Marvel Cinematic Universe

Phil Coulson

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Phil Coulson
Real Name Phillip J. Coulson
Alias(es) Phil Coulson
Son of Coul
Phillip, Son of Coul
Species Human
Gender Male
Age 49
Date of Birth July 8, 1964[1]
Clearance Level 8
Ser. No. SKJ 08U7342[1]
Title(s) Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.[1]
*Field Officer
Affiliation S.H.I.E.L.D.
*Coulson's Team
Movie Iron Man
Iron Man 2
The Avengers
One-Shot The Consultant
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer
TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Comic The Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files
Iron Man: Security Measures
Iron Man: I Am Iron Man!
Iron Man: Fast Friends
Iron Man 2: Public Identity
Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week
The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes
Iron Man 3 Prelude
Thor: The Dark World Prelude
Portrayed by Clark Gregg
Status Resurrected
"Excuse me."
"Who the hell are you?"
"A concerned citizen who happens to be a member of a giant bureaucratic organization that's tracking your every move.
―Phil Coulson and Todd Chesterfield[src]

Phil Coulson is one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most legendary and best-of-the-best operatives. He served as Director Fury's man on the ground for his most important missions. Dependable, loyal, and one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most decorated field agents, Agent Coulson was put in charge of surveillance and served as the primary operative in Director Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative.

Agent Coulson also ran ground interference and tactical operations in Puente Antiguo, New Mexico as part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s investigation surrounding the incident with Thor and the Destroyer. Coulson was also the primary S.H.I.E.L.D. operative in the investigation into Stark Industries: Sector 16 and the incident on the Howard Stark Memorial Freeway.

When he was seemingly killed by Loki, the Avengers fought in the Battle of New York in honor of him. However, Coulson's death lasted for nearly a week. Scientists worked night and day to ensure Coulson's return. They made sure Coulson did not remember all of the painful procedures by forcing a memory of a grass shack in Tahiti into Coulson's memory. After recovering from his wounds, Coulson returned to assemble a new team of young agents to lead them against other supernatural threats. While on this team, Coulson discovered the truth about the events after his death. The Avengers are unaware that Coulson still lives.


Coulson's Youth and First ActionsEdit

A son of Robert and Julie Coulson, Phil Coulson was born in Boston, MA, on July 8, 1964. 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. [2] Coulson lost his father at a very young age, and his mother is now deceased as well.[3] After high school,[4], he was recruited right away and joined the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, later shortened to S.H.I.E.L.D., eventually becoming a special agent and was taught by his supervising officer Nick Fury alongside John Garrett[5]. Coulson later went on to become 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.[6]

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, Amador 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.[7]

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.[1]

On an Index Asset Evaluation and Intake report to Manama, Bahrain, Coulson and May encountered the followers of the "Gifted" individual they had come to investigate, who took several members of their team hostage. May went in without weapons and crossed off the enemy force single-handedly, rescuing the agents. The episode earned May the nickname of "The Cavalry".[8]

When Nick Fury encountered Bruce Banner in a bar and saw his transformation into the Hulk, he called a meeting for some of his S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. Phil tried to tell him that he and the others will be better prepared the next time Hulk attacks, but Fury said that Hulk is now just a secondary matter.[9]

The Birth of Iron ManEdit

The Stark ProblemEdit

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Coulson and Fury talk about Tony Stark's kidnapping.
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"I can be in Afghanistan by sunrise, Director Fury."
"You can. But you won't. We're the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. Note the word "Homeland". We're not currently authorized for foreign ops.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

After wealthy industrialist Tony Stark was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the terrorist group called the Ten Rings, Coulson and Nick Fury feared that Stark, being just a wealthy civilian and not a trained soldier, could tell his kidnappers everything he knows about the American national security, since Stark was involved in making many weapons for the United States Armed Forces. Coulson immediately offered to go searching for Stark himself, but Fury stopped him, because the agency wasn't authorized for foreign operations. Instead, he sent him to Stark's business partner Obadiah Stane, to see if Stark is a man who could sell his country to save his own skin.[10]

