Phil Coulson was first introduced in 2008's Iron Man. The character connected so well with audiences that he was brought fully into the #MarvelCinematicUniverse and eventually, even after being killed off, an entire TV show was crafted around him; we know it as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Even though the show is set in the MCU, Marvel has made an effort to differentiate their movies and TV series, allowing very little crossover between the two, outside of a few appearances from movie characters. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't constantly changing up the shared universe due to the aforementioned restriction, its four seasons have been charged with adventures for Coulson and his team while at the same time, introducing very important characters such as Ghost Rider and the Inhumans.
While rewatching #AgentsofSHIELD, specifically the fourth episode of this season, I started thinking about how the movies, for the most part, ignore the television side of things. It has affected the universe as a whole and I firmly believe Phil Coulson's reintroduction into the movies would greatly benefit the larger MCU.
It Would Help Him Regain Some Of His Mystery
Since Coulson was introduced, one of the things that kept his appearances exciting and fresh was the mystery behind him: Who was he really? What motivated him? What had he gone through as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most valuable assets? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave us an insight into that: We knew how he was feeling, what kind of missions he went on and the super-powered individuals he met along the way.
But, by portraying the enigmatic character behind the scenes, we lost a lot of Coulson's flair. It felt like the character that was so greatly built up on the big screen had been stripped away of his core elements. Don't get me wrong, I love Clark Gregg's performance and Coulson is still a great character but the show has taken him in some strange directions.
The most significant one was him becoming Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Phil works better as a field agent, as someone who faces danger alongside his team. Fortunately, Coulson is back to being the canny agent in this season of AoS. After four years on television, and Infinity War close to filming, now's the perfect time to reintroduce Coulson into the movies.
His Reappearance Would Benefit The MCU's Storylines
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a way for Coulson to regain his reputation as an agent who's experienced pretty much all there is. While actually seeing him go through turmoils and missions take a little bit of the mystery away, the show has established pivotal comic book characters.
After four years of crazy adventures, now's the time to introduce the TV side of the #MCU into the movies and reintroduce Coulson himself. Here's a fictional example of how it could work: The heroes are trying to figure out how to beat Thanos but they don't have enough manpower to win. If Coulson is part of the plot, he could say "I know someone" and bring in Ghost Rider.
AoS could also be allowed to introduce more big-name superheroes. We have, of course, to consider that the special effects for any given famous super-powered character would be limited on a TV budget. Fortunately, that could be fixed by showing their origin story or have heroes that don't need the flashiest CGI effects, much like Netflix is doing with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
By taking this approach, whatever movie Coulson's in doesn't need to get into how he knows any given superhero because there's an entire TV show already devoted to explaining it. People who don't follow AoS could be driven to watch the show just to get the whole story, giving it a bigger audience and perhaps, more acceptance from people who aren't interested in it due to its loose connections to the larger superhero world.
Coulson Would Give Future Movies The Same Exciting Connective Tissue Early MCU Films Had
By having his core storyline in a separate medium from movies, you give Coulson his enigmatic presence back. When the MCU was just getting started, the through line and connective narrative thread in the movies, other than Nick Fury, was Coulson.
His minimal yet memorable appearance in Iron Man served to introduce audiences to S.H.I.E.L.D. and his contribution to the universe got bigger with Iron Man 2's post-credits scene, in which Coulson calls Fury to inform him of the discovery of Thor's hammer. That connective tissue, as fans of the source material, made us really excited for the future.
While the current MCU is great so far, it's starting to spread out and while that was always inevitable, there are ways the universe could be tied more closely together. Yes, we get numerous clues for what's next with each new movie, but we don't have that Coulson-like character that really makes it all connect anymore.
But once again bringing Coulson back as the audience surrogate would take care of that. He would represent us, normal humans that are slowly realizing the scope of his superhero-filled universe.
Do you think this is the right time to reintroduce Coulson into the movies? In which upcoming film would you like to see him?
Can't get enough of the MCU? Read on:
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