‘SHIELD’ TV Show Set After ‘Avengers’; How Coulson Could Return

Published 2 years ago by

SHIELD agent coulson SHIELD TV Show Set After Avengers; How Coulson Could Return

There has been plenty of speculation regarding the upcoming Joss Whedon S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series – specifically in regards to the show’s plot and whether or not well-known comic book characters will make an appearance; not to mention the question of how the series will be linked to the Marvel movie universe.

While Marvel has previously stated that the pilot will be part of their “Phase II” storyline, they have now officially confirmed the that series will take place after the Avengers movie timeline – but will consist of its own self-contained stories.

In a recent interview with IGN, ABC President Paul Lee had this to say about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s place in the Marvel Universe:

“There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York.This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it’s part of the world, but we’re going to be very, very careful that we don’t tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that’s what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He’s built a world for us.”

That being said, the real question on fans minds is this: If the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot takes place after the Avengers and deceased fan-fav Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is set to return, how will the character be resurrected?


Bringing Back Coulson: How It Could Be Done

With all the options of bringing a character back to life Hollywood and comics have to offer, we took the time to compile a list of the most-likely options ABC or Whedon might use for Coulson: 

Agent Coulson SHIELD TV Show SHIELD TV Show Set After Avengers; How Coulson Could Return

Flashbacks: Possible, but it would kind of defeat the purpose of having the series take place “after the Avengers.” The flashback idea also lacks the token Joss Whedon flare for the obviously complicated, but we’ll see.


A Ghost \ Helpful Sprit: Ummm, seems a bit unlikely (or at least we’re really hoping it is), despite Joss Whedon’s penchant for the supernatural and Marvel’s use of spirits in the past. The idea may sound cheesy at first (mostly because it is), but perhaps under the creative eye of Whedon it might actually work. Come to think of it, a ghost would make an excellent spy.


A Deathlok: Zombies are totally “in” right now, and a Zombie Cyborg is definitely a step up. Deathloks are dead soldiers\agents reanimated with future technology by the US government (or S.H.I.E.L.D.) to serve as the perfect military operative. The downside to a Deathlok operative is that they often end up at odds with their organic and cybernetic brains, which usually resorts in the Deathlok going crazy and turning on its masters.

SHIELD agent coulson return options SHIELD TV Show Set After Avengers; How Coulson Could Return

A Life Model Decoy of the original Nick Fury (right) and a Deathlok (left)


Life Model Decoys and Other Various Types of Robot: Marvel and Whedon LOVE robots (just ask the Vision and the BuffyBot) but the favorite of S.H.I.E.L.D. brass is the Life Model Decoy. LMDs are androids designed to function as an exact body double of the humans they’re based on.

The near-flawless mimicry of their subject’s outer appearance  - i.e., fingerprints, hair, skin, retina patterns, speech patterns, scent, body language and thought patterns – have even fooled the acute senses of Wolverine and high-level telepaths. Apart from any invasive medical examination or strong EMP, LMDs are indistinguishable from the original.

(PS: We’re also including a living computer based on Coulson’s brain patterns in with the “robot” category.)


Cloning: To say Marvel loves a good cloning would be an understatement, in fact you haven’t made it as a superhero unless some villain has tried to clone you for nefarious purposes. While LMDs maybe S.H.I.E.L.D.’s go to, clones also play a big part within the organization. The real question of cloning Coulson will be if he’s aware of his duplicate nature and if not how will he react when he finds out.


Agent Coulson Maria Hill Avengers SHIELD TV Show Set After Avengers; How Coulson Could Return

Mystical Resurrection: We all hate to lose a fantastic employee and S.H.I.E.L.D. is no different. Bringing characters back from the dead is a staple of Marvel comics (*cough* Jean Grey) and S.H.I.E.L.D. has numerous sorcerers on the payroll. The Hand, an order of evil mystical ninjas and longtime adversaries of S.H.I.E.L.D frequently use resurrection to replenish their ranks and have been known to use former superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D agents including Elektra and Northstar. Perhaps S.H.I.E.L.D’s first TV mission will be to recover Coulson’s body from the Hand’s wicked clutches?


