Whedon, Gregg on Why Coulson Living Works on <i>S.H.I.E.L.D.</i>

Agent Phil Coulson will live again when Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC this fall. Although leading man Clark Gregg won't open up about how Coulson manages to be alive after a very sad and obvious death in The Avengers, he and series co-creator Joss Whedon are making it very clear the plot twist works within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"It came up, 'What about a S.H.I.E.L.D. show?' And I said, 'Oh, that makes perfect sense.' And then, you know, 'What about Coulson?'” And obviously, the first question, was, 'Will this upset the integrity of what we did in The Avengers?'" Whedon told the Los Angeles Times. "It’s like, 'If we were going to have Coulson, how would we even do it?' Well, we’d do exactly this. That’s what I pitched to [Clark] on the phone, that’s what’s in the script, word for word, and it’s all about earning everything, so that people don’t feel that you lied, or that you pulled one over on them, that you have an explanation that you buy. Because at the end of the day, the S.H.I.E.L.D. show, it works."

Gregg said he had the same reservations about the series, but was still thrilled that the folks at Marvel liked his character enough to want to bring him back from the grave.

"It’s a pretty spectacular phone call to get. 'Listen, I know you were dead, but …' The executives at Marvel had joked about being in meetings where they were talking about how to bring Coulson back, but you know, I was there. There was a lot of blood. I felt pretty dead," Gregg explained. "So I was wary as to how can we do that in a way that doesn’t feel like it undermines any of the magic that I thought was there in The Avengers, and as soon as I heard the concept and saw the script, I realized it was worth doing. There’s very little that we can say about it. It’s post-Avengers. It works with the Avengers universe. That’s what’s exciting about it for me."

Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT this fall on ABC, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also stars Ming-Na as Agent Melina May, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Gemma Simmons, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward and Chloe Bennett as Skye.

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