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

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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. I would have preferred it if he stayed dead.

    • Pretty sure he’s still considered dead.

      • So true

  2. Hill didnt imply that Coulson was Alive,
    She said the cards were found in his locker, not his pocket.
    They couldnt have been stained with blood.
    He may be alive , or it could flashbacks or LMDS.
    also , it was the ABC President not anybody involved with the pilot .
    He could be wrong.

  3. Bringing Coulson back as an android could be a set-up for creating Vision.

    Then you could bring in the Scarlet Witch and her connection w/ Magneto & the X-Men. All that could then lead to a big crossover involving The House of M.

    me like-ee.

  4. I was wondering if he even died. In the last scene w/Fury on the battleship, there’s a guy walking toward Fury that looks from a distance like he’s Coulson (the way he walks, the type of suit)but is too blurry to see clearly. I thought that was OBVIOUS hinting that Coulson MAY not be dead… Since it’s Whedon, I would hope he spends WAY less time on this and figures out how to get Walsh resurrected for Serenity sequel– I can’t even show my kids Serenity because they couldn’t imagine a world where Walsh is gone. Please help fix that!!!

    • Wash. Not Walsh.

  5. My guess is he never died. Fury just said that he did to get the team motivated.

  6. Item 47 hinted at Coulson being dead. Agent Black says to Agent Sitwell, “I understand Agent Coulson…sorry, force of habit”. Agent Sitwell replies, “We all miss him”. Explain Marvel! The ABC dude could be wrong folks. He’s not a Marvel dude.

    • they could be playing the whole “they secretly want everyone to think he’s dead” angle lol

  7. In a comic book universe… dead isn’t always dead.

  8. he will be the villain, a cloned zombie bringing doom to S.H.I.E.L.D. And fingers crossed they will finally include Xena and Hercules, but Xena especially. I was greatly disappointed they were left out of the Thor sequel.

    • Xena is not a Marvel character. Nor is the Kevin Sorbo Hercules. That said, I would be just as geeked if Sorbo and/or Lucy Lawless came on as different characters in the series as guest stars.

  9. My money is that he never died. In fact, when I watched the movie, and Fury gave the whole line about them needing the extra motivation, I fully expected Coulson to still be alive, but sadly, he was just talking about the cards. (Or was he? :))

    Life model decoy could definitely work as well, and I wouldn’t put it past Whedon. Also, maybe the gun that he fired had some weird side-effect on the person using it (cloning, imperviousness to stab wounds, etc.)

  10. All this sort of hinges on the notion that he was replaced beforehand for some reason and could be dispatched without affecting the original. If the mission was that critical in The Avengers why use a duplicate rather then the original who was so well thought of? Its asking for trouble trying to bring him back from the dead narrative wise… JR in Dallas coming back never worked and made the whole series seem even sillier after wards..

  11. Marvel Comics broke their very own long standing rule of “Bucky stays dead”. If that rule can be broken,then that gives open permission to bring any character back to life,and it becomes irrelevant on how they bring him back.

    • Bucky was never dead!!! Cap fans knew this..

  12. Y’know, if Black Widow and Hawkeye, two non-superpowered heroes can do all the crazy stuff they could do in the battle against the Chitari (esp. BW) then, yes, Coulson could have given himself a booster shot.

    But I know of another possibility.

    Odin and/or Asgardian technology, as a token of goodwill for defending Thor and standing up to Loki. One thing I always wondered is what SHIELD did with the scraps of The Destroyer…

    • I like this idea very much (Asgardian tech). It makes a lot of sense, and provides a nice tie-in for the movie universe.