Never Died: Most Likely. Nick Fury has shown he is a man of action no matter what he must do, and faking a man’s death to manipulate a group of super-powered narcissists into playing nice is not above him. Sure, we saw Coulson take the pointy end of Loki’s staff to the gut, but that doesn’t mean he died before making it to the top medical facilities of S.H.I.E.L.D. – or perhaps an unsuspecting Life Model Decoy took that “Red Shirt” hit in place of the real Coulson.


Alien Technology: Why strain your brain about the Coulson issue when there’s perfectly good deus ex machina staring you in the face? The Avengers fought alien hordes of The Chitauri over NYC, and the Marvel One-Shot short film “Item 47″ already chronicled S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collection and cataloging of all the Chitauri technology leftover after the battle; who’s to say they didn’t discover tech that could bring Coulson back to the land of the living?

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Joss Whedon SHIELD TV Series SHIELD TV Show Set After Avengers; How Coulson Could Return

Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot starts filming later this month and is expected to air this fall if picked up for a full series.

Sound off, have we missed a way Agent Coulson might return from the grave? Give your own theories or comment on our ideas below. 

Source: Superhero Hype

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  1. My question is if they are bringing him back in the show, is he going to be a big part od the movies still?

    • I hope to god yes.

  2. I think it was pretty clear from the movie that Coulson didn’t die. The evidence to the team that he had died were the bloodied cards from his pocket and, if I remember correctly, there was a specific line in the movie where Colbie Smulders said that the cards were not in Coulson’s pocket when he was ‘killed’, quite clearly indicating that Coulson was most likely in critical condition of some kind, not dead, and that Fury most likely ‘staged’ Coulson’s death in the sense that he indicated to the team that he was dead when in fact he has survived. I doubt I’m the only one who thought this was made pretty clear in the movie. So, why talk of ‘resurrection’ if he’s most likely not dead?

    • Well, Coulson died in the movie. He was dead before the medics arrived, so Coulson and Fury were alone in the cell chamber, and Fury was obviously bummed by his death. So my guess is The Vision. Put Coulson´s brain patterns in an android body and there you go: The Vision. Just like they did with Wonder Man in the comic books. They could add Coulson/Vision to the roster in Avengers 2 and we´ll get what everyone wants: Coulson kicking some serious ass.

      • Or he “died”, all we saw was that his eyes closed which could of been for any number of reasons, plus the medics went right to work on him so chances are high that all Fury was doing was acting, like it said:

        “Nick Fury has shown he is a man of action no matter what he must do, and faking a man’s death to manipulate a group of super-powered narcissists into playing nice is not above him.”

        Besides, there was no funeral scene, if Joss truly killed of a beloved character like Coulson I’m sure there would of been some sort of after-the-fact scene giving him a proper send off along the lines of what he did with Serenity.

        • You might have a point there.

    • This is my thinking as well. If there wasn’t some sort of misdirection, than Agent Hill’s (Smulders) calling Fury out was an awful big red herring! My thinking all along has been that he didn’t die.

  3. I think Coulson is The Vision, they’ll tie it together when we see antman. IMO

  4. My money is on a Life Model Decoy – which was established in a joke that Stark makes early in The Avengers – or Coulson was never dead go begin with.

  5. Like SR said “Never Died” is really the most likely, and though less likely, somehow involving a LMD. is more than possible, if you remember Tony cracked a LMD joke at the very beginning of the movie so the tech probably already exists in their universe. Maybe it’s either the “Red Shirt” decoy theory OR the twist is that Coulson has been a LMD the whole time! guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  6. I think Coulson did get stabbed by Loki but he didn’t die, Maria Hill stating the cards weren’t on Coulson sounded a lot like she was implying he didn’t actually die and that Nick Fury only told them he did to inspire them,

    Yeah he announced to the whole ship but there’s nothing to suggest he might have jumped the gun, realized Coulson was alive still and then figured he’d take advantage of the situation, in the comics he hires the new Red Skull to steal the cosmic cube just to create a situation only he could solve and thus get back into Shield. I wouldn’t put it past a guy like that to fake a death or two.

