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A billionaire in a metal suit may have kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was the mysterious agent in dark shades who tied many of the Phase One films together.
Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) made his brief but memorable debut in 2008’s Iron Man, introducing the world to the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D. As Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) trusted right hand and a Captain America fanboy, Coulson went on to appear in Iron Man 2, Thor, and two short films before Loki (Tom Hiddleston) brutally kabobbed him in 2012’s The Avengers.
Though Coulson’s heartbreaking death eventually served as the catalyst for the disparate heroes to band together and save New York, he was shockingly resurrected not long after to star on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which on Friday becomes the first Marvel TV property to hit a landmark 100 episodes. It’s been six years since Coulson’s miraculous return, yet the Avengers are still none the wiser — which is fine by Gregg. “When they feel like it’s time to start connecting any of these worlds, they will,” he says. “I feel like I’ll hear from them then, but in the meantime, I have my hands full trying to do a good job on [S.H.I.E.L.D.]”
In recent episodes, S.H.I.E.L.D. has revealed that Coulson is actually dying from as yet unknown reasons, though answers are expected in the 100th episode as the character reveals exactly what deal he made with Ghost Rider last season. Couple that with the fact that the show is on the bubble — the executive producers are writing the season-ender as a series finale — and the point might be moot by the time Avengers: Infinity War actually debuts.
While Avengers: Infinity War is already jam-packed with more than 20 heroes amassed across the MCU, there’s still hope for this long-awaited reunion. “It’s certainly something that will get resolved, and it may get resolved in a very surprising way,” says head of Marvel Television and S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeph Loeb. Could that bombshell mean an end-credits scene reveal? We’ll be sticking around after Infinity War to find out.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Avengers: Infinity War will be released in theaters on April 27.