When he arrived at the Stark Industries headquarters, Stane told Coulson that Stark couldn't tell the Ten Rings much about the American defence systems. Back at the agency, Fury again refused Coulson's offer to search for Stark himself.[10]

Chasing Tony StarkEdit

Coulson talking to Pepper-Iron Man (film)
Coulson tries to arrange a meeting with Tony Stark about S.H.I.E.L.D.
"I'm Agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division."
"That's quite a mouthful."
"I know. We're working on it.
―Phil Coulson and Pepper Potts[src]

Three months later, Stark was found by the Army in the desert. Fury didn't believe Stark's story that the terrorists' ammo dump accidentally exploded. He thought that Stark was actually recruited by the Ten Rings and sent to the only place where he could have all the necessary equipment to make more weapons for them―his home.[10]

When Coulson met Stark's secretary Pepper Potts, he attempted to set up a meeting with Tony Stark regarding his abduction and subsequent "rescue" in Afghanistan. However, Stark was busy, as he organized a press conference where he announced that his company won't produce weapons anymore.[11]

A few days later, the agency's satellites detected something that looked like an unmanned aerial vehicle. But when Fury and Coulson saw the footage of the "vehicle's" flight through the streets of Los Angeles, they realized the "vehicle" is actually Stark in a flying armored suit. To be sure, they hacked Stark's computers and found confirmation that Stark is working on the development of the armored suit.[10]

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Coulson and Tony Stark talk for the first time.
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Meeting StarkEdit

"Mr. Stark."
"Agent Coulson."
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, the guy from the..."
"Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division."
"Whew! God, you really need a new name for that."
"Yeah, I hear that a lot.
―Phil Coulson and Tony Stark[src]

Later, Coulson finally met Stark at the Third Annual Firefighters' Fund gala. Stark was too busy to talk with Coulson, but he agreed to a meeting at some other time.[11]

A few days later, both Coulson and Fury were in Afghanistan, where they visited the village of Gulmira. When one agent found an abandoned camera, they saw a footage of Stark in a repainted armor attacking the Ten Rings and destroying their piles of weapons. Back at the headqarters, Coulson and Fury saw that Stark is chased by two F-22 Raptors. When one plane went down and Stark risked his life to save the pilot, Fury finally realized that he was wrong. He then ordered Coulson to check Obadiah Stane's activities with Stark's financials.[10]

Coulson immediately went to Stark Industries where he encountered Pepper Potts who informed him about 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 Stane who was now wearing his own armor. However, in the ensuing battle, Stane was defeated by Stark.[11]

I am Iron ManEdit

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Coulson, Potts, and Stark.
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"Agent Coulson, I just wanted to say thank you very much for all of your help."
"That's what we do. You'll be hearing from us."
"From the Strategic Homeland..."
"Just call us S.H.I.E.L.D.
Pepper Potts and Phil Coulson[src]

A few minutes after Tony's battle with Obadiah Stane, Tony and James Rhodes were taken to a secret base where they encountered Agent Coulson. Coulson told them that Tony's fight against Stane was good, but that he needs to learn how to become a real fighter, and that his colleagues will teach him.[12]

The next morning, Coulson came to Stark Industries where the journalists expected to hear from Stark about the incident that happened, and who the mysterious "Iron Man" really is. Coulson gave Stark a cover story for the incident, and when Pepper thanked him for all he did for them, he said they'll hear from his agency again. When she tried to say the whole name of the agency, he interrupted her and spoke the acronym "S.H.I.E.L.D." instead.[11]

When Coulson returned to the agency's headquerters, both he and Fury watched the press conference. When Coulson asked for Fury's opinion on Stark's possible future work with S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury liked the acronym so much that he decided to make it official. A few seconds later, both Coulson and Fury were shocked when Stark publicly revealed that he is Iron Man.[10]

New TasksEdit

"...He didn't spill a drop of blood this time."
"That's true. Perhaps he's finally figured out the role he could play here.
―A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Phil Coulson about Tony Stark[src]

