). Note: these characters don’t necessarily have to be in future Hulk films to make their returns… they can somehow be part of Avengers sequels or something.
          But as for Betty Ross: I don’t know if they will make another Hulk movie and if they do, frankly I don’t care if they get another actress to portray Betty because, IMO, Liv Taylor did a terrible job – she was bland and boring.

          • what does IMO mean

            • In my opinion

              • thank you

  17. I want the Hulk to be really bad and scary in the Avengers movie – and we get to see the other heroes having to bring him down somehow then get him on-side – in order to battle a greater threat.

    • I want the Hulk to be a little more intelligent (since Banner gains control when he smiles at the end of TIH). Hulk can talk and say more than “HULK SMASH!” In the movie Loki should cast a spell on the Hulk that makes him lose control and he fights the Avengers, wipes the floor with them, and then… Hulk and Thor showdown!!!

      • Yeah! 😀

  18. I am very impressed with the Marvel movies interconnections. We get bits and pieces of different characters and intertwined story lines. It is very exciting. People that are not usually interested in comics are getting hooked! And buy the way, Cleveland is all abuzz today because they are starting to film the Avengers Movie.

  19. loving the new marvel movies and its putting me in the mood for comics but need some advice on where to start