      One question that may need to be answered – if Coulson is alive/cloned/LMDd/whatever, and since the show is taking place after the movie, do the Avengers know he’s actually alive? Or has he been shuffled off to some other city so they will have no clue? That could also be a tie in for Avengers 2…

  13. one point- in item 47 they said “we all miss him” not “he’s dead” maybe he was transferred, or maybe he took time off to recover… perhaps in IM3 or the pilot we see him as dealing with PTSD or something and only a bad situation gets him back in the game

  14. he could be the vision

  15. Maybe the “resurrected” Coulson is actually a Skrull… er, I mean, a Chitauri spy.

  16. After watching the Avengers, I read onine somewhere some speculation that Coulson would become the Vision. Even though the Vision is supposed to be based off of Simon Williams, there were a bunch of possible allusions to the Vision throughout the movie when talking about Coulson

  17. I think they can bring Agent Carlson back by having Tony Stark provide the technology that he used to save himself to save Carlson, there was a scene in the Avengers when Stark gets up and leaves the meeting he goes somewhere I think he went to see what he could do to help since he and Pepper both had become quite fond of Carlson

  18. i love agent coulson. but there are rules that you just can’t break. mortality os one of them.

    i mean you can try to resurrect him. but it’s not the same coulsin. and even if it is the same coulson it looks like a cheat.

    heroes live and die. if they wanted him alive they shouldn’t have killed him off in the first place. i know the reason behind them doing it. but you shouldn’t’ do it unless you already had a replacement or it’s the last in the trilogy.

  19. please… don’t bring back coulson.

    the character was good while he lasted. but if comics books themselves have taught us anything, it is that these death/resurrection/”resurrection” storylines are stupid.

    please MCU, you’re on a roll. don’t screw it up.

    • *death and resurrection/”resurrection”

  20. FLASHBACKS or don’t bother.

    Cool we getting a Marvel Live Action show, about time, all we’ve had for 15 years is BLADE and MUTANT X, I mean c’mon, Marvel just never cared. DC/WB well ahead!

    Yes, Smallville from season 8 to 10 did suck. ARROW’s great though!

  21. I am watching the Avengers right now. As Coulson calls Stark at the beginning Tony tries to ignore the call by saying ‘This is the life model decoy of Tony Stark’.

    I call that a precedent.

  22. I believe they should start out with him being rushed to a underground SHIELD medical site were they use alien tech and the latest shieldtech and bring him back to life

  23. I believe they should start out with him being rushed to a underground SHIELD medical site were they use alien tech and the latest shield tech and bring him back to life

  24. The ” He never died…” line of thought has merit,

    But I’m going to go with a VISION set-up.

    Its a perfect tie-in and he already has connections with the other characters.

  25. I believe the LMD would be acceptable because it’s a very SHIELD thing to do. I’ve read comics since 1970ish and over the years have seen this device used by SHIELD many, many times so, at least to the avid comic book reader, it wouldn’t be unheard of.

  26. “Never dead,” but here’s a new idea: Why does Coulson have to be human?

    Sure, that’s his role in SHIELD, but it’s not like this would be the first superhero to disguise himself with mild manners and a bland manner.

    Phil Coulson is a new character in the Marvel universe, and all possibilities are open.

    I vote for taking Thor’s “son of Coul” totally over the top. Since “Mac Cumhaill” can mean “son of Coul,” let’s have Phil’s alter ego be Finn MacCool, the English version of that legendary Irish hunter-warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill. Maybe he owes service to Nick Fury or something.

    Anyway, we saw Loki stab Thor and not kill him. The same thing could happen with Phil “Finn MacCool” Coulson.

    Remember that little short, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mjolnir” when we saw Agent Coulson bust some moves in a gas mart? He stayed in his Coulson character throughout that, but then, he was on a mission. Maybe that’s the sort of stuff a superhero MacCool would do.

    Anything – I’m just glad Phil Coulson is coming back. Now . . . who’s going to be the cellist in Portland?

  27. I think coulson flat lining and being resuscitated. In avengers would be the best way to bring him back. It would make the avengers trust fury even less and lead to them completely seperating themselves from shield

  28. I think coulson flat lining and being resuscitated. In avengers would be the best way to bring him back. It would make the avengers trust fury even less and lead to them completely seperating themselves from shield.

  29. I think coulson flat lining and being resuscitated. In avengers would be the best way to bring him back. It would make the avengers trust fury even less and lead to them completely seperating themselves from fury altogether