Right after Stark revealed he was Iron Man, Fury assigned Coulson to recruit Mr. Hendricks to S.H.I.E.L.D.[13]

Later, after Stark rejected the offer to join the Avengers Initiative, S.H.I.E.L.D. started to watch him. After watching how Stark saved a pilot from an enemy area, Coulson wondered if Stark finally figured how to play the role he may play at S.H.I.E.L.D. He asked Fury his thoughts on this, but Fury told him to not mistake Stark's actions as any kind of new found maturity and that they will keep watching him.[14]

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Coulson and Fury on Greenland.
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A Busy WeekEdit


"We keep doing what we're doing and tell them that we're doing what they want us to be doing."
"Hell, I dunno. Get creative. Cook the books. Whatever it takes to let us do this job right.
Nick Fury and Phil Coulson[src]

A few months later, Coulson and Nick Fury led an expedition to Greenland in hopes of finding Steve Rogers, the American war hero from World War II. They didn't find Rogers, but they found one of the disabled flying bombs from HYDRA's super bomber, the Valkyrie. Though Fury wanted to continue the search, the World Security Council ordered them to shut down the operation and return to New York City. Twelve hours later, the Council ordered Fury to stop wasting time on what they called "wasteful programs" and focus on reigniting the Tesseract, naming that operation "Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.". Despite the direct order, Fury decided to continue with his usual activities, and he told Coulson to do the same.[15]

Watching Over StarkEdit

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Coulson in Tony Stark's workshop.
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"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 to Tony Stark[src]

When Stark got drunk and had a battle with James Rhodes at his own birthday party, Nick Fury put Coulson in charge of guarding Stark, making sure he doesn't leave his house. Later, when Coulson went down to Stark's workshop and found one of the early prototypes of Captain America's shield in Howard Stark's casket, Stark took the shield and used it to balance the machine he was building.[16]

Later, Coulson informed Fury about the appearance of a wormhole over New Mexico, and Fury agreed to send an expedition led by Coulson himself. When Coulson asked his colleague Natasha Romanoff, the famous Black Widow, if she could handle things at Stark's house, she said yes.[17]

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Coulson trying to find out which donuts he wants.
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Finding MjølnirEdit

"Tell them those Tae-Bo tapes really paid off."
―Phil Coulson[src]

While going to New Mexico, Coulson stopped at a Roxxon 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 showing them his gun. When he gave the gun to them, he quickly knocked both of them unconscious using his S.H.I.E.L.D. training. He returned to the counter and bought two snacks, payed, told the clerk to keep the change and then left the scene.[18]

Upon arriving in the deserts of New Mexico, Coulson and his team discovered the crater site with the mysterious hammer at the center.[16] Though the locals have discovered the hammer before Coulson's team, no one was able to lift it or move it, not even with the help of their vehicles. Coulson and his men quickly set up a perimeter and a base of operations around the crater.[19] A professor who specialized in the fields of Norse mythology named Elliot Randolph helped Coulson and his group with discovering what the hammer was.[20]

Meeting "Donald Blake"Edit

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Coulson interrogates the mysterious intruder.
New CaptainAdded by New Captain
"Sorry, ma'am, we're the good guys!"
―Phil Coulson to Jane Foster[src]

Coulson's next mission was to confiscate all of the research about the mysterious wormhole that Jane Foster and her scientific team had collected. They traveled to Puente Antiguo, and despite Foster's protests, Coulson and his men took all of their equipment.[19]

The same night, an unknown man infiltrated Coulson's base and managed to single-highhandedly take out a dozen of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with various fighting styles. Coulson observed from a distance but not before asking Clint Barton to prepare to take action if necessary. When the attacker tried and failed to lift the hammer, Coulson's men easily captured him.[19]

Shortly after, Coulson interrogated the stranger about his identity and his training believing him to be a warrior of some type. However, the stranger refused to answer his questions. The interrogation was interrupted when Foster's colleague Erik Selvig arrived and informed Coulson that the stranger is Donald Blake, a member of his scientific staff. An agent confirmed Selving's story by running a background check in the computer database and finding a falsified document created by Jane Foster. Though Coulson knew that Selvig was lying, he agreed to free "Donald", only to secretly assign agents to follow Selving and "his friend".[19]

