This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"They swear there was a memo."
11975 members | you are not logged in | 05 June 2020


May 09 2012

(SPOILER) Joss discusses a major plot point of The Avengers. Whedon discusses why he was compelled to write a pivotal scene in the Avengers film the way it was written. Link is very spoiler-heavy for those who have yet to see Avengers.

Especially in a movie as fun and awesome as The Avengers, there needed to be real stakes and real losses. The threat isn't really much of a threat if it can't hit us where we live.
For the record, we never saw which means .
I'm pretty sure we did see it?

I thought that moment was very well executed. The way he was totally about to say "...avenge"...beautiful. And very much necessary. And if he hadn't had his humanity established beforehand, it wouldn't have had the same impact.
People need to lay off Joss about that whole thing. He dares to make things matter, and people complain about it. There may have been a couple of less-than-impactful occurrences in BtVS Season 8, but I'm pretty sure he's done it to way more bad guys than good guys, so ultimately it's a moot point. In war, there is always loss, even if you win.
What would Joss have done if he didn't agree it was the right thing to do?
Killed somebody else. ;-)
I reckon he's dead, sad as that makes me.

It's just that "dead" in a superhero universe means something different than "dead" in ours.
I totally thought it was Joss' idea.
Definitely the sucking chest wound was Joss' idea, even if the death itself wasn't.... But frankly I didn't think it worked as a reason to motivate the Avengers. I felt that each of the Avengers was facing their own heroic crisis: questioning if they really were a hero, and each was individually coming up with their own 'yes'. I never felt that that Phil's death was that pivotally inspirational.
I disagree. His death made Stark go from questioning SHIELD to deciding to stop Loki and work as a team at all costs, as well as brought him and Cap together instead of fighting. I'm sure, off screen, Coulson's death had a deep effect on Black Widow and Hawkeye as well, but Stark and Coulson were close (earlier in the movie he offered Coulson his private jet so Phil could visit his girlfriend.)
Can't we discuss the plot point in this thread without spoiler text since it's a spoiler thread for that plot point? ;-)

Phil's death worked on the two people it need to work on: Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. It motivated the leader to stand up and the rebel to play for the team.

[ edited by Emmie on 2012-05-10 03:41 ]
It was the Marvel exec's idea but if JW hadn't thought it necessary, I think he would've fought them on it.

Ex. the studio wanted Black Widow out of the line-up, but Joss convinced them the movie needed her. He said the movie would play like a "gay cruise" otherwise.

And I'm not convinced he's dead. I think Fury is that much of a manipulative bastard, which would just be even more awesome.
I'm pretty sure Joss has said somewhere that Coulson isn't actually dead. That's also the idea I had once I heard Fury expain the thing about Coulson's Cap cards. Doubt we've seen the last of him.

That said, they really did need that moment in the film. At that point, it felt like 'shit got real'.
I figured that there'd be a big death - not because it's a Joss production, but because, as the article suggests, you can't have a war movie where everyone survives.

I was tossing up whether it'd be Coulson or Maria Hill, but Maria wasn't given enough development to warrant it. Perhaps in the sequel...
I may belive him because I'm not 100% sure he is dead.

Probably Joss would have chopped his head off so we were sure he wouldn't come back.
I liked his death, and I think it works, but I... wasn't overly in-love with the idea of this death being drastically more important than everyone else's. Didn't loads of other just literally just die on the HeliCarrier?
The other helicarrier casualties were all just named Agent, but he was Phil!
I know KS was joking, and no one death is more important than any other, but those deaths were faceless. Phil's death put a face on the loss.
As I said in another thread, Coulson is in the Ultimate Spiderman cartoon and has been introduced as a character in the Marvel comics. I think Joss has deliberately fudged Coulson's death so that another movie could bring the character back if needs be.
Oh thank you Simon, I missed that (I did try to get back and read threads I missed before I saw Avengers, but I guess there were still things I missed). That is good to know, because I was assuming that Joss had killed Phil, but it is just as logical that Fury is using Phil to manipulate the Avengers!
Because nothing has been written otherwise, it's slightly pointless to speculate if he's dead or not. It's clearly written with enough ambiguity that he might not be dead, but that's up to later writers to decide what to do with. He's schrodinger's agent Coulson. He's simultaneously dead and alive until observed.
I know that they signed Gregg Clark to a 66 movie deal so they can definitely bring him back and I can't help but think bringing him back could work and not cheapen the impact his death had just because of what it would add to the Nick Fury character that he would be willing to lie and manipulate his team like that for what he see as the greater good and it would keep tension in the team for the Avengers 2.
I'm not sure where to ask this right now, but I'll give it a try on this thread, since there is no general Avengers-discussing thread on the main page anymore.

