|Alias(es)|| Agent Coulson|
Son of Coul
|Appeared in|| Iron Man|
Iron Man 2
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agent Phil Coulson is an espionage agent working for S.H.I.E.L.D.. Coulson is an original creation who is not based on a character in the Marvel Comics universe, though a version of him has subsequently appeared in the mainstream Marvel continuity in 2012. First introduced in Iron Man and returning in Iron Man 2, Thor, The Avengers and is one of the main characters in the TV Series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson is portrayed by Clark Gregg.
A son of Robert and Julie Coulson, Phil Coulson was born in Boston, MA, on April 2, 1965. Coulson grew up being a huge fan of Captain America, and collected a set of vintage Captain America cards over the course of two years. Coulson lost his father at a very young age, and his mother is now deceased as well. Not much else is known about his early life, except that he joined the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, later shortened to S.H.I.E.L.D., eventually becoming a special agent and Director Fury's trusted right-hand man.
In 2002, Coulson was sent to Cusco, Peru. During the mission, he met and befriended Camilla Reyes, an officer of the Peruvian Military. It is also possible that their relationship was greater than just a friendship.
At some point, Coulson recruited a talented woman named Akela Amador into S.H.I.E.L.D. Amador was not a team player and did not see the value of teamwork, but Coulson felt that he could nurture these qualities in her. In 2006, Amadore led a raid into one of the gulags run by the notorious criminal Vanchat that had a disasterous outcome. Fearing the worst, Coulson sent a second team in to verify the loss of Amador's team. While the second team found evidence of carnage, there was no evidence that Amador was one of the victims, leading Coulson to believe she was still alive. Coulson followed up an rumors that Amador was being held in Shanxi Province, but she had already been moved by her captors Over the years Coulson developed a good friendship with the legendary specialist agent Melinda May. The two often spoke being able to pick their own ops and call their own shots
After Nick Fury meets the Hulk, Coulson was going to suggest that Fury be more prepared next time when they meet the creature again, but Fury declares that everything else including Banner is secondary, because the Hulk is General Ross' problem.
- "This isn't my first rodeo, Mr. Stark."
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson attempted to set up meetings with Tony Stark regarding his abduction and subsequent "rescue" in Afghanistan, but Stark refused, instead Coulson received information from Pepper Potts about Obadiah Stane's involvement in Tony's kidnapping and attempted homicide. Coulson and four other agents tried to arrest Stane, but their efforts were thwarted by the Iron Monger Armor. Coulson later derived a cover story for Stark, one which Stark refused to use.
Overseeing footage of the attack against Tony Stark in Afghanistan, Nick Fury asked Coulson who was behind the attack, Coulson tells him nobody have claimed responsibility for it, but he told Fury that the Ten Rings were active in the area
Stane tells Coulson that Tony always has been a man who makes his own rules like his father he also told him that everyone thought Howard was crazy by leaving the company to a minor, but Stark surprised them all, Coulson tells him that they're talking about terrorist, but Stane points he wants to find out if Tony can tell them about their defenses, the awnser is not much as he likes the challenge of inventing things but from what done with them he simply leave it to others he trust like himself or Rhodes. he offers Coulson a drink, which he declines, Stane claims that if they wanred the Security codes to the playboy mansion then Tony would deliver it, if its for their surveillance satellites, not much, Stane then leaves as he prepares the company for the fact that Tony may not return.
When Coulson returns he tells Fury that it seems like Stark is focused on his own Work which still makes him far too dangerours, he ask permission to join the search, which Fury denies, he also tells him that the military is already searching for him, if they cant, then Tony is on his own.
After Stark escapes Coulson informs Fury that Stark plane lands in 3 hours he ask him if he wants a full debrief, Fury says if its possible, but tells him to not push him hard as he wants is a sense of what side Stark will be with without setting off alarm bells. then they watch some footage of the explosion that happened on the cave with a mysterious figure coming out of the flames, Coulson then is sent to the conference in where Stark states he wont produce weapons.