Phil Thor
Phil just before the Destroyer's attack.
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Attacked by the DestroyerEdit

"Is that one of Stark's?"
"I don't know. Guy never tells me anything.
Cale and Phil Coulson[src]

A few days later, an agent discovered the coordinates of another potential crater site that appeared to have an exact signature match to the mysterious hammer. When Coulson and a unit of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents went to investigate, they found a gigantic armor of unknown origin. As the armor slowly approached them, Agent Cale asked Coulson if the armor was one of Stark's. Coulson replied that Stark doesn't tell him anything, and tried to speak with the armor, but the iron giant attacked them.[19]

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Thor and Coulson.
New CaptainAdded by New Captain

Coulson managed to survive the attack from the armor. When the armor attacked Puente Antiguo, Coulson saw "Donald" gaining mysterious supernatural powers. When "Donald" summoned the hammer and defeated the armor, Coulson realized that "Donald" is actually Thor, the Norse God of Thunder and Prince of Asgard. Coulson confronted Thor who offered his services in protecting Earth under the sole condition that Coulson returns all of Jane's research and material back to her. Coulson agreed to Thor's terms and requested that they be debriefed just before Thor flew upwards with Jane in his arms.[19]

Later, Coulson and Barton supervised the transport of the armor to a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility.[21]

Sitwell Coulson
Sitwell and Coulson.
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New MissionsEdit

The Big ProblemEdit

"They want Blonsky in the team."
"The Abomination?"
"They really don't like when you call him that.
―Phil Coulson and Jasper Sitwell[src]

When the World Security Council ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. to recruit Emil Blonsky, the Abomination, for the Avengers Initiative, Coulson met with Agent Jasper Sitwell in a cafe to discuss that order. The Council considered Blonsky a war hero, and that he destroyed half of Harlem just because he was attacked by the Hulk. Now S.H.I.E.L.D. had to convince General Thaddeus Ross to free Blonsky.[22]

Both Coulson and Sitwell agreed that releasing Blonsky from the Army's custody would be foolish, and they decided to send a consultant to talk to Ross and convince him not to free Blonsky, someone so irritating and annoying that Ross would simply refuse to free Blonksy. Unwillingly, Coulson decided to send Tony Stark.[22]

A few days later, Coulson and Sitwell met at the same cafe. Their plan worked as they expected because Stark's annoying behaviour made Ross so angry that he refused to free Blonsky.[22]


Coulson to Widow
Coulson talks with Black Widow.
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"Nat! Stay with me, Nat!"
"Damn you, Coulson... Never call me "Nat"...
―Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff[src]

Some time later, when Natasha Romanoff was sent to Moscow to interrogate the arms dealer Mikhail Fjodorov, Coulson acted as control for her mission. After Fjodorov was killed, Romanoff cut off her contact with S.H.I.E.L.D. and started chasing Sofia, a woman who wanted to eliminate her and become the new Black Widow.[23]

Coulson then followed a pair of goons working for the arms dealer General Starodoub. Two of Coulson's men were killed by Sofia, but Coulson came just in time to save Natasha's life. He gave her the necessary equipment to infiltrate the yacht belonging to Yuri Klementiev, one of General Starodoub's business partners, where she met Sofia again, an encounter which cost them the life of agent Gennady Markov.[24]

When Coulson discovered that Sofia's employer was the billionaire Richard Frampton, Natasha infiltrated his headquarters in Vladivostok. She discovered that Frampton works for the Ten Rings terrorist organization and that he has made a Jericho missile that would explode near the border between Russia and North Korea, greatly destabilising the world peace. When Romanoff destroyed the missile, Coulson led a team of agents to the launching area where they captured all surviving members of the Ten Rings.[25]

Coulson looks at the Destroyer.
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Finding Captain AmericaEdit

