Thursday, October 18, 2012

Coulson Lives - My Thoughts

So, I am aware that (by this point) this is actually old news. It broke on twitter a few days ago, so everybody knows by now that Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, is going to reprise his role on the SHIELD tv show that is going to be helmed by Joss Whedon.

While most of the fan reaction has been positive, I have seen a few people who were upset about it. Not because they had anything against Clark Gregg or the character of Agent Coulson, but because (they argue) this really destroys that moment in the Avengers where they all rally up and it's because of Coulson's death. Another person on twitter (I'm so sorry, I don't remember who) made the point that this is something that's wrong with comics all the time, people who die significant deaths don't stay dead. That this sort of thing 'cheats' his death of the dignity it had, and his badassery in his final moments. These are actually valid points, and should be given some consideration.

I... maybe I'm biased because I love the character so much (and the more I follow Clark Gregg the more I love him, too) but I don't think it's quite at 'cheating' levels. The medics move in and Fury tells the team he's gone, but Fury is the kind of bastard who would lie about this sort of thing. I think that is, largely, what spurred such a large segment of the fandom to declare that Coulson was, in fact, alive. (Even the Marvel Short that came with the Avengers DVD mentions him, and says something like "We all miss him," but he could still potentially be in recovery and not dead. An evil icepick to the heart is nothing to trifle with. Basically, we're dealing with a situation where a bunch of denial is entirely plausible.)

Really I think the judgement should be reserved until we know how Coulson is 'brought back', as it were. I personally think it will be fine- Whedon is nothing if not experienced with this.  Not just bringing back beloved characters from the dead, but dealing with the repercussions of such a thing. Can SHIELD, as an organization, survive such a horrible lie? Or such a foundation-shaking resurrection?

There is also the somewhat disappointing but utterly realistic idea that the show will start at some point in the timeline before Coulson dies (or "dies"). I see this as entirely possible for more than one reason- they may want to save the real Coulson Lives moment for one of the movies. They may want to maintain that suspense a little while longer. They may want the character to actually die. We won't know until the date draws nearer how they're going to handle this.

It's easy to see this sort of thing as a victory or a loss for the continued Marvel film (and now TV) franchise, but Coulson so quickly became the heart of what brought the Marvel movies together that it would be a shame to permanently lose him as a character.


  1. This all reminds me very much of the "Dumbledore is not dead" movement that came up not long after Half Blood Prince. I forget the reasoning people had, but it did in fact seem entirely plausible to me that they were right. And of course the main reason for that is that we loved Dumbledore as a character and wanted him back.

    I agree with you that a lot of the reasoning I've been hearing for Coulson this time around is also very plausible and it's entirely possible that he's not dead. "Those cards were in his locker" certainly seems like a very strong clue that Fury was strongly manipulating them. There's also the fact that Half Blood Prince was the penultimate book whereas the Avengers franchise certainly seems like it's got a long way to go before it runs out of steam.

    Speaking of the cards, if he is alive, we better get a "I can't believe you ruined my mint condition cards!!" moment. :)

    1. I will be HIGHLY disappointed if we don't get a very TERSE conversation between Director Fury and Agent Coulson about these BLOOD SOAKED NEAR MINT CARDS. (Bonus points for Avenger attempts to obtain new versions of said cards for Coulson, especially Tony Stark.)

      Funny enough, I never got into the "Dumbledore is not dead" thing, I kind of took it for granted that he was dead. Maybe I was just being contrary, though, since my mother refused to believe he was dead.