Later an S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent shows Fury and Coulson footage of Stark using the Mark II armor, after comparing the new armor with the human-like figure on the footage of the explosion in Afghanistan, Fury concludes that its Stark himself, the next day its confirmed that Stark is piloting the suit, Coulson tells him that when they tried to hack on his home computer system, Stark detected them and tracked the signal of the satellite they own through a shell corporation which he blew up, it also shows that he solved the icing problem on his Mark II armor, Fury concludes that this may be why Stark is no longer doing weapons cause he will use his re sources for the suits and he can see why, Fury sends Coulson to talk to Stark face to face at the Firefighters fund Gala.
When Coulson was unable to interview him, Fury states that the point was to let Stark know that their watching him, Fury ask Coulson how's Stark acting, Coulson simply replies "Like he's got somewhere to be".
After Stark defeated the Ten Ring members in Gulmira, Nick and Phil go to the Gulmira. where they see footage of Stark battle, which shows the Mark III Armor. when a S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tells him that Stark used the alloy from one of Howard files for the Project Rebirth project, Coulson asked what was the goal of the Project, Fury tells him that its classified, but for give him an idea of the importance of the project, what Stark had was just the Prototype of a rejected Shield, the final product was lost, but they're still looking for it. after watching footage of Stark engaging two F22-Raptors, Coulson ask if Tony is probably afraid of provoking the military, Fury tells him that he thinks they may gotten this wrong and that someone is playing with them, Fury tells Coulson that its strucks him that Stane have been extremely forthcoming with the information about Stark, so he sends Coulson at Stark Industries to take a look on what Stane is up to.
Later, Coulson informs Fury was right about Stane and that he's building his own armor, but according to files he haven't finished it yet, but then Stane attacks them in his Iron Monger suit. After Stane death, Coulson and Pepper find Tony barely alive, but since Tony is alive, Pepper wonders if Stane survived, Coulson then tosses some Riot Foam to where Stane died, stating if he survived the Riot Foam will make sure he doesn't cause anymore troubles, he's more concerned for what happens the next day.
The Next Day, while reading the newspaper, Fury tells Coulson to trademark the name Iron Man, Coulson says he already did and all Web domains are secured too, Coulson ask Fury if Stark have a future with S.H.I.E.L.D., at first Fury seemed upset with the name S.H.I.E.L.D. as Coulson was about to say the full name again, Nick Fury tells him that he likes the new name for the organization, Fury ask why they never used that name before, Coulson tells him it was because he always used the full name and everyone thought he liked it, while watching the news of the Conference about the battle with Iron Man and Iron Monger, Stark reveals to the world that he's Iron Man, Coulson was shocked, but Fury told him that this is what he expected, cause they made the cover story so he could reject it and that Stark passed the test
After the death of Stane, Coulson talked with Stark about the battle, telling him while he was technological genius, he was not a good fighter, Stark claimed he knows how to fight, but Coulson said not yet, Tony tells Coulson if he's getting recruited, Coulson simply says "Something like that", Coulson then presented Stark and Rhodey their headquarters explaining to them what they do at S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson then told them that they had Pepper Potts Schedule a Conference about the battle, Stark asked what he should say in the conference, Rhodey bets that they will give him a script and hopes Tony will stick up with it. which Coulson confirms, as S.H.I.E.L.D. wants the whole episode as quiet a possible, Stark promises it, saying he knows when to be quiet. the next day Tony reveals to the world that he's Iron Man.
I Am Iron Man!
After Stark rejected the offer to join the Avenger Initiative, Fury told Coulson to inform Natasha that they may need her services.
Sometime before Fury went to meet with Stark, Fury had Agent Coulson tried to recruit Mr. Hendricks to SHIELD.
After Stark saved an American pilot, a fellow agent tells Coulson that Stark didn't spill a drop of blood this time, Coulson believed that Tony may have finally figured out the role he could play at S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson then asked Nick Fury what he thought, Fury told him to not mistake his actions as any kind of new found maturity and that they will keep watching Stark.
- "If you try to escape, or play any sort of games with me, I will taze you and watch "Supernanny" while you drool into the carpet."
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
Nick Fury put Agent Coulson in charge of guarding Stark, making sure he didn't leave his house.
