How Clark Gregg Originally Found Out He'd Be In More Than Iron Man Movies In The MCU

Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson in Iron Man 2

While Clark Gregg's agent Phil Coulson doesn't have superpowers, the character is as loved by fans as any of the Avengers. Between his appearance in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and the ongoing Agents of SHIELD TV series, he's become a significant part of the story. However, if it was always the plan for Coulson to become a recurring part of the MCU, somebody forgot to tell Clark Gregg, as he didn't know his role was growing until the middle of filming Iron Man 2. According to Gregg...

During one of those [Iron Man 2] scenes they said, ‘Oh Tony, you’ve got to tell him he’s going to New Mexico.’ Finally, after I did a couple of takes, because I was obedient and happy to be there, I was like, ‘One question: What’s in New Mexico?’ And they said, ‘Oh, Thor! You’re going to be the one to find his hammer. Are you free?’ And I was like, ‘Oh shit, I’m going to get free!’

Clark Gregg made his debut as Agent Phil Coulson in the original Iron Man, back when the only hint that there was ever going to be anything like the MCU came in a post-credits sequence back when people didn't know they needed to stay through the credits. He was Tony Stark's liaison with SHIELD.

He returned for Iron Man 2 and likely just assumed that he'd just be a small part of whatever shenanigans Tony Stark got up to. The Incredible Hulk was the only other Marvel movie at that point and while Robert Downey Jr. did appear in a post credits sequence of his own, connecting the stories, it still wasn't clear just how well the MCU idea would work. Hulk wasn't a hit like Iron Man had been.

It's clear from the way Clark Gregg talks to Polygon that he's as much a fan of the Marvel movies as he is happy to be a part of them. Of course he would get excited about the chance to be in Thor as well as the Iron Man movies. I like how it was just sort of planned to have Clark Gregg appear in the movie and he was asked if he was free after telling him he was going. Based on his response, it was probably assumed he would make himself available if he made it clear how happy he was to be making the movies.

His fate in The Avengers was probably somewhat disappointing to him, though Gregg says he was humbled by the outpouring of support from fans who wanted to find a way to bring him back. One theory was that dead Coulson could have been a Skrull. Now, Gregg is back on the big screen in the MCU in the 90s prequel Captain Marvel which opens on Friday, and so are the Skrulls. Is Coulson actually a Skrull? No spoilers.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.