"Wasn't expecting you here."
"I was woken up by a call this morning... a call from up north with big news. We've found Steve Rogers.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

A year after the battle of Puente Antiguo, a group of scientists succesfully reactivated the giant armor that attacked the city. When Coulson saw this, he told the chief scientist to make the armor a hundred times smaller and put a trigger on it.[26]

A few minutes later, Coulson was called by Fury, who informed him that Steve Rogers was finally found. When Coulson arrived at the place of the discovery, he saw his colleagues excavating Rogers' completely frozen, but still living body from the wreck of HYDRA's giant plane, the Valkyrie. However, there was no time for celebrating, as Fury immediately sent Coulson on another mission.[26]

War for EarthEdit

Loki's attackEdit

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Coulson at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. base.
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"Dr. Selvig read an energy surge from the Tesseract four hours ago."
"NASA didn't authorize Selvig to go to test phase."
"He wasn't testing it, he wasn't even in the room. Spontaneous advancement.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

A few months later, Coulson, Fury, and Fury's second in command Maria Hill were at the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility where a group of scientists studied the Tesseract, an object of seemingly unlimited power. When the Tesseract suddenly activated, with no apparent reason, a man suddenly appeared, holding a scepter of alien origin. The stranger displayed powers similar to those of Thor, and he made it clear that he wants to take possession of the Tesseract and conquer the Earth. The stranger introduced himself as Loki, and with the power of the scepter, took control over Dr. Erik Selvig, Agent Clint Barton, and several other agents. In the ensuing battle, Loki and his men escaped with the Tesseract, and the entire base was destroyed.[2]

Fearing for the safety of Jane Foster, who in the meantime had become a full-time S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist, Coulson told a fellow agent to contact her and send her to Tromsø, Norway.[27]

Contacting the Black WidowEdit

"I'll brief you on everything when you get back. But first, we need you to talk to the big guy."
"Coulson, you know that Stark trusts me about as far as he can throw me."
"Oh, I've got Stark. You get the big guy.
―Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff[src]

With the Tesseract in the hands of a hostile demigod, Nick Fury decided to form the Avengers, a group of extraordinary people who could protect the planet better than he and his men. The first candidate was Dr. Bruce Banner, the Hulk, but they needed Natasha Romanoff to convince him to join them. Coulson called Natasha on the phone, and when he told her that Barton had gone rogue, she easily defeated her captors, the Russian general Georgi Luchkov and his men, and went to India. Natasha was able to find Banner and convince him to join S.H.I.E.L.D.[2]

Visiting Tony StarkEdit

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Coulson and Pepper Potts.
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"Mr. Stark, we need to talk."
"You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark, please leave a message."
"This is urgent."
"Then leave it urgently.
―Phil Coulson and Tony Stark[src]

A few days later, Coulson visited Tony Stark in his completely finished Stark Tower, where Tony and his girlfriend Pepper Potts were having a small party. Though Tony was reluctant to join the team, he agreed when Pepper convinced him, and after Coulson gave him all the available data about the Avengers Initiative and the Tesseract.[2]

Meeting Captain AmericaEdit

Coulson meets Captain America.
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"I gotta say, it's an honor to meet you, officially. I sort of met you, I mean, I watched you while you were sleeping. I mean, I was... I was present while you were unconscious from the ice. You know, it's really, it's just a... just a huge honor to have you on board."
"Well, I hope I'm the man for the job."
"Oh, you are. Absolutely.
―Phil Coulson and Steve Rogers[src]

Coulson's next assignment was to escort Steve Rogers, the hero better known as Captain America, to the Helicarrier. Onboard the Quinjet, Coulson was more than happy to meet his all-time hero, who has joined the Avengers Initiative on Fury's invitation. When Coulson asked Rogers to sign some vintage collectible sticker cards which he gathered in around two years, he revealed the fact that Rogers has always been a model for him.[2]


"I'm sorry, boss. The god rabbited."
"Just stay awake. Eyes on me."
"No, I'm clockin' out here."
"Not an option."
"It's okay, boss. This was never gonna work if they didn't have something to...
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

