As much as I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I couldn't help but notice the fact that one of my favorite characters (not my most favorite, but at least in the Top 5) remains conspicuously absent from the ever-growing character lineup.
That character is Clay Quartermain, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Traditionally, in the comic books, (and almost as often in TV shows) featuring Nick Fury, his two primary assistants are Maria Hill, and, you guessed it, Clay Quartermain. Naturally then, it surprised me that Marvel is rapidly marching into Phase 3 of their cinematic universe without even passively referencing this normally important character. But I believe there could be a reason we haven't seen Quartermain pop up in the MCU. And that reason's name is Phil Coulson.
Yep, that Phil Coulson. The one that was created specifically for the films and prior to that time had not appeared in any Marvel-related media of any kind.
Coulson rapidly usurped the two major roles that are most often held by Quartermain: Fury's personal assistant, and, more importantly, the liaison between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. But is there a way that Marvel could've allowed Coulson to maintain these responsibilities while also allowing Clay Quartermain to grace our screens? My answer is yes. But that leads to another important question: how would that work? Let's investigate.
How Quartermain could have fit into the early stages of the MCU
Had Marvel included Quartermain in the early stages of the MCU, they could have gone in one of two major directions. Firstly, they could've had him retain his positions as Avengers/S.H.I.E.L.D. liaison and personal assistant to Nick Fury. If they instead demanded that Coulson fulfill these responsibilities, they could have substituted Quartermain for one of my least favorite MCU characters: Jasper Sitwell.
Don't get me wrong: Maximiliano Hernández is an outstanding actor, and he plays the role of a HYDRA mole posing as a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to perfection. But I don't know what it was, something about Sitwell's personality just grated on me from the very beginning. Finding out he was a member of HYDRA didn't help improve those feelings either.
If Marvel had cast Quartermain into this position, it could've shown two very important things. First, it could've demonstrated just how high up the security scale HYDRA had actually penetrated, and secondly, showing us the death of Quartermain at the hands of Loki could've shown us that HYDRA isn't afraid of sacrificing major HYDRA leaders in order to further their twisted agenda.
How Quartermain could join the MCU in its current state
Because Marvel chose not to include Quartermain in these early stages of the MCU, (which, in my opinion, was a mistake), is there still a possibility that we may get to see him in the future? I say there is. Now let me explain how.
First of all, let me say right up front that it is pretty unlikely that we're going to be seeing Clay Quartermain pop up in Captain America: Civil War, unless, of course, he turns out to be the mystery character portrayed by Martin Freeman, who, according IMDB, currently has no name attached to his role. Should Quartermain appear in the MCU following the aftermath of the Civil War, he could be used as the public face behind the rebuilding of S.H.I.E.L.D. while the supposedly deceased Director Coulson continues to act from the shadows.
Again, this is fairly unlikely, but if Quartermain does indeed appear in a film or more than one set within the immediate aftermath of Marvel's Civil War, just know I called it first.