‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

May 15, 2013 | 4:43 p.m.
shield14 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Chloe Bennet, left, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain De Caestecker, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen and Brett Dalton star in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Clark Gregg plays Agent Phil Coulson in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Clark Gregg plays Agent Phil Coulson in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield9 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Ming-Na Wen plays expert pilot and martial artist Melinda May in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield10 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Ming-Na Wen plays expert pilot and martial artist Melinda May in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Brett Dalton plays Agent Grant Ward, highly trained in combat and espionage, in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Brett Dalton plays Agent Grant Ward, highly trained in combat and espionage, in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield5 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Elizabeth Henstridge plays genius biochemist Jemma Simmons in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield6 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Elizabeth Henstridge plays genius biochemist Jemma Simmons in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield7 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Iain De Caestecker plays brilliant engineer Leo Fitz in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield8 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Iain De Caestecker plays brilliant engineer Leo Fitz in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield13 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker play Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield11 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Chloe Bennet plays new recruit Skye, a computer hacker, in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield12 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Chloe Bennet plays new recruit Skye, a computer hacker, in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

shield15 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

Clark Gregg plays Agent Phil Coulson in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

Coulson lives! After nearly a year of rumors and anticipation among Marvel fans, ABC officially ordered a first season of the new television series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” last week, sending Marvel fans all aflutter.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is set in the same world as last summer’s blockbuster smash “The Avengers,” which united Marvel’s muscled superheroes Iron Man, Captain American, Thor, the Hulk and others, and featured the international law enforcement and espionage organization.

Clark Gregg plays Agent Phil Coulson in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

Clark Gregg plays Agent Phil Coulson in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Bob D’Amico / ABC)

Clark Gregg, who played S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson in “The Avengers” and previous Marvel films, is reprising the role for the TV series, donning his suit and sunglasses once more to lead a team of crime-fighting agents: Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), highly trained in combat and espionage; Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), expert pilot and martial artist; Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), brilliant engineer; Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), genius bio-chemist; and new recruit Skye (Chloe Bennet), a computer hacker.

The series, which will air Tuesdays this fall, comes with an enviable pedigree: The creative team includes “The Avengers” director and scribe Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (“Dollhouse,” “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”), Jeffrey Bell (“Angel,” “Alias”) and Jeph Loeb (“Heroes,” “Smallville”).

Hero Complex sat down with Whedon and Gregg earlier this spring to chat about bringing Coulson back after his climactic scene in “The Avengers” for “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Check out the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” cast in the gallery above and the series’ trailer below.

HC: What can you tell us about the S.H.I.E.L.D. series?

CG: 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. 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.

HC: Joss, when you started working on this show, was it a goal for you to get Clark back?

JW: 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?’” You don’t want to do that. I worked in comics and TV and fantasy for a long time, and I know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do stuff like that. I think my first experience with it was with Ripley in “Alien: Resurrection.” I think Sigourney [Weaver] is wonderful, and she was playing the thing that made it work for me, which was, if we’re going to bring her back, it’s gotta be really weird for her that we did that. She’s gotta feel completely alien, literally, and the whole idea for her in that movie was built off of that.

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. And I liked the idea when I heard it, I liked the idea when I developed it into an actual show, I like everything about it. But what I felt then is what, after filming, I feel even more strongly: I wouldn’t want to do it without my man Phil Coulson, without Clark. He’s got a thing that I call a Columbo thing. He’s so low-key, he’s never overselling, and then when he turns out to be the smartest person in the room, everybody else is like, “Oh …” And you can’t buy that. You can’t train for it. Some people just have it.

CG: Aww. Let’s make out. I’m crimson.

Executive producer Joss Whedon on the set of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Bob D'Amico / ABC)

Executive producer Joss Whedon on the set of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Bob D’Amico / ABC)

HC: Clark, you’ve enjoyed a prolific and successful career before the Marvel films came along. What’s it like to now be a part of Comic-Con culture, and to have such devoted fans?

CG: It’s beautiful to me because certainly any false ideas that I had that I might be a geek were knocked out of me the first time I went to Comic-Con before any of this happened, and I realized that I was really just scratching the surface with my love of comic books and sci-fi. It was kind of moderate. But I loved it enough that I really wanted to be included in “Iron Man,” even when it was just a couple of lines, and the stuff that’s happened consequently, [building to] the ridiculous, brilliant culmination of Agent Coulson in “The Avengers” that Joss gave me, has just kind of been a dream come true for me.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark

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Comments


20 Responses to ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg on Coulson return

  1. johnrj08 says:

    This is a mistake. It dilutes the MARVEL brand with a lot of wannabee super-heroes who have no history, familiarity, or standing with the audience it will try to attract. We already had "HEROES". We already had "MISSION: Impossible". So, on top of watering down the MARVEL brand, this show isn't trying to be original. All it will be is "MISSION: Impossible" in tights with a bunch of characters we've never even heard of.

