Will Captain Marvel Acknowledge Agents of SHIELD?
Obviously, Captain Marvel and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. take place two decades apart, so the film won't reference any events that have occurred during the five season run of the TV show when it hits theaters next spring. However, Captain Marvel is a prequel and will presumably lay the groundwork for what we know about the modern MCU timeline. As such, it has the potential to reference something we already know about Coulson's past, like his love of Captain America or his flying red Chevrolet Corvette, Lola.
Lola (an acronym for Levitating Over Land Automobile) was introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 as Coulson's personal car. It was revealed that he inherited the car from his father after the two had spent much of Phil's early life tinkering on it. However, Lola is also a piece of the MCU that was introduced - and has so far only been featured - on the TV side. That said, along with five seasons-worth of continuity, it remains to be seen whether Captain Marvel will actually acknowledge anything established on the TV series.
As many Marvel fans know, there is a disconnect between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV. While the television side, overseen by Jeph Loeb, often references and reacts to the movies, the films have never done the same. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has explained this often comes down to the extremely different production schedules of TV and movies, but fans just see a disconnect between the two sides of the MCU. It's why so many fans call for the movies to acknowledge Coulson's resurrection on the big screen - because it stretches their suspension of disbelief that the heroes wouldn't find out their friend had been brought back to life.
Now, with Gregg returning to the Marvel movies as a younger version of Coulson in Captain Marvel, the films have a chance to at least acknowledge some aspect of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Whether that's Lola, which seems like the easiest connection, or something else, fans would no doubt appreciate the movie attempting to connect the two sides of the MCU - without causing any issues in continuity, of course. Still, given how separate Marvel Studios and Marvel TV are behind the scenes, it remains to be seen if Captain Marvel will actually reference anything established in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Will Coulson Return in the Modern Marvel Movies?
Since Captain Marvel marks Gregg's first return as Coulson in the Marvel films since the character died in The Avengers, it seemingly opens the door to the possibility of him appearing in a modern-set film. Of course, it's unclear how exactly Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aligns with the MCU Phase 3 timeline, which fans have been puzzling over since Spider-Man: Homecoming debuted. But with Coulson currently alive on television, he could potentially appear in an upcoming Marvel movie - that is, of course, if he doesn't die again first.
It's not yet known whether Coulson will survive season 5. Prior to the 100th episode, Loeb said a Coulson and Avengers reunion would be resolved in a "surprising way." But, what if that surprising way is Coulson dying on TV before he can reunite with the Avengers? That would make it a moot point whether the superheroes ever found out he'd been resurrected, because he'd be dead - again. Of course, that's under the assumption the agents fail to find a way to save Coulson and he dies before season 5 wraps up. While it's likely this particular storyline will conclude in season 5, it may resolve in a different way, with Coulson living.
If that's the case, he could potentially return in Avengers 4 or in Phase 4. We already know Avengers 4 will deal with time travel, and revisit the time period of The Avengers. Since Coulson was still alive or had just died at that time, he could return in this storyline - perhaps even be resurrected for good. Of course, any change to the timeline in Avengers 4 will have far-reaching effects on the rest of the MCU. For instance, if Coulson never died in The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be very different. That said, with the details of Avengers 4 and beyond Phase 3 still very much unknown at this point, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Coulson and the rest of our favorite heroes.
Still, Coulson returning for Captain Marvel should offer fans some hope insofar as very few MCU movie characters have returned to the film side after crossing over to TV. While his appearance in the upcoming Marvel movie may be the result of the studio still only sticking to the film continuity, it's still a largely unprecedented crossover. It doesn't necessarily indicate Marvel Studios will acknowledge the continuity of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and, most likely, the movie won't. But hopefully it's a step toward a film and TV universe where, truly, "it's all connected."
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018