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Off My Mind: The Future of Agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Is there still a place for him in future Marvel films?

Ever since Clark Gregg's Agent Phil Coulson made his debut in 2008's Iron Man, he's added quite a bit to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coulson doesn't have any superpowers but has played an important role in the movies. The importance doesn't come from the fact that he's been the glue needed to bring the Avengers together by doing his part in the films prior to The Avengers. He may not have had a role in Captain America: The First Avenger but his enthusiasm towards the Captain in The Avengers more than made up for it.

Coulson became the everyman. He was the fanboy. In some ways, he was us. Coulson's character may have been a tad cynical in the beginning but clearly he wanted to believe in heroes. This is what we discovered as his character gained more screen time. Coulson added humor and heart to the movies. His presence made a superhero fantasy film a tiny bit more believable.

But what's next for Agent Coulson and Clark Gregg? His future has been up in the air with the question of where could his character go next? There will be some spoilers from The Avengers. Hopefully you've had a chance to see it by now as the worldwide box office has passed 1.3 billion dollars.

== TEASER ==

What happened to Agent Coulson in The Avengers was extremely unfortunate but necessary, in some ways. The team needed a reason to regroup and actually become a team. They needed something in order for them to live up to their name. New York City was being attacked and numerous civilian lives were at risk but the members needed that personal touch to give them the drive to get back on their feet and defeat the enemy.

Many of us watching the movie refuse to believe what happened. We all know that death doesn't have much meaning in comic books. Characters die all the time only to come back eventually through some miraculous incident. Couldn't the same apply to the comic book movies? The problem is, it's usually the heroes that are able to make their way back from the land of the dead. The civilian characters aren't usually as fortunate. It would have been cheesy but we could easily see an end scene where somehow, Coulson 'got better' in The Avengers. Despite the reshoot for the final after-the-credits scene, Coulson was no where in sight.

Since his final scene, there has been a bit of an outcry for Clark Gregg to return and one suggestion is by becoming part of the Vision. The Vision is the synthezoid member of the Avengers that had the brain patterns of Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man (who was dead at the time), which gave him his humanity. With all the heart Coulson's character had, who better for a mechanical character to have as the basis of his personality?

Except, Coulson becoming the Vision would just be a bit weird. It turns out even Clark Gregg isn't thrilled with the idea. He voiced his thoughts on the idea in a recent interview.

Vision is cool, but I would hate to be any A.I. life form. If I got to come back, I would need to still be somebody who could wisecrack, because my favorite part of the job was that if anybody was going to tease anybody about their diva superhero outfit or whatever, it would be me.

It seems unlikely that his popular character could just be killed off. As mentioned, his demise played a crucial role. But Marvel has already shown that they value the character.

In recent comics, Agent Coulson has gained a bigger presence in the pages of BATTLE SCARS and SCARLET SPIDER #6.

Agent Coulson is also part of The Ulitmate Spider-Man animated series. With S.H.I.E.L.D. involved with Spider-Man's training, Coulson is acting as the principal at Peter's high school in order to keep an eye on things.

No one ever really stays dead in comics. There are a couple exception but popularity often helps in getting writers to come up with creative ways to bring them back.

Of course there is one way to bring him back that has surely been thrown around. LIFE MODEL DECOY. They do exist in the Cinematic Universe because Tony Stark made a joke about them when trying to avoid a phone call with Coulson. Coulson could return as an LMD or the one that met his demise could have been one. The latter would be a better option as Clark Gregg has stated he doesn't want to return as a "any A.I. life form." It's possible that Coulson or Nick Fury sent on out to try to deal with Loki. The death could have been carried on in order to give the team the inspiration (or kick in the pants) they needed. Would anyone (us viewers) really be surprised if Fury let everyone believe Coulson was dead when it was really a LMD?

Agent Coulson may not be a superpowered character but he's proven to be an important part in the Marvel films. His comments and jokes help to let us know the filmmakers are having fun and not taking it all too seriously. When you try to bring comic book characters to life, there's always going to be that sense of disbelief needed to make the movie work.

With Coulson making light of certain things, it helps keeps us entertained and in the movie. He is still listed as being rumored to be in a Nick Fury movie on imdb. We'll have to keep our fingers crossed that they will find a believable way for his return.

132 Comments Refresh
Posted by longbowhunter

I'm thinking LMD.