Once onboard the Helicarrier, Coulson took up other duties. After the first mission of the team, Coulson said to Fury that the team is not prepared to face the common menace, and that they need to be motivated someway. When Stark managed to capture Loki in Germany, Thor suddenly appeared, and tried to take Loki back to Asgard. However, the whole group assembled on the Helicarrier, where Thor informed them about Loki's plan to conquer the planet with the army of the Chitauri. During the meeting, Coulson informed Thor that he has moved Jane to a safe place.[2]

When a brainwashed Clint Barton attacked the Helicarrier with the group of mercenaries, Loki managed to escape from his prison cell. When Coulson reached Loki's cell, he found the Asgardian free, and Thor trapped in his place. Coulson threatened Loki with a weapon created from the Destroyer, but he was aiming the weapon at an illusion; the real Loki snuck up behind Coulson and stabbed him in the back.[2]

Phil saying his "last words".
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Severely wounded, Coulson could do nothing to prevent Thor's expulsion from the Helicarrier, but he managed to land a blow on Loki with his gun. Later, when the battle was over and lost, Fury reached his agent, just in time to hear him suggesting to use his death to motivate the divided Avengers into working together as a team.[2]


"And there's one other person you pissed off. His name was Phil."
Tony Stark to Loki[src]

Coulson's death was the trigger which finally united the Avengers. A few hours later, when Loki led an army of the Chitauri against New York City, the Avengers fought a bloody battle against the alien invaders, showing that they will avenge Coulson. In the end, the Avengers were victorious, and Loki was captured and transported to Asgard.[2]


Coulson during the lifesaving operation
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The ProcedureEdit

"Let me die, please. Please. Please, I'm begging you let me die. Please! Please, let me die! Let me die, please! Please! Let me die! Please! Let me die!"
―Phil Coulson during the procedure[src]

Days after his death Nick Fury ordered extreme measures be taken to save Coulson. They took him to a former World War II bunker called the Guest House. S.H.I.E.L.D. used medical staff used a experimental drug to repair the wounded organs in a cellular level. [28] After at least seven operations, Fury's doctors were actually able to bring Coulson back to life days after he had been killed. The process was extremely, inhumanly agonizing for Coulson, who begged the doctors to let him die.

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Coulson's recollection of the events after his fatal wounds.
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During the process, they altered some of his memories with a robotic-assisted neural micro-surgery, 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. S.H.I.E.L.D. Doctor Streiten maintained that the methods used to restore Coulson to life were unethical and felt that they should have let him die.[3] The details of his revival are only available for agents with Clearance Level 10 or above.


Coulson had no memory of the time immediately following the incident. He was told that he was "dead" for only eight seconds, but Coulson knew that it was more than that. He remembered being somewhere else, in a beautiful afterlife. [29]

All he remembered was recovering in a grass shack in Tahiti reading Travis McGee novels and having a physical therapist whose command of English was "irrelevant". Dr. Streiten was reluctant to release him back into active duty given the horrific nature of his recovery and was astonished to realize that Coulson was unaware of the truth of his survival. Agent Maria Hill told Streiten that Coulson could never know the truth.[1]

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Coulson and Maria Hill.
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The New TeamEdit

The First MissionEdit

"I'm clearance Level 6. I know that Agent Coulson was killed in action before the battle of New York. Got the full report."
"Welcome to Level 7.
Grant Ward and Phil Coulson[src]
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Agents Coulson and Ward interrogate Skye.
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After his recovery, Coulson was re-inserted into duty and assembled a small, highly trained team of agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown. Among the recruited agents was also his old colleague Melinda May, one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best field operatives.[1]

In the team's first mission, they investigated the case of Michael Peterson, a man who had been given powers from an unknown benefactor using the Centipede Device. During this mission, Coulson recruited the Rising Tide hacker Skye onto the team.[1]

