Iron Man 3 is poised to make a record breaking run over the next several weeks, which is not news for that franchise, but could Iron Man 3 feature an appearance by agent Phil Coulson? Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, died in The Avengers and his death was exploited by Nick Fury to get The Avenger team to work together. It has since been confirmed that Coulson, again played by Gregg, would headline Marvel/ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series being developed by Joss Whedon. Whedon has confirmed that he is resurrecting Coulson from the dead for the series, but will that resurrection happen in S.H.I.E.L.D., or could it happen in Iron Man 3?
The Marvel films of late have made good use of the after-credits space to promote upcoming projects, and Coulson has been a fixture of the Iron Man franchise in particular, so what better place to give Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a tiny little bump. It might be possible.
Prior to the release of The Avengers Gregg was already discussing Coulson’s possible appearance in Iron Man 3, presumably after he knew Coulson was to die in The Avengers. To be fair, the scene has everything needed to doubt Coulson’s death—some would say too much. We never actually see Coulson die onscreen, only pass out. It is fury that reports Coulson’s death, we don’t see a body being taken away. Plus we already know that the Captain America trading cards soaked with Phil’s blood weren’t really taken from Coulson’s pocket as Fury claimed. Fury, as it turns out, was twisting the circumstances of Coulson’s death for maximum effect from the reluctant Avengers and it works.
So what would be the best way to resurrect Coulson? In the pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., enticing Coulson fans to tune in to see how he defeated the Grim Reaper, or in the epilogue of Iron Man 3, which would amount to cross promotion on epic levels. Perhaps a hint is in an interview Gregg did with Craveonline where he mentioned he was in talks for an Iron Man 3 appearance. However, Gregg does not appear in the cast list for IM3 on IMDB. Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.