    • badcyclist says:

      Yes, god knows we don't want to watch anything or anyone we have never heard of. And god forbid that Marvel would ever dilute their brand.

    • JerBear says:

      I can make assumptions to, watch: This show is going to involve a lot of pink dinosaurs and giant unicorns, the reason Coulson is alive is because he's an alien cyborg, and J. August Richards is playing Hypno Hustler.

      • GadgetBoy says:

        It’s funny that people just love to assume the bad about things. I hope that you are not one of those bandwagoners who have been tweeting or posting about how you finally start loving the series. Because that will just be a smack on your faces.

  2. Someguy says:

    That may be true. But Whedon has a good track record. If he manages a good, or even a great new show; why not enjoy the ride?

    What's the alternative? Another CSI? Maybe another reality series about rednecks with firearms who do stupid things.

    • John W. says:

      Here's a crazy thought… just spitballing here… how about something new?

      You are entirely correct, johnrjo8, don't let the fuzzy-thinking, entirely-biased, irrational fanboys tell you differently.

  3. Pippi says:

    I admit I was stunned when Coulson was killed in the Avengers, but equally sure that he hadn't really died. If Captain America can awaken after 70 years in ice, and if mutants like Wolverine can regenerate to live for years past his due date, why not a SHIELD agent? I rather like the idea of taking a really low key character with a brain and building a series around him. Given a choice, I'd much rather watch Agents of SHIELD than reality TV any day of the week.

    • Daveu says:

      In the comics, SHIELD has had Life-Model Decoy technology for quite some time. IDK how they're explaining Coulson's return in this show but they certainly have a convenient way to do so here. ("Please, that was my LMD who Loki knifed on the heli-carrier. Nick Fury needed me on assignment elsewhere during the crisis.")

      • R Moriyama says:

        Maria Hill (I think) said "He doesn't know, does he?" The other character in the scene (can't remember who!) said "He can never know." My theory: this Coulson IS an LMD with the real Coulson's backed-up memories and personality uploaded. In the scene where the van door blows off, Coulson does a Matrix-like backbend to dodge it… while Phil is probably highly-trained, that looked a bit faster than flesh-and-blood to me.

  4. slow says:

    Given how good Whedon characterized Nick Fury plus the human characters (plus the aliens) of SWORD in "Astonishing X-Men", I'm looking forward to "Agents of SHIELD."

  5. Carlos says:

    Hey!! It's Todd Akin as a hero…

  6. Paul says:

    Please make the Serenity Series 2. The world needs it for world peace and hope in dark and dreary financial hardship.

    Paul

  7. agenthoney says:

    I can understand people wanting more of Firefly – it was badly handled by Fox, and never had what I would call a satisfying conclusion, even with the movie giving a certain amount of closure. I didn't feel like Joss&Co. had come to the end of the stories that were there to be told.

    Like many other fans, I'm very excited for "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", and think it will do very well. Although this may be the first show in the history of *ever* that will have extensive fanon before it has canon :')

  8. netz says:

    hope these heroes will have appearances in the next Avengers movie.. :)

  9. Teen Tyrant says:

    Hey, could the 2 johns posting on here stop complaining. There is nothing truly "new" in entertainment period, anymore. The "fuzzy-thinking, entirely-biased, irrational fanboys" are going to get a fresh enough take on an old idea that it will seem new enough for enjoyment, while you guys whine about wanting something truly new and miss out. Stop complaining and enjoy what you have already! And fuzzy-thinking entirely biased and irrational? For company and director who have been consistently successful, that's biased and irrational? Really?

  10. @EKBPhotos says:

    I'm not sure if I will like this or not. However, I am not opposed to having new characters created in the Marvel Universe. We have had Wolverine and Pyslocke have a baby, Spiderman and some other woman have a baby.. There have been multiple universes in comic books across all the Comic industries. It would be nice to see NEW characters with other abilities created for the upcoming generation of children, teens and adults. Marvel "apocalypse age"..they re-wrote re-defined our favorites for that. They re-wrote history for some of our favorite cartoons over the years. This is no different and I think it can be a wonderful addition to the comic industry around the world.

  11. Nissa says:

    You guys need to give it a chance before you automatically say no to this show. And if you end up not liking it, don't watch it. Don't even think about the show. Ignore it. But until then, at least keep an open mind.

  12. GadgetBoy says:

    It's funny how people just easily assume the bad on things. I hope none of the "John"s are part of those who posted tweets/comments about how they are starting to love the series, because that would have been a very big smack on their faces.

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