New ActionsEdit

"You used to have 100 men at your disposal, and now...?"
"A hand-picked team. And yes, they're that good.
Camilla Reyes and Phil Coulson[src]
Agent Coulson in Peru.
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Soon after, the team headed to Peru to investigate the appearance of an 0-8-4, where Coulson was reunited with―and betrayed by―his old flame Commandante Camilla Reyes.[6] This was followed by trips first to Colorado, and then to Malta to affect the rescue of S.H.I.E.L.D. asset Dr. Franklin Hall, an old teacher of Coulson's teammates Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. Coulson and Agent Grant Ward infiltrated the compound of Ian Quinn to reach Hall, but Coulson found Hall unwilling to leave.[30]

Hall was determined to destroy the supply of Gravitonium procured by Quinn. In the actions that followed, Hall was seemingly lost, enveloped by the Gravitonium. Coulson, believing that it was what Hall would have wanted, ordered the Gravitonium be stored in an unmarked vault in The Fridge without any record of its existence, keeping it out of the hands of any who would abuse it, even S.H.I.E.L.D.[30]

Soon after, Coulson became aware of a number of jewelry heists that he suspected were being committed by his old protégé, Akela Amador. After confirming Amador's involvement, Coulson and the team tracked her from Stockholm, Sweden, to Zloda, Belarus, where they discovered that she was, in fact, being controlled by an unknown handler through a bionic implant in her eye. The eye was of a technology more advanced than anything at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s disposal and spoke to the resources of Amador's mysterious captors.[31]

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Coulson and Akela Amador.
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Coulson and his team managed to track down and subdue Amador, hijack the signal that was controlling her, and ultimately remove the implant, freeing her. Coulson, with May's help, tracked down Amador's handler, but when confronted, the man dropped dead from his own implant, deepening the mystery.[31]

Coulson again investigated the Centipede Project in Hong Kong, where he led an unsuccessful mission to rescue the Index-registered individual Chan Ho Yin, who had been kidnapped by the mysterious agency.[7]

Skye's MysteryEdit

"Why are you here? You've been keeping something from us this whole time. And it wasn't just a boyfriend. You have a secret, Skye, and one chance to come out with it. That's now, or I'm done with you."
―Phil Coulson to Skye[src]

While tracking Rising Tide hacker Miles Lydon, Coulson and the team were seemingly betrayed by Skye, who warned Lydon that S.H.I.E.L.D. was on his trail, choosing loyalty to her boyfriend over S.H.I.E.L.D. After the incident, Coulson chose to give Skye another chance, but only if she came completely clean with him and agreed to wear a Tracking Bracelet at all times.[7]

Coulson with Skye.
TurtletrekkerAdded by Turtletrekker

Skye agreed and told Coulson of her life-long quest to find the truth about her parents, who disappeared mysteriously when she was an infant. The only evidence about them that Skye had ever found was a single document from the orphanage that she grew up in with all of the pertinent data redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson agreed to help Skye and find out what he could about her parents, but warned her that she might not like what she finds.[7]

Later, after a visit to The Hub, Coulson was true to his word and looked up the un-redacted file. Coulson told Skye that the document was actually about the woman who dropped her off at the orphanage, an un-identified S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Coulson discovered more than that however, but chose to keep the rest of the information from Skye until he knew more. To this end, he recruited Melinda May to help him uncover the truth.[32]

Coulson with Agent Victoria Hand.
TurtletrekkerAdded by Turtletrekker

Soon after, Coulson and May tracked down Richard Lumley, the only surviving agent from the old case involving Skye's parents in Mexico City, Mexico. Lumley revealed to Coulson that S.H.I.E.L.D. had designated the infant Skye as an 0-8-4, an object on unknown origin. He then revealved to Coulson how the agents involved in the case were systematically killed afterward and how agent Linda Avery hid Skye in the foster care system before being murdered herself. Tiring of secrets, Coulson chose to reveal this classified information to Skye.[33]

"A Magical Place"Edit

"It's a magical place."
―Phil Coulson[src]