Later, Coulson went down to Stark's workshop and found a prototype of Captain America's shield in Howard Stark's casket, Stark took the shield and used it to balance the machine he was building. Coulson was assigned to a different mission so bid farewell to Stark. He then headed to New Mexico where S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents were searching for something, he contacted Fury and told him "we have found it", "it" being Thor's hammer Mjolnir.
- "Tell them those Tae-Bo tapes really paid off."
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
While going to New Mexico, Coulson stopped in a service station to buy some snacks and fill his car with gas. While he was in the shop, two robbers threatened the clerk with shotguns. Coulson intervened, passing them his car keys, but as he showed them his gun they panicked, as he slid the gun towards them, he quickly knocked both of them unconscious using his S.H.I.E.L.D. training. After, he proceeded to the counter and bought his snacks, paid, told the clerk to keep the change and then left.
- "Sir. We found it."
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
Upon arriving in the deserts of New Mexico, Agent Coulson along with a unit of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents set up a perimeter and a base of operations around the crater site containing Mjolnir.
Coulson then gathered all of Jane Foster and her scientific team's research that was related to the hammer. When Thor attempted to reclaim Mjolnir by infiltrating the base and managed to single-handedly take out a dozen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with various fighting styles. Coulson observed from a distance before asking Clint Barton to prepare to take action if necessary. After Thor failed to remove Mjolnir, Coulson interrogated him about his identity and training, believing him to be a mercenary of some type despite Thor refusing to answer his questions. Thor's interrogation was interrupted when Erik Selvig appeared and informed Coulson that Thor is actually Donald Blake a member of his scientific staff. An agent confirmed it by running a background check in the computer database and turns up a falsified document created by Jane of Thor assuming the identity of Dr. Donald Blake. Coulson went along with the charade but assigned agents to follow them believing they knew more than they were letting on.
When an agent discovered the coordinates of another potential crater site that appeared to having an exact signature match to Mjolnir, Agent Coulson and a unit of agents went to investigate and find The Destroyer armor. One agent asked Coulson if the armor belonged to Tony Stark. Coulson replied that Stark doesn't tell him anything; he tried to address the armor but it attacked them.
Coulson managed to survive the attack from The Destroyer and watched as Thor regained his powers. Coulson confronted Thor who offered his services in protecting Earth under the sole condition that Coulson returned all of Jane's research and equipment. Coulson agreed to Thor's terms and requested that they be debriefed before Thor flew upwards with Jane in his arms.
Coulson was part of the expedition in Greenland led by Fury to find Steve Rogers, a World War II veteran whom Coulson was a big fan of, however they couldn't find him.
Later Coulson tried to tell Fury that there were some atmospheric disturbances above New Mexico, Fury showed no interest, thinking it may just be a powerful lightning storm.
In Stark's Malibu Mansion, Coulson continued to investigate the atmospheric disturbance in New Mexico. Fury was angry at Coulson since he let Stark break the perimeter. Coulson then told Fury about the electromagnetic storm, Coulson thought that it may be a wormhole, a portal to another universe. This makes Fury interested in the disturbance. Coulson told Fury, that Jane Foster had contacted Erik Selvig, and that Foster had been in New Mexico for weeks and it was likely that she knew more than they did. Fury reassigned Coulson to New Mexico and told him to say goodbye to Stark, Coulson and his team then pack up everything and go to New Mexico. Clint Barton arrives to the site where Coulson and the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are, he asked Coulson if he caught an alien, Coulson corrected him by stating that it was an Alien object, after Thor breaks into the base, Barton spots Jane Foster running away. Barton informs Coulson about this after Thor is arrested.
When the Destroyer attacks them, Coulson tells Fury about their "small problem". After the Destroyer was defeated, Coulson and Barton had the armor taken to Roswell, New Mexico.
A year later, Coulson ordered a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist to make weapons out of the Destroyer. He was then informed by Fury that Steve Rogers had been found.
