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January 11 2013

ABC president confirms S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place after The Avengers. More details about the pilot and how the show will relate to the Marvel movies.

"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."

Does this mean Coulson's alive???
Yep!

I removed the spoiler tag from this post since the Coulson news has been around and this is all pretty general information about the series.
I remember that post but I still wasn't sure if it meant he was actually alive or something else, e.g., appearing in flashbacks. Maybe I missed something.
Oh, yeah, we didn't know at the time if he was alive or not. I think something or other that was said in the meantime suggested he is? I always assumed he was since he was confirmed as a character, because I enjoy using my jump-to-conclusions mat.
Zombie Coulson?
Maybe he is a meat puppet, like (David) Fury's character was on "Smile Time".
Or maybe it is Coulson's animated head in a jar, like the Kree Supreme Intelligence.
Maybe he was never human to begin with.
Maybe his super power is being a fixed point in space and time. This could get angsty.
My money's on him being an ECOH.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2013-01-12 00:22 ]
I hope they give a GOOD reason why Coulson isn't dead cause otherwise I'm going to feel weird re-watching The Avengers' 3rd act.
I'd prefer a half-assed bad reason myself. :) Of course, I never for a second thought Coulson was actually dead after the trading cards exchange between Fury and Hill. I really don't think much overt explanation is needed. Seems obvious that Fury was only manipulating the team.

And no, that cheapens nothing for me and doesn't affect my enjoyment of the film at all. The only people who need to think Coulson is dead is the Avengers. The audience doesn't need to think it.



ETA: more stuff as I thought of it

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2013-01-12 00:49 ]
I kind of hope that Coulson wasn't in on the deception and we get a reference to him being pissed off that Fury ruined his vintage trading cards.
To be fair having watched The Avengers again recently, they don't actually show him die. Not properly. He's more slumped and tired than anyway. Joss pretty quickly cuts to Fury's reaction which could be retrospectively interpreted in a range of ways.

In addition if he lied about the Captain America cards and Phase Two having Coulson hidden in a secret treatment room somewhere in Bali but officially dead isn't entirely an outside possibility. Even his replacement (as per Item 47) wouldn't need to know.

Of course the coolest way of explaining this in the series and films is never to explain it, apart from perhaps Stark taking the piss out of Fury:
"Of course you pretended Phil was dead in order for us to become a team so ..."
"Worked didn't it?"
"You could have just asked..."
Ha, that'd be great. That sort of character-based deception is actually more interesting than some cline/hologram/robot.

ETA: I mean Clone. I don't think Clark Gregg could pull off Patsy Cline.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-01-12 00:54 ]
I kind of hope that Coulson wasn't in on the deception and we get a reference to him being pissed off that Fury ruined his vintage trading cards.

Yes, this would be great.
Doesn't seem like Coulson really could be in on it--I think he was too injured to be coming up with teambuilding ruses.
I believe whole-heartedly that the "he wasn't actually dead" explanation is absurdly weak in that it cheapens the emotional resonance of the death in the first place.

That said, this exchange in Avengers 2 would be worth the ticket price

Tony: Phil! You were... (insert RDJ improve)
Phil: Life Model Decoy. You should really look into getting one, they're a life saver.
(begins to walk away)
Phil: And Mr. Stark, it's 'Agent Coulson'

(or somesuch, written better by Joss)

EDIT: In fact, I'd almost like it better if it was Coulson's idea and Fury didn't even know about it. Of course this would undermine Fury so much it wouldn't work. But it'd be cool to go so far as to have the pilot open with Coulson admiring his (now signed) cards. Someone points out they should all have blood on them. Coulson explains, "Oh those were reprints, I'd never leave the originals laying around outside of UV-protected acid-free sleeves."

[ edited by bobw1o on 2013-01-12 02:04 ]
Of course the coolest way of explaining this in the series and films is never to explain it, apart from perhaps Stark taking the piss out of Fury:
"Of course you pretended Phil was dead in order for us to become a team so ..."
"Worked didn't it?"
"You could have just asked..."

From the storytelling prospective, this would not be the best way of dealing with it.

First, I can't see The Avengers (who already don't trust Fury) -- or anyone with a healthy dose of self-respect -- to be quite so ok with being manipulated, even for a great cause. So, this kind of reaction would not be true to the characters.

Second, a good story is impossible without a good conflict -- and a storyteller needs to grab every opportunity for a conflict and use it to the max. The sky is the limit when we have a bunch of superheroes furious (pun not intended) with the agency that is trying to control them. You can push the story in a multitude of interesting directions. If that conflict is glossed over, then all that potential is totally wasted.

[ edited by Effulgent on 2013-01-12 02:36 ]
I don't think "a storyteller needs to grab every opportunity for a conflict" at all. In fact, that very premise suggests that the best thing to do is to surprise people with a sudden lack of conflict over one issue or another.
I've assumed Fury was lying ever since Coulson was announced. It just makes so much sense. Fury's quite willing to lie, and this was a lie the Avengers were a hopeless mess without. And to be fair none of the Avengers really knew Coulson or gave him much genuine interest. With the exception of Pepper, the main characters were too caught up in their own stuff. The quick pivot to outrage was always a little bit hollow. But powerful psychology all the same.
I've been assuming Coulson survived since the first time I watched the movie. His death being used by Fury to bring everyone together, but last being seen with medics all around him, and it being pointed out in no uncertain terms that Fury lies a lot, made it a pretty sure thing in my mind.
I disagree that Fury's lying makes sense, but I concede that all the speculation about it is fair game. Where I'll outright disagree is the assertion that the Avengers didn't really know or have interest in Coulson.

