I’m kicking back and watching The Avengers, yet again. This movie never gets old. It’s that good. Every time I watch this movie from Joss Whedon, something new seems to stand out to me. But when Agent Coulson was skewered by Loki, we all saw him die. Over the last several Marvel movies, he’s become a staple to the fans of what SHIELD is and represents. He’s become rather popular.
When he died, many folks aren’t sure if that really happened, and wonder, “Did Agent Coulson really die in The Avengers?” Or as I like to think, Coulson lives!
Today, a few things in the The Avengers caught my eye that has me convinced that Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) IS NOT DEAD. (Or, I’m in for one huge disappointment in the next Marvel movie or Avengers sequel.)
When Joss Whedon puts something together, he’s a shifty kind of guy. He’s always killing off popular characters in his projects, but not the primary characters. He also tends to drop clues throughout a story when he’s cooking something up.
You can see it with the Hulk in the movie. After you’ve seen the big reveal of Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) man, who is always angry, that was awesome. It came out of the blue.
But when you watch the movie again, keeping in mind what you now know, there are things Bruce Banner says seems to point to this. But when first watching the movie, it goes over our heads.
Whedon is sneaky that way.
With that in mind, I was stunned when Agent Coulson went down. But something was suspicious from the get-go. Then after watching the movie a few more times, other things started to stand out to me. Then I watched the movie with just one mission in mind, to carefully watch and see if there are clues that might answer my question, Did Agent Coulson really die in The Avengers?
There are several moments of “hmm” that take place for me about Coulson’s death in The Avengers. Let me present my full case on the matter:
A conversation very early in the movie where Col. Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) says something to the committee that caught my eye (“ear”).
Guys In Charge (GIC): “The Avengers initiative was shut down.”
Col Fury (CF): “This isn’t about The Avengers”
GIC: “…Leave the fate of the human race to a handful of freaks.”
CF: “I’m not leaving anything to anyone. We need a response team. These people may be isolated, unbalanced even, but I believe with the right push, they can be exactly what we need.”
Was there a plan already in place that involved Agent Coulson?
When Hawkeye attacks the carrier, Fury sends Coulson to the armory, in what I think Fury says, “to the contingent section.“ (I can’t quite make it out.)
Agent Coulson walks up to a wall/locker that seems as tall as he is. It does an eye scan on him and the scene swaps out before it opens. We never see what Coulson pulls out of this locker.
The next time we see Coulson, he has a big gun that he faces off with Loki, with. Is that what Coulson got out of that locker? Or were we distracted from something bigger. The gun doesn’t seem that it needed such a large locker.
After Loki skewers Coulson through the back and out the chest, later while hovering over him, Col. Fury tells Coulson to hold on. Coulson says,
“It’s OK boss. This was never going to work if they didn’t have somethi…“
After that, Coulson just stops. His voice trails off and he stops. His eyes never close. They stop moving, but never close.
We then see two guys in light colored shirts show up and bend over to tend to Coulson. (But we don’t see first aid administered. But that’s a bit of a weak argument, even if I do say so myself.)
It seems that Coulson is on to this master plan of Fury’s to pull the team together. (Exhibit A) If Fury had a plan, did it involve the death of his agent? Or a simulated death of one?
When Fury reports that “Agent Coulson is down.” The bridge replies that the “Medical team is on its way to your location.” And Fury replies that “They’re here. They called it.”
In this point, I’m stretching just a bit, but: Was a medical team really nearby, or were those guys a different kind of team?
Later, when Fury throws down Coulson’s much beloved Captain America trading cards on the table with blood on them, well, that had me wondering.
I wonder because why would Coulson be carrying his mint condition Cap cards around in battle?
Later, Agent Hill (Cobie Smulders) says to Fury,
“Sir, those cards. They were in Coulson’s locker. Not in his jacket.“
Fury replied, “They needed the push.“ I refer back to exhibit A. “… with the right push.”
As the big fight begins, the first shot is taken by Iron Man facing off against Loki (Tom Hiddleston)…
“And there’s one other person you pissed off. His name is Phil.“
Is that a reference to a living Coulson?
So why am I so focused on these point of proof, or as I might like to call them, CPOL (Coulson’s Proof Of Life)?
Exhibit G, which should have been A, but save the best till last bit:
I suspected all of the above beause of one little line that Tony Stark said near the beginning of the movie. A line that was funny to long-time fans of the Marvel comic world and was used in conjunction with Coulson.
After Fury decided to pull the team together, he sent Agent Coulson to collect Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.). Coulson keeps calling Stark and at one point, Stark answers his cell and says,
“You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark. Please leave a message.“
Ah, life model decoy, or LMD.
Life Model Decoys
An LMD is a robot that was designed by S.H.I.E.L.D.. Their purpose is to take the form or recreate the person they’re designed to look like. They’re androids controlled by the owner or person they’re duplicating.
In the comics, Tony Stark used them from time to time. Maria Hill deployed them, as did Nick Fury.
Those are my points of proof or theory in why I do not believe Agent Phil Coulson died in the attack on the hellicarrier.
Other potential proof could be seen in the upcoming TV series from Joss Whedon, Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. series coming to ABC.
Whedon himself said the new series will consist of characters separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe we’ve already seen. Rather, it will take place during the time or adjacent to the MCU. He wants this new ensemble series to stand apart. And facing the foes they face, they will be the underdogs, since they’re not superheroes.
As far as I can tell, (Though I am only surmising), it’s going to be in the present.
This is important because Clark Gregg is reprising his role of Agent Phil Coulson in the series. Which is awesome we’re getting more Coulson. Unless the show takes a twist and focuses on earlier days of the organization.
After noting the multiple correlations of events, of lines spoken, those pesky trading cards, and what seems like a plan that was already in place before events got going, it all truly comes together when the LMD line is spoken. Like an Easter Egg of a clue for fans to latch on to. (And we all know Whedon loves to tempt us!)
That and now, at least by reference, LMD’s have been introduced into the movie franchise.
So Coulson is either alive via this slight-of-hand or I’ll be in for one hell of a let down.
Do you have anything else to add to this hope of mine? Or any observations that might help ground me and contradict my opinion, I’d love to hear them.
My wife started it off by saying, “He’s dead. Let go. Get over it.“ She’s harsh that way, oh yee of little faith!
Me? In case you can’t tell, I hope Coulson lives!