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For my money, one of the most unexpected but exciting developments in the Marvel universe is the upcoming TV series, "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.", especially since Joss Whedon's the man in charge. There are very few people working in the field today who know how to build a television season for maximum impact the way Whedon does, and when he assembles a group of writers and actors, he has a knack for building amazing teams.
Today, an alleged spoiler went up online about the "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, and specifically the fate of Agent Phil Coulson, played in "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "The Avengers," and even the "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated show by Clark Gregg. His death was a major turning point for The Avengers as a team, and it helped unite them against Loki and the invading aliens. /Film seems pretty confident that their report is correct, and it certainly makes a logical sort of sense.
Once Coulson was announced as part of the series, I figured there'd be something like this included in the pilot. The report raises questions that I assume will be addressed in the series, but for now, this appears to be the truth about how Marvel plans to resurrect the character:
In the pilot, it’s revealed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the ultimate super spy, faked Agent Coulson’s death on purpose to motivate The Avengers. Some S.H.I.E.L.D. members were in on it (including, possibly, Maria Hill played by Cobie Smulders) but The Avengers were not. Their security clearance wasn’t high enough. Coulson was forced to hold his breath as part of the ruse and that’s a point of contention among his colleagues After the fact, Fury moved him to a remote location until things died down, and then he was reinserted into duty at the time of the show.
If this turns out to be the way they handle things, it should create some serious tension between Coulson and the heroes who believed him to be dead. It's also going to create some trust issues for Nick Fury.
Ultimately, I'm curious to see how the TV show is going to feed into the movies and vice versa. Obviously with Whedon in charge of things, these are all meant to occupy the same movie universe, and we've never really seen a TV series running the same time as a giant franchise with characters and stories bouncing back and forth between them. Will Marvel go out of their way to isolate the "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." characters like the ones being played by Ming-Na Wen and Bret Dalton in their TV show, or will we see them show up in movies? And will there be superpowered characters we see introduced on TV first to test the waters?
Marvel is rewriting the rule book almost constantly right now, and this is just one more case of that.
"Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D" premieres sometime this fall.