He had one-on ones with Tony (snarky to all, Tony offered to take Phil to Portland for his cellist), Thor (who talked to Phil like family, and appreciated Phil's attention to Jane), Black Widow (whose rapport with him shows a long standing and close working relationship) and Cap (who learns from Phil that there is a place still in this world for someone like him. Phil, having learned how to be who he is from his role model, Cap).

Hawkey and Banner don't have one-on-ones with him, and neither are aware of his "death" when it happens, but both have other motivations for joining the fight (Banner's presented more subtly), and it's fair to assume Hawkeye was told beforehand and had a working relationship with Phil as well.

So no, not hollow :-P

EDIT: cause I missed a w and I always put who's when I mean whose

[ edited by bobw1o on 2013-01-12 03:48 ]
Coulson's death, and the events that concluded the Avengers movie, were all happening in a pretty tight time frame.... So personally I wouldn't feel that it was a cheat if it turned out that Coulson could have been revived with some kind of extreme medical procedure (not quite RoboCop, more like 6 Million Dollar Man) which (maybe) even Fury wasn't aware of (since he was busy shooting his own guys out of the sky to keep NYC from being nuked). Naturally I do want Coulson to retain enough humanity to be really pissed off at Fury for wrecking his vintage Captain America cards, but I would also enjoy his gaining some cool super powers! LOL

Of course I had always wanted zombie Wesley to be risen from the dead by his necromancer Dad... and all I ever got was a ghost. *sigh*

There are a lot of ways to do this, and expect Joss to come up with something really awesome and emotionally satisfying. I am totally on board for this show!
There are a lot of ways to do this, and expect Joss to come up with something really awesome and emotionally satisfying.

This.

(And I do hope we'll get to see the Cellist!)
Wasn't there a rumor floating around some time ago about Coulson being Vision in this continuity?
Maybe Tony Stark came up with an artificial heart for Coulson, saving his life, but also giving him special (non-Iron Man) abilities. Or at least keeping him alive as long as it's not tampered with.

ETA: embers is thinking along the same lines. :)

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-01-12 21:17 ]
Maybe Tony Stark came up with an artificial heart for Coulson, saving his life, but also giving him special (non-Iron Man) abilities. Or at least keeping him alive as long as it's not tampered with.

No complaints here. After all - it worked for Captain Picard all those years ago in the future.
The last we see of Coulson is paramedics rushing to him (in slow motion). Fury could have been told that he was dead, and *not* told he was resuscitated, if one of the paramedics was a Council flunky.

I'm wondering if the SHIELD series will be given a little more leeway, since it is part of the Marvel ecosystem. Even if it doesn't have strong numbers out of the gate, it may add to the movies and other properties.

(I really want to see AIM. Besides the opportunity to have a James Bond-style shoot-out between spy armies, I want the characters to see MODOK and say, "what the hell is that?")
All of these comments make me smile, and make me realize I'm not the only Whedonite that has seen Avengers a million times! :D
I like all those story-telling possibilities you figured out above. 8-)
You know, we all know Whedon. I just don't see Coulson coming back squeaky clean get out of jail free. Either A (my guess) is we're dealing with flashbacks, let's say of Coulson grooming a protege who turns out to be the leader of this group in the present time (sort of Dexter's dad flashbacks only more Whedony), or if he IS alive? I don't know, The Vision. I've been letting the Vision flag fly ever since Coulson's apparent demise. He'd make the perfect Vision.

You know it could end up being a little bit of both. Coulson prominently showing up in flashbacks showing his connection to this team, and dealing with the fallout of his death from these people being friends and all, and then that'll make most people think "oh yeah, that's why he's in the credits, cuz flashbacks", of course this would be a classic Whedon setup to bring in Coulson-But-Not Vision. Cue the angst!!

Ooh, either A we'd have a Robocop scenario where this dude's still Coulson somewhere inside but also a robot, or B we could have an Illyria situation on our hands again. Basically Coulson signed papers to donate his body to SHIELD research in the event of his death and they use it to make a Coulson-bot Vision, kinda creeping out all his old friends. I'm going with this. This is my official guess!
Rewatching the scene (and subsequent bit with the cards) I don't think he was ever dead. I think Fury did what he thought he needed to do to bring the team together.

Plus, when I told Clark Gregg at TIFF that I hoped he wasn't really dead, he said, "So do I." So - no denial. ;)
I'm wondering if we'll get a scene with one of the agents giving the Whedon version of the Monty Python "Parrot Sketch", just before the re-introduction of Coulson.

More important than how he gets back, is what happens next. The two times that Buffy kicked the bucket, she had serious short term trauma. I expect Agent Phil to have to deal with that in Season 1.

A character arc that I liked was back when Shooter brought back Wonder Man in the comic book. For all intents and purposes, he came back from the dead, and was learning how to be a superhero. In a fight with Ultron, it occurs to him that he could die again, so for the next dozen issues we see one of the most invulnerable heros being deathly afraid of combat.

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