    • That always sounded to me to be more like “you’re manipulating a good man’s death for your own cause” He went and got the cards and made a big deal about them and the death, because it wasn’t so dramatic as it could have been

      • “I think Coulson did get stabbed by Loki but he didn’t die, Maria Hill stating the cards weren’t on Coulson sounded a lot like she was implying he didn’t actually die and that Nick Fury only told them he did to inspire them”

        What Maria’s was referring to was the bloodstains on the cards. Coulson didn’t have the cards on him when he “died” so Nick Fury grabbed the cards and dabbed Coulson’s blood on them for better effect when showing them to the Avengers.

        • I know, I meant I thought they brought up the cards not being on Coulson when he died as a way of suggesting that Nick Fury may have been lying about something else, such as Coulson dying in the first place.

  7. He’s dead they shoiuld just move on and have done with it… Otherwise they are building themselves up for a huge fall if there reasoning fall flat that he isn’t in fact toast.

  8. That is weak, tens and hundreds died on the Shield wessel, but agent Coulsons death was the one that made the team jell? It may have been a larger drop in the ocean of desperaty, but not the single reason for the team to assemble for good.
    So no point for him come back, unless he’s a zombie cyborg… :D

    • @Oscar:


      Are you channeling Checkov? :)

      • Desperaty? OK, now you’re just making up words, Oscar.

  9. Coulson’s death was a reckless waste of life that practically had no bearing on the film. Since when did superheroes need motivation to save the world from impending doom? One of the best original comicbook movie characters (and best “glue” between the Marvel movies) and you kill him?

    Whatever they do it’s gonna feel like something hastily tacked on, because it is. But who cares, his back and that’s all that matters. We take the plots of these type of movies with a grain of salt anyways. lol.

    • My Thoughts. Exactly.

    • You need to re-watch The Avengers then because that incident came at a low point, just after the Flying SHIELD base was laid siege to (pretty successfully I might add). Everyone was having some measure of doubt so Fury being able to use Coulson’s “death” as both inspiration and to help solidify the team’s resolve (especially Cap’s) was important imho.

  10. cant wait to see how he is brought back

  11. My question is.. Are they bringing him back because they got so much flack from fans and want to try to save some face? or are they doing it because it was always in the plan and want to introduce more from the marvel universe?

    • I think his popularity is why they will bring him back. He was also used to tie together many of the pre-Avengers films so to not have him in the later ones would be tough.

    • They killed him off before they knew they had a SHIELD TV Series. I can see the executive meeting –

      Whedon: “Ah man! We could have used Coulson in the TV Series!”
      Fiege: “Yea, we shouldn’t have killed him off in the movie.”
      Together: “Are you thinking what I am thinking?”

  12. Coulson was a valuable asset to the MCU, it definitely upset me and my friends when we saw him kick the bucket in the Avengers.
    And the film was fantastic.

    I’d love to see him come back in any capacity.
    If they have to justify it as a LMD or Vision, so be it. I can’t wait to see him again,

    The fact that a “suit” amongst superheroes was so highly regarded by fans is a great fact in and of itself.

  13. I could definitely see Whedon work a magic resurrection storyline. He did as much with Buffy – and hey, perhaps this could lead to a musical demon episode of S.H.I.E.L.D..

    Since I saw the movie, I have thought that there was an implicit Fury is lying excuse to it all. It would not surprise me if that is the way they go, and I really do not think it would be that far of a reach really. However they do it, though, I think it will work out; this is coming from Marvel and Whedon, after all. If I am not mistaken(and I may well be as I am not current on the Angel comics) Wesley is or was around in ghost form since his contract at Wolfram & Hart extended beyond death. I just can’t wait for the series to premiere so that we can find out!

