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Ever since making his on-screen debut twelve years ago in the MCU’s Iron Man, Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson has been a vibrant fixture in Marvel entertainment, hence, it is no wonder that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left the door open for Gregg to return to the MCU. It all makes one wonder. Will Coulson ever return after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ends on ABC?
Clark Gregg has weighed in, and his answer could arguably be categorized as hopeful. The actor, who has revealed the challenging part of playing Coulson, has thoughts on whether Season 7 will really be the end of his fan-favorite character. Asked about ever making a return to reprise his role as Coulson, Gregg told Variety:
This seems like a real good time to announce that … I really don’t know. [Laughs] Sorry. That was a little bit of quarantine sadism. I don’t know anything! It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where I’d say, ‘No, I’m too busy to put on whatever the latest version of the suit is and go play Phil Coulson.’ I’m always thrilled when I see them changing timelines and exposing a multiverse in the cinematic [universe]. Because I think, ‘Well, I’ve seen scenarios where I could be around!’ So I really learned with this character to never say never, but I’m also really grateful for the ride that we had.
So, Clark Gregg isn't saying never to playing Coulson again, which is a positive sign, as Gregg knows all about how the unexpected can happen. After all, Coulson was killed off in the MCU and then on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., only to subsequently return as a Life Model Decoy (LMD). If Marvel wants there to be more Coulson, they can figure out a way to make it happen.
If they do want him back, Clark Gregg sounds ready to get on-board. Or at least, he would not slam the open door in their faces. It will be interesting to learn if Marvel would have to get creative about Coulson’s future following Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s final season, which is said to have pulled out all the stops.
Many are undoubtedly wondering if a Coulson reprisal would happen in the MCU, or on television during his post-Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. career. It is not as if Disney+ is running out of series to showcase Clark Gregg’s beloved character. Between the apparently two-season Loki and other Marvel/Disney+ ventures, there are a lot of possibilities.
As Clark Gregg has explained, there is a “division” between Marvel’s television series and its cinematic universe. But, Gregg’s Coulson has somehow managed to weave between both worlds to a remarkable degree throughout the years. His home on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a steady one during that time. Let's face it, bringing back fan-favorites is not an unheard-of development.
An Agent Carter actor will be among those fans will get to see when Season 7 gets underway. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is about to kick off its final season, which will include time-travel rules that are different from Avengers: Endgame. So, you will want to brush up on that while you can. Thankfully, Coulson will be around to do his thing.
The importance of Clark Gregg’s presence in the Marvel universe, be it in television or the movies, goes without saying at this point. While it is tough to imagine that Gregg’s final bow (ever) as Coulson will occur on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., considering his popularity, I could be wrong.