NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Marvel's The Avengers SPOILERS.
With appearances in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers, Clark Gregg's S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson is a connective thread of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, becoming a fan-favorite character though his calm yet commanding dealings with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. So, it came as a shock when Agent Coulson died dfending his teammates and the world in director Joss Whedon's The Avengers.
However, there's an adage in comics that dead only means dead when it comes to Uncle Ben, so maybe there's a little wiggle room.
Ideas have been circulating like crazy, from Gregg returning as a Life Model Decoy (a perfect duplicate robot, if you're unfamiliar with S.H.I.E.L.D. parlance) or possibly as the basis for the android The Vision. In the comics, the synthetic hero has been modeled on the brain waves of various characters. It's not that far of a stretch to hear Phil Coulson's voice with just the faintest hint of metal in it, is it?
Speaking with Ain't It Cool News about some of the theories, Gregg addressed his character's death admitting that fans know as much about Coulson's future as he does.
"I have no idea. I love all of those theories," he said. "To me I just enjoy it so much that these guys have a Tumblr thing where they’ve got all of these pictures of people like writing “#CoulsonLives, 'Coulson Lives' in sand … someone painted it on a bridge, another person arranged library books. I just love all of that stuff, but you know I think I really am trying to kind of … And I never know what Marvel is going to do, but I have to kind of feel like I’m trying to do my own business with 'I probably won’t get to play this guy again.' I love it, who knows? Who knows what the fans can make happen, you know what I mean? That would be hilarious to me if the fans somehow managed … It would be the fans who brought Coulson back to life, but I don’t think there’s any plans. They’ve got enough superheroes to now bring in to take his place, you know? I think people would rather see Wasp than me come back."