Jasper Sitwell met with Coulson in a cafe. Coulson had been informed that the Government wanted to free Emil Blonsky, considering him a war hero, who destroyed half a city just because he was attacked by The Hulk. The two were tasked with preventing Blonsky's release, and decided to send a consultant to talk to General Ross and convince him not to free the Abomination, someone so irritating and annoying that Ross would be forced to give up his plans. Unwillingly, Coulson accepted to send Tony Stark, The Avengers's consultant.
Coulson acted as Control for Black Widow's mission in Moscow to interrogate Mikhail Fjodorov. After Fjodorov was killed, Coulson aided Widow even when she went off the grid. He helped her to take down Richard Frampton, a member of the Ten Rings.
When Loki arrived on Earth, Coulson told a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to contact Jane Foster and send her to Norway to keep her safe.
- "So that's what it does."
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
When a threat to the world required the formation of a team of Super Heroes to defeat it, Coulson took on the task of assembling Nick Fury's Avengers as just another day at the office.
He managed to convince Tony Stark to join the team, with the help of Pepper Potts, whom he befriended during his assignment to Stark. Back on the Helicarrier, Coulson was more than happy to meet his all-time hero, Captain America, who had joined the Avengers Initiative on Fury's invitation. Coulson asked Rogers to sign some vintage collectible sticker cards he'd gathered in around two years, stressing the fact that Rogers had always been a model for him.
After the team's first mission, Coulson told Fury that the team was not prepared to face the common menace, and that they needed to be motivated some way. Stark managed to capture Loki Laufeyson and bring him to the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier, when a brainwashed Clint Barton attacked and Loki was able to break free. Coulson reached Loki's prison, only to find the villain out of his cage, and Thor trapped in his place. The agent threatened Loki with a weapon, Coulson's Revenge, created from The Destroyer's body, but the Asgardian teleported and stabbed him through his back by using his staff. Laying on the floor, Coulson was powerless to prevent Thor's expulsion from the Helicarrier, but managed to land a blow on Loki with the Revenge. Later, when the battle was over and lost, Fury reached Coulson just in time to hear his last words. As he died, Phil suggested Fury used his death to motivate the Avengers into working together as a team.
Coulson's death had a large effect on the team who became saddened or enraged in some way, but Phil's death would be the final motivator for the Avengers founding. Later, Tony Stark acknowlages his friendship with Phil while confronting Loki stating that there was one more person he pissed off; "His name was Phil."
Nick Fury ordered that Coulson's head should be cut open, thus exposing his brain. By stimulating the sensors of the brain, Fury's fellows scientists were actually able to bring Coulson back to life days after he had been killed. During the process, they altered some of his memories to make him believe that he was revived in Tahiti, in order to cope with the pain he felt and to make him less suicidal, as he wanted to die due to the intense agony he was experiencing. He then had to work through his memories to find which were real and which were fake.
- "Welcome to Level 7."
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
Despite the common belief that he had died, Coulson returned to active duty some time after the Battle of New York. He assembled a team consisting of agents Melinda May and Grant Ward, biochemist Jemma Simmons and engineer Leo Fitz, and hacktivist Skye. Coulson and Maria Hill later explained to Agent Ward that Fury "faked Coulson's death to motivate the Avengers"; Coulson claimed that he "stopped breathing for about forty seconds," though Hill indicated that Coulson was clinically dead for just eight seconds before being revived. He then spent time recovering in "a grass shack in Tahiti," which he described as "a magical place"; the story of Coulson's survival, however, is a fabrication, of which Coulson himself is unaware. After Coulson's departure, in response to one of Coulson's remarks about Tahiti, Dr. Streiten remarked to Maria Hill, "Tahiti? He really doesn't know, does he?" Hill responds that "He can never know."
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Phil Coulson is essentially an everyman, the kind of man who is not far different from most ordinary people, especially compared to the superpowered heroes he has come to associate himself with, but is still unique and characteristic in his own subtle way. He likes history, classic cars, antiques and other collectable items, and is a fan of Captain America, owning a set of Captain America vintage trading cards.
He doesn't stand out as an especially strong fighter nor a scientific genius like his colleagues and subordinates. But perhaps what makes him unique and a capable agent and leader is his attitude of a guy just doing his job. He's very cool-tempered and calm, and almost always keeps a somewhat friendly, but generally neutral expression on his face, with an occasional dry sense of humor. And he doesn't let a lot of things bother him so much.