Posted by KRYPTON

I'm hoping they do more one shot films with Coulson like they have in the Thor and Captain America Blu-Ray Editions.

Posted by TheWitchingHour

@longbowhunter said:

I'm thinking LMD.


Edited by Dernman

Dead be Dead 
It would take away from the movie and future movies if they brought him back.

Posted by InnerVenom123

Well, considering Tony blows Coulson off by saying he's an LMD when he shows up.... I dunno, foreshadowing?

Posted by Trinity00

He dies in the avengers.

Posted by ARMIV2

@Dernman said:

Dead be Dead It would take away from the movie and future movies if they brought him back.

Yes, though maybe they could do something with him like how Tony has Jarvis?

I dunno, but no convenient robot excuses.

Posted by Ganthetsward20

I love the idea of him being the basis of Vision but if its not in Clark Greggs interest to play that character they should leave him dead. I dont love the LMD thing as it is and to bring it into the movies for Coulson is a clever thing but I always attributed it to Fury and that got aggravating.

Posted by leokearon

He's not dead, Fury just said he was and we all know about Nick and his lies,

Posted by Mucklefluga

When i saw his "death" i instantly thought LMD

Posted by Om1kron

@leokearon said:

He's not dead, Fury just said he was and we all know about Nick and his lies,

Still would like for him to just remain removed from the series so people don't feel stupid that he randomly pops up and is like whats up dog.

Posted by Mega_spidey01

@Dernman said:

Dead be Dead It would take away from the movie and future movies if they brought him back.
Posted by ChrisBuster

Dude is not dead. When Maria Hill comes up to Nick Fury she states the Cap cards were in his locker and he totally evades this statement and states they needed something to avenge and she just just has a look of disbelief on her face. Seems like the logical solution is it was a life model decoy. Also the medical team just happened to be there before a call was sent out, like it was all planed.

Also I don't remember where I read the article but I remember seeing his contract still has him set for more Marvel movies.

He lives.

Posted by Or35ti

I would actually really like him to come back as Vision so long as it is well done.

Posted by Green ankh

When i saw the film i thought his "death" was faked to bring the team togther. Heck it could have been a SHIELD life image thningy,,

Posted by hunter5024

He was a great character, but the idea of bringing someone back just because they are popular or interesting has always been detestable to me. I seriously hope they don't act like he was never dead.

Posted by Lvenger

Hopefully one of these conspiracy theories I keep hearing about comes true as it would be great to see Coulson come back.

Posted by Scarlet_Rogue

I always thought it was just an LMD that died.

Posted by Master_Thief

@longbowhunter said:

I'm thinking LMD.


Posted by Eyz

I'm loving this great fan-theory. Of him becoming Vision, etc.

Though it does make his recent comic book inclusion all the more redundant...

Posted by tamabone

@leokearon said:

He's not dead, Fury just said he was and we all know about Nick and his lies,

I totally agree. We never saw a funeral or even really a dead body.

Posted by laabitres

i hope he comes bck in whichever form

Posted by CrimsonAvenger

There were two post credits scenes in The Avengers? I thought there was only one.

Posted by fodigg

You can't assume LMDs exist just because Stark made a joke about them. It could have just been him being a smartass and as a callout to the fans.

Posted by DDangelico

I love the character and I am not ashamed to admit that I got a bit misty eyed when he died. HOWEVER, I dont think that he should come back as it would lessen the weight of his death. I think that perhaps he could be referenced in the future movies, but I dont think that he should come back. Coulson became a powerful symbol for The Avengers, I think he should stay that way.

Posted by Teerack

His future will probably not be existent considering he's dead.

Posted by Danial79

Tony made an in-joke to being a LMD, so it's entirely possible that they'll go that route. I love Agent Coulson, so personally, I would be perfectly happy if that was the case :)

Posted by thelastword

Clark Gregg has been a pleasure to watch. Why oh why, does Whedon kill all the likable characters? I'm not complaining, for it seems to add to the emotional connection to his films. Anyway, this is Marvel, where dead is not dead.

Posted by AlKusanagi

He never died in the first place. I don't think it was an LMD though. I think he was actually badly injured, but the medical team was at least able to save him and Fury used the opportunity to help achieve his goals.

