Revisiting Agent Coulson's Death

Are we SURE Phil Coulson was killed in The Avengers?

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By capfan88 - 9/26/2012
Like millions of Marvel fans I raced to the store yesterday to grab a multi-disc copy of The Avenger's. I wasn't home from work for 10 minutes before the Blu Ray disc was playing - first deleted scenes, then the gag reel, a few of the other extras, and finally, my 7th viewing of the film.

Perhaps others have written about this on CBM in the past, I honestly don't recall, but I don't remember seeing any detailed critiques of the subject of Agent Coulson's "death." Yes, there have been interesting theories about Phil-as-Vision and so on, which are compelling. I was especially intriqued by the artist's rendering of Clark Gregg in the image of Vision. But, after my latest viewing of the film, I was left wondering: WHY HAVE SO MANY ASSUMED AGENT COULSON TO BE DEAD?

To make my case, I'd ask that you consider the following points:

1) Clark Gregg has a multi-film contract, and has not satisfied his remaining commitments with Marvel films. It may be that his character will pop up from time to time in flashbacks, but that seems dull, at best. Or, which I admit is somewhat exciting, perhaps it will be revealed that "Phil," as Tony Stark refers to him, is, in fact, the android Vision, and his character will assume an entirely different story arc. Maybe Loki, or some other alien/god/creature will reappear in Avengers deux in the image of Phil Coulson in an attempt to trick the team. But none of these scenarios seems likely, right?

2) When Coulson is stabbed by Loki, Fury reports that Agent Coulson is "down," but he is never declared DEAD. We aren't shown a body, there isn't a memorial service of any kind, and virtually all subsequent references to his death are subtle. No one, for example, explicitly states anything like "You killed Phil Coulson!...." So this leaves an opening.

3) Rather than relying on traditional comic book magic and, say, having Coulson's life restored on Asgaard by Odin's hands, wouldn't it just make sense to reveal in the second Avenger film, or in one of the solo projects, that Coulson, in fact, survived? There wasn't time or need during the war to tell the others he lived.

4) Fury's trickery. The Captain America cards weren't in Coulson's jacket when he was killed. Agent Hill questions this - they were in his locker. Fury did this to motivate the team, smearing blood on the cards before tossing the stack at Rogers. But, if he was willing to go to this extreme to pull on the crew's emotions, why not go one step further and hide Coulson's survival? Before Thor is launched out of the Heli-Carrier, he sees Coulson's apparently fatal wound. But, couldn't he have been rushed away and eventually revived by the medical team?

5) Coulson is wildly popular and one could argue a formidable and much needed character in the MCU. Imagine the joy of audiences in Avengers 2 if it is revealed the has lived to fight another day.

And, finally, my 6th piece of evidence: After the war, as the team assembles in the park, they give ceremonial good byes. If Coulson is dead, isn't this the perfect spot to show them remembering him, at a grave, or in some sort of ceremony?

I may not be the first, but I'd like to argue that there is a gap in this storyline, that a lot of assumptions have been made based on comments made by the cast OUTSIDE OF THE FILM ITSELF. One need look no further than TDKR and the John Blake character to see that sometimes audiences are deliberately deceived. I look for Agent Phil Coulson to return, either in Captain America: Winter Soldier, or more likely in the sequel Avengers 2.

Apologies if this thesis has been offered by other contributors to this site. But, after viewing the film again and enjoying the release of the disc set, I wanted to throw my hat in the ring, to lay down a marker re. the sequel.

So, Puny Gods, am I wrong?
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24 Comments
Luminus - 9/26/2012, 8:51 PM
I just re-watched it yesterday and Coulson CLEARLY died on screen. You're reaching for straws. In addition to this, during the Item 47 short, his death is brought up again, with a memorial picture shown on the wall in the background.
CPBuff22 - 9/26/2012, 10:22 PM
As I do find it conceivable that Phil could still be alive, I only find it as conceivable as I do his becoming Vision. Both are kinda shots in the dark.
CorndogBurglar - 9/27/2012, 3:05 AM
Dude, he clearly died and everyone was also clearly upset over it.

Do we really need someone to say the actual words, "You killed Coulson" when we actually see him die on screen?

The only fesible exanation would be if he was a LMD, but if that is the case then why didnt even Fury know about it? Furh sure acted like it was the real Coulson that died in his arms when no one else was around.

Finally, making Coulson Vision would be the worst way to introduce that character. It would be terrible.
dellamorte1872 - 9/27/2012, 4:36 AM
you crazy kids need to learn he is DEAD. LMD dont have blood, can't be interacted with the way he was. HE'S TANGIBLY BEING TOUCHED BY FURY. just let it go, bringing him back would be really unbelievable even for this medium
Berger45 - 9/27/2012, 6:20 AM
Yes, we are sure.
marvel72 - 9/27/2012, 6:57 AM
he's dead & he should stay dead as well.he's death was the reason the avengers formed.no lmd & definetly not to return as the vision that would suck big time.
Darklypse - 9/27/2012, 7:31 AM
Be pointless to bring him back after all the drama.
nowtheresaBATman - 9/27/2012, 8:31 AM
His death scene was a bad as Talia's. maybe worse. Who the hell could even mutter a word with a spear like that jammed through their chest? He'd be horking up blood & that's about it.
CorndogBurglar - 9/27/2012, 9:14 AM
@ jpfola

Sorry people aren't interested in your 50th top 10 article...