  14. ‘Sure, we saw Coulson take the pointy end of Loki’s staff to the gut…’

    You might’ve done, but that scene was cut/shopped for the UK BR release.


    • That had nothing to do with the story and everything to do with the UK’s censorship policies.

  15. Ok so if the never died at all theory worked then why would they have added that dialogue about Coulson in item 47. Wouldnt they have told everyone he’s alive by then?

    • Fury has to keep as much of their trust as possible, especially after that Stark hacking snafu on the helicarrier. Telling them “oh, by-the-way, Coulson’s alive and well’ right after the whole ‘He’s dead, save the world!’ thing (paraphrasing) would probably be a very bad idea.

  16. One thing I learned from religiously watching “24″ is that no one is actually dead until you see a corpse rotting in front of your eyes… and even then.

    I’m thinking it’s most likely that he wasn’t actually dead, just in intensive care. The “left field” option would be the vision route

  17. I don’t want him back (and i liked the character)… his death is what made the team get over themselves and become a team. The emotional punch of his death was awesome, i feel like it would cheapen that moment to resurrect him.

  18. Don’t care how just gimmie my Coulson!

    *fan girls away*

  19. The never died issue would work the best. Maybe the alien technology saved him from a near death. That would be cool

    • hmm! …I see your point, not a bad idea

  20. How about a Coulson from a parrallel universe/alternate timeline? Comic books do love their time-traveling and alternate dimensions… How about being stabbed didn’t kill him, it just caused his consciousness to leave his body and travel through time! Nah, that would be silly, Marvel wouldn’t ever endorse a storyline lik that… Oh wait… :D

  21. Phil Coulson’s twin brother… Phred.

  22. Ohhwowow! I needed to replay Coulson’s last moments in the film and some more scenes after that. And it’s more likely that he never died! I disagree that it would cheapen the film. I mean, it’s already done! We can only hope for a great tv show and an awesome sequel. Also, other choices feels way over the top. Just have faith – it’s Whedon! Hahaha

  23. I’m a bit torn on the subject. I fully agree that while he did actually die, there is nothing that says he couldn’t have been brought back to life, either by good medical techs or alien tech.

    However, having him return as a life decoy would play perfectly into the Ultron story and having Ultron take the life decoy and change him into the Synthoid.

  24. Even before this topic came up, I always thought the whole death scene played rather strangely, and I had a feeling that he didn’t really die..

    As others have pointed out…his eyes closed right as the medics were showing up. He could have just passed out from pain, and not actually been dead..they never showed him flat lining or the medics “calling it”…

    I think he never actually died.

  25. This dude was awesome inthe movie i love Clark Gregg as Agetn Coulson but i have never been a fan of reserections i just find them unnescessary for the story, thats really why i voted Flashbacks but maybe a genius like Whedon can surprise me.

  26. I’d definitely chose (and wanted) that he never died.
    Sure, it might detract some valuable piece from the movie (The Avengers), but hey, I love the character so much, I don’t really mind…
    Plus, it would be awesome having him back in Avengers 2 as well

  27. Lets see

    Super Intelligent Billionaire who made a device to keep piece of shrapnel from piercing his hear.

    Super Intelligent Scientist with really bad anger management issues.

    A Covert Organization with a super cool Helicarrier.

    A Demi-God with powers beyond our mortal realm.

    Nah, no chance no technology could have saved Coulson.

    And for the most part, movies like that, deaths like that…Usally have a funeral…..NO FUNERAL!

    • HEART!

  28. Since Iron Man is where we were introduced to Agent Phil Coulson… Iron Man 3 should be where we see he is alive and well… something like:

    Stark (surpised): Wait… I thought Loki killed you.
    Phil (deadpan): It takes more than a magical Asgardian staff to keep an Agent of SHIELD down.

    • That could work…

    • +1

  29. Or he could be vision…..