Edited by The Stegman
@CrimsonAvenger: Yeah, so did I, I left after the first one when you know who showed up.
But apparently there's another one at the end where they  

Posted by Owie

I like the LMD idea.  He was a great character.  It was a lame idea for him be the person they all "avenge"--some of them had barely even met the guy when he died--so I'd like them to just go ahead and bring him back.

Posted by Chaos Burn

funny thing is, Nick Fury never said he was dead (I think)

all he said was that medic team "called it".... wtf does that mean?!

Posted by the_fallen11

I would love him to come back as the Vision...I really like the Vision and would love to see him in an Avengers movie..I also really like Agent Coulson so. That would make me happy to see him come back that way.

Posted by HardEagle

Agent Phil Deathlok

Edited by cyberchop979

Hmmmm.... Let me think about this. Is there a place for Clark Gregg in future Marvel films?

Yes. Yes, there is.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

Do we really want to ENCOURAGE more comic book resurrections? I thought we were trying to move away from all the frivolous 'not really dead' and 'coming back to life.'

I think he could still wisecrack as an A.I., it would just have to say it was a very sophisticated one based on his personality. It WOULD be great to see him just be part of a conversation, then suddenly the team freaks out because he's standing right there, then he calmly reveals he's a hologram or something.

As much as the story potential for 'Fury faked his death' has, I utterly LOATHE that idea. It completely REEKS of a cheap stunt to save a character just because he's popular right now. That was EXACTLY why his death hit so close to home. If Marvel undoes that, I'm swearing off the cinematic universe.

Posted by Sammo21

If they do Ultron/Vision they can have Vision played by Clark Gregg and originally disguised as Coulson to infiltrate SHIELD and the Avengers since they have emotional ties to him. Then we find out he's actually the Vision being used by Ultron.

Posted by Kal'smahboi
@Chaos Burn said:

funny thing is, Nick Fury never said he was dead (I think)

all he said was that medic team "called it".... wtf does that mean?!

It means that they declared him dead and declared his time of death.. Fury could have lied, but according to what he said, Colson died.
Posted by omnomnomtacos

@Trinity00 said:

He dies in the avengers.


But,seriously, I have to agree that I don't think they should bring him back because he is popular. I do like what @ChrisBuster said about the scene where Fury evades the statement about the cards. Hopefully they will make it seem as if he was not dead in the first place instead of bringing him back. Bringing him back feels cheap.

Posted by SneakyBawls

I really believed Fury just told them Coulson died to rally the team. I kept waiting for the scene where he was in a hospital bed as the heroes complained to Fury for lying to them...LOL But it never happened. He has to come back, and agree with Gregg that as the Vision would just be lame.

Posted by notarandomguy

Even Fury's secret got secrets, if he's like any of his comic counterparts, then yes, it was a LMD or at least, that's what I want to believe

Posted by GothamRed

A.I.'s are great wise crackers :(

Posted by feargalr

I'd like to see him come back, he was great.

Posted by ChrisBuster

Here is the article I referenced it is mainly about the Hulk but it mentions that Agent Coulson is signed on for 66 more marvel movies. Pretty sure he's gonna be in a few more. plus this Fury is more akin to The Ultimates Nick Fury (which makes sense seeing as how The Ultimates modeled there Nick Fury after Sam Jackson, and the movies villains were the same big bad from The Ultimates 1) who is shady as fuck.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Honestly, they should just leave him dead.

Posted by lrtaylor02

We never actually saw him with the medical team. We just saw him close his eyes and Nick Fury said the medical team was there or already called (I can't remember the exact words). Strategically nothing else was shown. Case in point from another Whedon product: In the first episode of Firefly Kaylee was shot, in the medical room she closed her eyes, Mal told Simon she was dead and 2 seconds later we found out she was actually alive. I say he's alive :)

Posted by Omega Ray Jay

Its more of an impact for him to remain dead, the whole bringing characters back to life in the comics (depending on the quality of the resurrection) is most of the time met with disdain and to do so in a future movie would devalue that entire strand within the Avengers. I'm a fan of the character to but its just best to leave him be, and I'm not keen on the whole Vision angle either.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

I am still of the mind set that Phil some how survived getting stabbed through the back and Fury just made it out like he was killed to bring the team together.

I am not sure I like the idea of him becoming The Vision.

Posted by AskaniSon295

Marvel should attempt a non-super hero spy thriller in there cinematic universe something like James Bond007/Mission Impossible.

Posted by Brit

he will be the Vision!