However, after his supposed death in The Avengers, he returns to active duty as an agent, and during the events of Agents of Shield, despite maintaining his same usual expression, there have been hints that he is still shaken by his brief death, and despite not remembering the experience so clearly, the experience of actually having died still haunts him.
Throughout his career, Coulson had an unquestioning loyalty and faith in S.H.I.E.L.D. Command. But this faith presumably dissapeared or at least decreased after learning the truth of his death.
- In the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agent Coulson was generally depicted as a supporting character of the protagonists and used to represent S.H.I.E.L.D.'s presence in the plots of the films, to the point that Clark Gregg has described Coulson as "the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent". However, in the "Marvel One-Shots", Coulson is given "a chance to stand in his own spotlight for once", when the character is put in a position where there is an imminent threat and no superheroes around. The decision to give more focus to Coulson was "a natural" for "Marvel One-Shot" co-producer Brad Winderbaum.
- Gregg has stated, "I think of Agent Coulson, after all these years, as a guy with a full life. I think every day he's somewhere doing something for S.H.I.E.L.D., and yet I don't always know what that is... There's always a different twist. In this one he gets to show more of his wisecracking wit, and in this one he's a little bit more of a badass."
- Despite Coulson being called "the most recognizable face in the Marvel Comics movie universe", he was depicted as an "everyman" in a universe full of superheroes – "the glue that binds" the characters together. In Thor, Coulson complains that Tony Stark "never tells [him] anything", while in The Avengers, Stark shows his disdain for G-Men by insisting that Coulson's first name is "Agent" rather than "Phil". In an interview with WNBC, Gregg explained his portrayal of the character as 'just a guy grumbling about his job "He's the guy who's tasked - a very disciplined guy in my opinion who possesses secrets that would turn your hair white - but at the same time he's tasked with handling these kind of diva superheroes, you know? "Oh, really, Asgard? Dude, just get in the car."
Friends and Allies
- Steve Rogers/Captain America - Ally and heroic idol
- Tony Stark/Iron Man - Ally and friend.
- James Rhodes/War Machine - Ally
- Virginia Potts - Ally and friend
- Nick Fury - S.H.I.E.L.D. Director
- Black Widow - S.H.I.E.L.D. Ally and subordinate
- Thor - Ally
- Hawkeye - S.H.I.E.L.D. subordinate
- Maria Hill - S.H.I.E.L.D. Ally
- Jasper Sitwell - S.H.I.E.L.D. Ally
- Felix Blake - S.H.I.E.L.D. Ally
- Erik Selvig - Acquaintance who picked Thor up from Coulson's base, Coulson presumably recommended Selvig meet with Nick Fury to discuss the Cosmic Cube.
- Melinda May - Ally and teammate
- Skye - Ally and teammate
- Grant Ward - Ally and teammate
- Leo Fitz - Ally and teammate
- Jemma Simmons - Ally and teammate
- Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger
- Ivan Vanko/Whiplash
- Justin Hammer
- The Destroyer
- Loki Laufeyson - Killer
- Thaddeus Ross - Opposing General
- Emil Blonsky/Abomination - Coulson prevented him from joining the Avengers, which would cause the destruction of the team
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (7 films)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 TV series)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (10 comics)
Behind the scenes
- During his first meeting with Stark in the second film, Coulson states that if Stark tried anything, he would "Tase you [Stark] and watch Supernanny while you drool onto the carpet".
- According to screenrant.com, Joss Whedon has hinted that Coulson may actually have superpowers. This has yet to be confirmed.
- Clark Gregg is voicing Agent Coulson in the TV series Ultimate Spider-Man.
- Coulson appears in MARVEL UNIVERSE - THE AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES #1 comic book tie in to the smash hit TV series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
- Due to the popularity of the character, Coulson was introduced into the main Marvel Comics universe with the series "Battle Scars".
- According to the name tag he is seen wearing in The Avengers, Coulson's middle name begins with a "J."