By the way, top 10 articles are really the easiest thing to write. Don't feel all high and mighty, dude.

CorndogBurglar - 9/27/2012, 9:18 AM
"
I really thought this site was for comic book fans and movie fans"

Please help me understand how this is not about a comic book movie.
avengers72 - 9/27/2012, 10:16 AM
first of all fury said he was down then somebody said that the medical team was coming then fury replied: "their here.they called it" and they didn`t have a funreal because there was an alien invasion coming!
Gerrit - 9/27/2012, 10:46 AM
Let the man die in peace. Making him come back from the dead would take away the already incredibly small sense of danger that The Avengers has.
SpoonWielder - 9/27/2012, 2:15 PM
Yes we're sure.
SpoonWielder - 9/27/2012, 2:28 PM
Also just read through the comments. Why does everyone think that Life Model Decoys actually exist in the MCU? Tony says that line as a joke. If he had mentioned unicorns does that mean they exist too?
manymade1 - 9/27/2012, 3:52 PM
What BattlinMurdock and marvel72 said.
lokibane2012 - 9/27/2012, 10:35 PM
Coulson's DEAD.
CoulsonLives - 9/28/2012, 5:37 AM
Saying someone Geek is Dead is like saying that to yourself... Coulson represented all of us... And remember when we thought Bucky died in the Cap comics... You know what happened after that. It's like a big plot twist in Marvel... kinda like Darth Vader saying "I am your father."... It was unexpected... We so called "fanboys" want to make these theories to see if we might be on to something. FURY Lied... You guys are pathetic to believe he is dead... but obviously Fury had a plan.
CoulsonLives - 9/28/2012, 5:48 AM
sorry, I meant saying someone who is a geek died without any tiny instance he is alive
AC1 - 9/28/2012, 5:51 AM
He definitely died on screen; he stopped breathing, his head lolled to the side, eyes fixed in a dead stare. He absolutely died. Admittedly, they kind of drop the subject in an abrupt way after the scene with his blood stained Captain America cards, but they would never have ended the film in a sad way like showing Phil's funeral - they ended it with the celebrations that the alien invasion had been ended and Loki had been stopped.
OdinsBeard - 9/28/2012, 1:15 PM
i kind of agree with the article. but i always play devil's advocate with myself. true, they didn't treat his death like it was that big of a deal. they should have thrown a nod to him at the end, you're right. but to that i say this movie is called The Avengers. and tho you may feel differently, Coulson is not an avenger. they had so many characters to juggle that spending any extra time on Coulson could be considered a waste.

I would love to see him return in the present day, in other words, he survived the stab. but i think it will only be through flash backs or they'll let him direct, which he is into. so they could satisfy his contract like that.

i just learned my lesson my TDK and TDKR. they never say Harvey died in TDK, in fact there were lines thrown in throughout the movie that would make you believe someone would survive from that fall. but alas it was not to be. same with Ras Al Ghul, never saw a body, and hey if bruce escaped the train why couldn't ras? he is "immortal" after all. but he stayed dead also. so even with lack of body and explanation im just accepting that dead characters are staying dead.
OdinsBeard - 9/28/2012, 2:14 PM
also.. think of how many people will potentially return? Winter Soldier. possibly Red Skull. Sort of Loki, i men the general audience probably just assumed he died at the end of Thor but us comic fans know better. we don't want to water-down the meaning of death in the movies like it has been in the comics.
Ghostt - 9/29/2012, 4:45 PM
well written article.

BUT, they used his death as the reason to pull together and AVENGE. His not being dead would discredit that. I hope he is dead.

BUT, in the comic universe, dead is not dead.
DrDoom - 9/29/2012, 7:14 PM
Item 47 showed that his death was canon.
capfan88 - 9/30/2012, 12:57 PM
Thanks, all, for commenting on my editorial. I watched Item 47 only once and obviously missed the Coulson plaque. And, it's not that I'm a Coulson fanboy, it just dawned on me that it wouldn't take much for him to return.

Suppose in Avengers 2 or Cap 2, Fury gets a call and he's asked to "come to medical right away." Fury shows up and sees that Coulson, who has been in a coma in some secretive SHIELD medical unit and is assumed to be brain dead, comes out of it. He wakes, and slowly makes a recovery over the course of the film. His wound is shown to be very severe, but somehow he survives.

Want another storyline? Steve Rogers is summoned in Cap 2 to save Coulson, whose vegetative body is taken from SHIELD medical by Red Skull's thugs. OR Cap fights Winter Soldier, who is sent to finish Coulson once and for all, after it is revealed to the baddies that he is, in fact, ALIVE!!!

I'm not saying this WILL happen, just that it COULD. In this scenario a popular character would reemerge. I should add, I was always suspicious of the John Blake character in TDKR, so surprises do happen. And, as OdinsBeard suggests, they did it with Loki, they're going to do it with Red Skull and Bucky. Hell, even HAN SOLO survived his cryo-freeze!

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