If you still haven't seen The Avengers yet—you know, the third highest grossing motion picture of all time that took the world by storm this past summer—consider this your one and only SPOILER ALERT before reading any further.
Despite his character being killed off in The Avengers, Clark Gregg will be reprising his role as Agent Phil Coulson in Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. television series that was greenlit by ABC in late August. S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.
During a panel presentation about Marvel Studios' television plans at the New York Comic Con over the weekend, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb took the stage to discuss the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series and introduced Gregg, who will voice Principal Coulson in the new cartoon. After a tribute video featuring Agent Coulson's memorable moments from Marvel films such as Iron Man and Thor, including his heroic death scene from The Avengers, the character was saluted with the statement, "We remember his legacy. Always," adding, "Rest in Peace, Agent Phil Coulson 1969 - 2012."
Following the special trailer, Avengers director Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige appeared on-screen and made the surprise announcement that Gregg would be returning as Agent Coulson in the upcoming live-action S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Promising that they weren't referring to flashback scenes, Whedon revealed that Gregg's Coulson would be "headlining the S.H.I.E.L.D. show and always was," while Feige exclaimed, "There was never going to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. show without Agent Phil Coulson!"
The news also seemed to shock Gregg, who was reportedly in tears after the tribute video and is overjoyed to be back for the new ABC series, which Whedon will co-write with his brother Jed and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog).
While some reports indicate that Agent Coulson will be "resurrected" in the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot episode, it wasn't explained if that should be taken literally. Since the series will apparently be light on superhero activity and also aims to appeal to viewers who aren't familiar with Marvel's cinematic universe, I am making an educated guess that the show will serve as a prequel to the films. That would provide an interesting viewpoint and allow the audience to jump on-board without requiring a vast knowledge of the events in the movies.
Are you excited about the prospects of a S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series with Agent Coulson at the helm?