In a surprise move, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed today that the Avengers spin-off TV show S.H.I.E.L.D. will feature Agent Phil Coulson as a main character. Beware, spoilers are in this post!

Fans that have seen The Avengers might recognize a very small problem with this nugget of casting information. Statistics say that if you’re reading this post, you’ve seen The Avengers, but we’ll go ahead and throw out a spoiler alert for those that enjoy complaining about stuff.

Agent Phil Coulson was killed by Loki during the events of The Avengers but according to Marvel President Kevin Feige in a panel at NYCC, that won’t stop him from appearing in the Avengers spin-off TV show S.H.I.E.L.D.

“Did you ever think there would be a S.H.I.E.L.D. show without Agent Phil Coulson?” said Feige, before adding, “There was never going to be a ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ show without Agent Phil Coulson! He’s headlining the S.H.I.E.L.D. show and always was.”

Avengers director and S.H.I.E.L.D. advisor/director/writer Joss Whedon added, “From before we made ‘The Avengers,’ we discussed whether there was a way for him to be a part of the Marvel Universe, perhaps a part of a TV show even after his death. The fact of the matter is, as much as we love him, now that I’m really running Marvel, I like to keep a type of artistic integrity, which means we don’t stretch the bounds of reality.”

Way to send us mixed signals Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon.

So from where we stand, there are three options on the table.

1) S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in a pre-Avengers universe where Phil Coulson is still alive. Currently, since Whedon threw that “let’s keep it real” sentence on the table, this seems like our most viable option.

2) Agent Phil Coulson never died and Nick Fury pretended he was to get the Avengers into action. We know that Nick Fury is a manipulative guy, so this card (much like Coulson’s vintage Cap cards that Fury DIRTIED WITH COULSON’S BLOOD) is never off the table.

3) Phil Coulson died and the show will follow his “life-model decoy,” which is something that Tony Stark mentions as a throwaway gag in The Avengers but probably is perfectly capable of building. Part of the humor, we’re sure, might be akin to the fact that Coulson has always been slightly robotic and hasn’t changed much since his death.

Fan speculation has led to the idea that Coulson might be reborn as The Vision, but until we hear those exact words come from Whedon’s mouth, we’re not sure that’s something we want to endorse.

Thanks to Marvel (via TVLine) for the news!

How will Agent Coulson return to S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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