Captain Marvel: Clark Gregg Reveals Details on Coulson’s Return

Clark Gregg dishes on his return as Phil Coulson in Captain Marvel, in which he plays a younger version of the Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Captain Marvel will be a game-changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Brie Larson set to become the franchise’s first female headliner. Moreover, the 2019 film will showcase the long-awaited movie return of Clark Gregg’s ever-popular Agent Phil Coulson, an MCU original who stems back to its inception in 2008’s Iron Man. While Coulson transcended his death from 2012’s The Avengers to make an MCU television migration to ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, his big screen return will showcase a younger version of the character. Now, Gregg divulges details!

The news of Clark Gregg’s recently-revealed movie comeback in Captain Marvel already implied that we’d see a younger version of Phil Coulson, since the film’s 1990s timeframe has long been established. However, the new details revealed by the actor, in an interview with EW, provide intriguing context to that premise. Indeed, in an idea that will stand in stark contrast to the smooth operator that we know and love, the version of Coulson that we’re getting here will be a rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who’s thrust into the film’s cosmic-related events. As Gregg explains of his Young Coulson role:

“We’re seeing a version of Coulson that’s, what, 8 or 9 years, 10 years before Iron Man.” Adding, “He’s a bit of a new guy in S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s a lot younger. It’s the earliest we will have seen him, so when he says, ‘Mr. Stark, this isn’t my first rodeo’ in [2008’s original] Iron Man, this is maybe the rodeo he’s talking about.”

Gregg’s (possibly off-the-cuff) timeframe reveal seems to set the film around 1998, though judging by the uber-90s fashions we’ve been seeing from the set photos, it could still be a bit before that time. Regardless, this aspect makes Captain Marvel all the more intriguing, since it will provide the heretofore missing starting point of Phil Coulson’s arc. Yet, he won’t be alone in the digitally de-aged crowd, since Samuel L. Jackson will also be back as a young(er) Nick Fury, joined by MCU newcomers such as Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law and Gemma Chan. Plus, Lee Pace will reprise his Guardians of the Galaxy villain role as Ronan.

Yet, with the “Young Coulson” appearance in Captain Marvel (which, thankfully, won’t be called “Coulson: An Avengers Story,”) we’ll get to see a version of the smooth-operating character who always seems to have all the answers as a young journeyman who will experience a serious trial by fire with the events that will see pilot Carol Danvers (Larson) imbued with a Kree-originated cosmic gift to become one of the most powerful players in the MCU. It’s a notion that Gregg affirms, stating:

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“[We’re] getting to see Captain Marvel come to life. That’s a really cool character and, at least in the comics, one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe; perhaps more powerful than any other character we’ve seen, with the exception of Thanos.”

Of course, the name Thanos is very much on the minds Coulson and company in the present timeline on Agents of SHIELD, with the show making constant references in the background that foretell the impending cataclysm perpetrated by the Mad Titan in Avengers: Infinity War, as the television show heads to its Season 5 finale on May 18 (today). The series will return next summer for Season 6.

On a side note, Gregg also implies that the movie will bear some retro-tastic music that could end up rivaling that of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, stating of the Captain Marvel soundtrack.

“The fact that it’s in the 90s and I had a feeling that the soundtrack would be as good as it seems like it’s gonna be, that’s just a bonus. – The 90s are still pretty much on mind. Definitely the 90s songs I was listening to and was hearing people listen to got me excited for a 90s soundtrack.”

Captain Marvel is set to arrive in our galaxy on March 6, 2019.