'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV show: How fan favorite Coulson could return

'S.H.I.E.L.D.' is supposed to feature the return of Agent Coulson – here are a few of the likeliest ways ABC will bring him back.

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A 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV show is supposed to feature the return of fan favorite Agent Coulson. How will he be brought back?

There has been plenty of speculation regarding the upcoming Joss Whedon S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series – specifically in regards to the show’s plot and whether or not well-known comic book characters will make an appearance; not to mention the question of how the series will be linked to the Marvel movie universe.

While Marvel has previously stated that the pilot will be part of their “Phase II” storyline, they have now officially confirmed the that series will take place after the Avengers movie timeline – but will consist of its own self-contained stories.

In a recent interview with IGN, ABC President Paul Lee had this to say about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s place in the Marvel Universe:

“There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York.This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it’s part of the world, but we’re going to be very, very careful that we don’t tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that’s what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He’s built a world for us.”

That being said, the real question on fans minds is this: If the S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot takes place after the Avengers and deceased fan-fav Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is set to return, how will the character be resurrected?

Bringing Back Coulson: How It Could Be Done

With all the options of bringing a character back to life Hollywood and comics have to offer, we took the time to compile a list of the most-likely options ABC or Whedon might use for Coulson: 

Flashbacks: Possible, but it would kind of defeat the purpose of having the series take place “after the Avengers.” The flashback idea also lacks the token Joss Whedon flare for the obviously complicated, but we’ll see.

A Ghost \ Helpful Sprit: Ummm, seems a bit unlikely (or at least we’re really hoping it is), despite Joss Whedon’s penchant for the supernatural and Marvel’s use of spirits in the past. The idea may sound cheesy at first (mostly because it is), but perhaps under the creative eye of Whedon it might actually work. Come to think of it, a ghost would make an excellent spy.

A Deathlok: Zombies are totally “in” right now, and a Zombie Cyborg is definitely a step up. Deathloks are dead soldiers\agents reanimated with future technology by the US government (or S.H.I.E.L.D.) to serve as the perfect military operative. The downside to a Deathlok operative is that they often end up at odds with their organic and cybernetic brains, which usually resorts in the Deathlok going crazy and turning on its masters.

Life Model Decoys and Other Various Types of Robot: Marvel and Whedon LOVE robots (just ask the Vision and the BuffyBot) but the favorite of S.H.I.E.L.D. brass is the Life Model Decoy. LMDs are androids designed to function as an exact body double of the humans they’re based on.

The near-flawless mimicry of their subject’s outer appearance  - i.e., fingerprints, hair, skin, retina patterns, speech patterns, scent, body language and thought patterns – have even fooled the acute senses of Wolverine and high-level telepaths. Apart from any invasive medical examination or strong EMP, LMDs are indistinguishable from the original.

(PS: We’re also including a living computer based on Coulson’s brain patterns in with the “robot” category.)

Cloning: To say Marvel loves a good cloning would be an understatement, in fact you haven’t made it as a superhero unless some villain has tried to clone you for nefarious purposes. While LMDs maybe S.H.I.E.L.D.’s go to, clones also play a big part within the organization. The real question of cloning Coulson will be if he’s aware of his duplicate nature and if not how will he react when he finds out.

Mystical Resurrection: We all hate to lose a fantastic employee and S.H.I.E.L.D. is no different. Bringing characters back from the dead is a staple of Marvel comics (*cough* Jean Grey) and S.H.I.E.L.D. has numerous sorcerers on the payroll. The Hand, an order of evil mystical ninjas and longtime adversaries of S.H.I.E.L.D frequently use resurrection to replenish their ranks and have been known to use former superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D agents including Elektra and Northstar. Perhaps S.H.I.E.L.D’s first TV mission will be to recover Coulson’s body from the Hand’s wicked clutches?

Never Died: Most Likely. Nick Fury has shown he is a man of action no matter what he must do, and faking a man’s death to manipulate a group of super-powered narcissists into playing nice is not above him. Sure, we saw Coulson take the pointy end of Loki’s staff to the gut, but that doesn’t mean he died before making it to the top medical facilities of S.H.I.E.L.D. – or perhaps an unsuspecting Life Model Decoy took that “Red Shirt” hit in place of the real Coulson.

Alien Technology: Why strain your brain about the Coulson issue when there’s perfectly good deus ex machina staring you in the face? The Avengers fought alien hordes of The Chitauri over NYC, and the Marvel One-Shot short film “Item 47″ already chronicled S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collection and cataloging of all the Chitauri technology leftover after the battle; who’s to say they didn’t discover tech that could bring Coulson back to the land of the living?

Scott Stoute blogs at Screen Rant.

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