The end credits scene, the second one, is it only shown in the US? Or do they show it in any other countries? My boyfriend's going to see the film in Dubai today and if it's shown there I'd like to advise him to stay until the end of all credits (although I do think only the US gets to see it?)
I think the US only gets to see it.
Alright thanks!
Its not on the movie where it opened before USA, but i dont know if it will be on other countries like Japan that open later. I dont think its meant to be an US exclusive or, as others have said, some kind of reward for those who had to wait one more week to see it; i believe its just that they came up with an idea too late to introduce in the foreign market, wich opened earlier and probab˝y needed copies to dub quite early, but im just speculating. I dont know if the copies that went later in other countries they got time to let it in.
Hmmm I think it opened there at the same time as in the US.. I just told him he might want to sit through all credits, now it's up to him :)
To be honest, I wouldn't have minded waiting another week if that had meant I would get to see that scene too :(
I'm going to be the callous robot here and admit that by the time I saw The Avengers I had forgotten who Coulson was. My reaction was essentially "Oh dear that nice man died. Loki's really mean."
When I saw it I thought he was definitely, without-a-doubt, D-E-A-D. But this is a comic book movie, so who knows...
I think he's dead. It would be cheating to show him go glassy-eyed and stop talking mid sentence (unambiguous movie lingo for "this guy just died") only to have him turn up alive later. How would they explain that? "Oh, he just passed out with his eyes open"?

Also, as much as I love Phil, I don't think he's a significant enough character to bring back. He's not really necessary for anything and his return wouldn't have the kind of dramatic impact that you'd normally expect from a ressurection (Compare, e.g., Gandalf, Colossus, Mance Rayder).

That said, I've been wrong before. Sometimes often and badly.
They better not undo it! I HATE that. It undoes the significance of the death in the first place. I loved Spike being on Angel's fifth season, but the Buffy series finale was never the same once I knew he was gonna be resurrected.
Well, as a character who mainly acts as Fury's go-between, they already have his replacement in Maria Hill. So no, they really don't have a need to bring him back. I'll miss Clark Gregg in the role, but not having him there won't diminish future Avengers related films.
Turning Phil Coulson into RoboAgent would definitely be motivating in getting Tony and others to reject SHIELD! And I'm always in favor or robots (or zombies, those are good too).
I think they left themselves a small amount of wiggle room in that we don't actually see him laying motionless with his eyes open, which is the most unambiguous of all movie shorthands for "this person is really and truly dead." We also don't actually see a medical person "call him" so it's possible Fury is fibbing to get the right reaction.

Also, check out Clark Gregg's amusing non-reaction to the news of his own death in this at one time super-spoilery interview
"How would they explain that?" Well the medics had just got there, maybe they could have done something.

Usually I hate bringing someone back and cheapening the death, but if it added to Fury's manipulatableness, I could get behind that. Well that and if it's reasonable to think that they might not have died.
I saw no ambiguity in the death. Eyes open and glassy, stops talking mid-sentence, motionless, and the camera lingers for a second on him like that. I can't see any wiggle room there.

I took Fury's line about the medics to mean, "Yeah, they're already here, it doesn't matter cause he's dead." His tone of voice said it even more than the line. It's hard to describe in text.

(Unlike Bucky in Captain America-- falling off camera, even off a cliff, is not enough to pronounce death in the world of movies and especially comic books. Plus we already know that he came back in the comic books.)
One more thought: if the cards were in Coulson's locker, where did the blood come from?? Did Fury find a bleeding person and wipe them on him?

(Actually, I wouldn't put it past him.)
Ha! Nice try, but at this stage is anyone going to believe that it wasn't Joss who killed that nice Agent Coulson?

Joss is going to be saddled with the death unless they manage to bring him back in a later movie, either as the mind-template for The Vision or 'cos it was a Fury fake-out.
There is plenty of wiggle room, as the scene cuts away (in slow motion) just as the paramedics arrived. It could be as easy as one jolt from the paddles brought him back. (Or if it is Tony Stark, just play a Hulk roar really loud in his ear.)

And I mentioned in one of the other threads, I know someone who could fall asleep with his eyes halfway open, which was creepy even though we could see him breathing. So "glassy eyes" is not definitive.

Not saying he is alive, but he can be, if it serves the writer's purpose.
The red on the cards looked too bright to me. Frankly, it looked like tempera paint, rather than human blood, especially the shot from under the table as Fury throws the cards down. (and yes, I do see human blood regularly in my line of work.)

ETA: Oh, and defibrillation only works in trauma cases in FPS video games.

[ edited by jclemens on 2012-05-10 20:32 ]
Driving home from the movie, my sis and I were sure it was all Nick Fury doing some psychological push on the Avengers to make them all pull together.
Seeing that this wasn't the case, I get it. It totally worked. Dammit.
Well he doesn't have to be fully alive or dead. They could use all that wonderfully advanced technology to keep him alive. Iron Man has his heart thingy so why not some bionics for Coulson?

There is speculation that he might return as Vision in future films:
I think his contract calls for 3 more films.
It was Marvel that told Joss "this is what we are going to do" with Coulson, and Joss didn't say die he said pay "some toll".
He was dating a cellist. Fellow Avenger Scarlett Witch apparently played the cello and was married to Vision which gives us another female character.

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home