When fan-favorite supporting character Agent Phil Coulson stood up to the villainous Loki in The Avengers, no one saw the memorable confrontation ending the way it did. Thanks to Joss Whedon, Coulson didn't make it out alive but his sacrifice motivated Earth's Mightiest into joining together as The Avengers and saving New York from an alien invasion.
For months after The Avengers broke box office records around the world, the most diehard of Marvel fans started a "Coulson lives" campaign - one that convinced Marvel and Joss Whedon to not only bring actor Clark Gregg back to continue playing the role, but to lead his own show titled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Of all the stories Whedon could have selected to launch a live-action Marvel series on ABC, we knew from the beginning that one centering on covert S.H.I.E.L.D. organization made the most sense. It not only allows for new, original stories to be told while not being beholden to specific Marvel Comics stories, but it can do so without interfering with the Marvel films. It shares the same universe as the films and can take advantage of crossover opportunities while also serving as a platform to launch potential spinoff programs. It's the beginning of something larger and the Whedon name and Marvel brand made it obvious from the beginning that ABC would pick up the pilot for a season order, and they did. We don't yet know how many episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air, beginning this fall, but the marketing campaign begins today.
During the season 2 finale of Once Upon a Time, ABC aired the first exciting TV spot for the Marvel TV show [watch up top]- the first program developed by Marvel Studios and the first series that shares the same space as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It takes place after The Avengers, and stars Clark Gregg returning from the "dead" as Phil Coulson, with a cast including Ming-Na Wen (ER) as Agent Melinda May, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln) as Agent Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet (Nashville) as Skye.
The production values are high for the pilot, reminiscent of the Marvel One-Shots featured on the home video releases of Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor and The Avengers. We've selected some stills from the teaser, featuring shots reused from The Avengers, along with some revealing imagery of super-powered people, including someone who can explode. Also note the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the cargo plane - perhaps a mobile base for Coulson's team?
The answer to how Coulson returns for the post-Avengers TV show will be answered in the pilot and Clark Gregg told us there's definitely an element of deception at play while Marvel high-ups including Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon hinted that it's a certainty that Coulson will eventually make a return in the films as well.
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We were also told that SHIELD's absence in Iron Man 3 - one of the criticisms from fans - will be explained in the other Phase Two movies, which most refers to the SHIELD-focused Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If that's the case, the stories of SHIELD in between The Avengers 1 & 2, along with Captain America 2 may spillover or have an impact on the show. How Whedon - the overseer of Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - accomplishes this remains to be seen.
If you're interested and want for information on Agents of SHIELD and the secret missions they're tasked with, head to the official site:
Or this viral site:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres this fall on ABC. On the film side, Iron Man 3 is in theaters worldwide, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes if you're happy Coulson is alive!