Agent Coulson and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D have been odd entities in the Marvel Universe. While the titular group has a clear representation and in the movies and in certain series, the show itself sat completely apart from the Marvel Cinematic Universe during its run. That’s because, as a network show, it was held to a different constraint and couldn’t fully bring in the characters and stories from the movies themselves. That left them in a tricky spot for their story arcs. Some of that is set to change now with Marvel controlling all of its characters. It looks like, along with some of his castmates, Clark Gregg will be rejoining Marvel as Agent Coulson.
While it isn’t 100% clear on how Agent Coulson will reenter the Marvel Universe, it does appear the studio wants the character to be part of the action moving forward. This makes sense considering his history in the Marvel timeline has had him at the center of some of the bigger conflicts and story arcs. And honestly, as a character, he’s one of the more recognizable faces through the years even though he hasn’t had any true powers to speak of. Like Nick Fury in this way, it’s always nice to have just a “regular dude” around when surrounded by superheroes everywhere.
The Agent Coulson news also comes on the heels of another Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D character being confirmed to reenter the Marvel Universe. Chloe Bennett was announced to return as Quake/Daisy Johnson in a future series. While not official, all signs are pointing to both of them joining Secret Invasion in some fashion. This would make sense with some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s previous Earth-saving efforts and Coulson’s knowledge of the Skrulls and their abilities.
Secret Invasion will be a limited series on Disney+ and will focus on the comic book series of the same name. In that story, there is an intergalactic conspiracy in which the shape-shifting Skrulls have infiltrated Earth and are impersonating some of the most powerful humans and superheroes around. It’s a wide-ranging story with a huge scope involving a ton of Marvel characters. But at its heart for the story will be the conflict between S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendehlson). Agent Coulson has some backstory with both during the events of Captain Marvel so this casting makes a lot of sense.
Bringing Agent Coulson back into the mix with Clark Gregg in the role is right in line with how Marvel has been trying to handle casting of characters that had existed outside of their control for a number of years. In addition to some Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D characters coming over for Phase 4, we also know the studio is working to bring the same Netflix characters over as well. That means Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, and Jon Bernthal as The Punisher. This kind of continuity feels so important for the studio.
Exactly how Agent Coulson folds in remains to be seen and they could ultimately retcon the events of the original Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D show. But the Secret Invasion series is easily the most logical fit and would be able to bring S.H.I.E.L.D totally into the mix. We’ll have to wait for the full confirmation, but this one feels pretty safe. Just knowing he and Quake are back though really does have a feeling of getting the band back together. It looks like all previous Marvel entities (within the Cinematic Universe and beyond) are getting the proper treatment.