Coulson soon began to realize that the circumstances of his recovery didn't quite add up. He began having troubles with simple actions that should be performed through muscle memory, something that he originally wrote-off as his simply being "rusty".[30] Also, every time his recovery in Tahiti was mentioned, Coulson would automatically reply, "It's a magical place" as if it were a programmed response,[1][6] something Coulson himself eventually noticed.[32] Akela Amador noticed something different about Coulson and was certain that something had been done to him.[31]

Coulson with Mike Peterson.
UskokAdded by Uskok

Coulson eventually decided to investigate the matter himself and requested access to his "Death and Recovery" report, only to be told that he didn't have access to the file despite having the appropriate authorization to see it. Coulson declined to put in a formal request to Nick Fury to see the file.[32]

Soon after, Coulson began to have nightmares about Tahiti.[20]

The Truth RevealedEdit

"Whatever this is, whatever you think you’re doing, it won’t work. I won’t give you what you want."
"You will. And what we want is simple: we want you to tell us about the day after you died.
―Coulson and Raina[src]

The truth finally came out after Coulson was kidnapped by the Centipede Project, who sought the secret of Coulson's resurrection as the Clairvoyant foresaw that this information was the key to "Stage Three" of their super-soldier project.[34]

Group operative Raina treated Coulson with a device that utilized Theta-waves to stimulate hidden memories. Coulson remembered the horrific, catastrophic pain that he endured in the process of bringing him back and the bizarre machine that worked on his exposed brain.[3]

Coulson with Raina.
TurtletrekkerAdded by Turtletrekker

Coulson was rescued by his team before he could reveal any of this to Raina, and soon after he confronted one of the doctors involved, Dr. Streiten. Streiten confirmed that the process had been ordered by Director Fury himself and that Fury had brought Streiten in with the seventh procedure to restore Coulson.[3]

Streiten informed Coulson that the process to restore him had robbed him of his will to live and that they had implanted the false memory of Tahiti to help restore the man he had been.[3]

Soon after, Coulson was allowed to see the full report on his death and recovery. [33]

Tracking the ClairvoyantEdit


After learning of Ian Quinn's ties to the Clairvoyant,[33]Coulson focused his team's efforts on finding and apprehending Quinn. Upon finding records Quinn of making a ten-million dollar purchase from Cybertek, and Coulson's belief that Cybertek would deliver this purchase to Quinn personally, Coulson made arrangements for his team to go undercover.[35]

Coulson made arrangements with the Italian authorities to allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to take over the investigations on Cybertek, and placed his team on the train which Cybertek security chief Carlo Mancini was travelling to make the delivery to Quinn.[35]

Coulson Night-Night Grenade
Coulson tracking Cybertek in Italy.
UskokAdded by Uskok

Unfortunately, Coulson and his team were betrayed by local officer Luca Russo, who was working with Cybertek, and was being paid large amounts of money to ensure that Cybertek's deliveries went unhindered. Coulson, along with agents Ward and May, were separated from the train, leaving only Agents Fitz, Simmons and Skye to track the delivery.[35]

Coulson managed to track down his team, Cybertek and Quinn at a mansion on the Italian countryside, but not before Cybertek delivered Quinn's purchase-- a Cybertek Prosthetic Leg made for captured former S.H.I.E.L.D. trainee Michael Peterson in the Clairvoyant's efforts to transform Peterson into the cybernetic assassin called "Deathlok", nor before Quinn shot Skye twice in the stomach at the behest of the Clairvoyant.[35]

After taking Quinn into custody, Coulson found the wounded Skye and called for Agent Jemma Simmons. Simmons managed to temporarily prevented Skye from dying by placing her into a Hyperbaric Chamber, which lowered her core body temperature for the two-hour transport to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Trauma Zentrum in Switzerland.[35]

The Guest HouseEdit

At the Guest House, Coulson found a shocking secret, the serum that saved his life was derived from an Kree corpse. However, the drug was injected into Skye.[28] After Skye recovered, Coulson told her his concerns about the side effects and banned Simmons from trying to reuse the blood samples with the drug. Meanwhile, Melinda May called a secret phone line and told Nick Fury that "Coulson knows" the truth.[36]

Chasing DeathlokEdit

Coulson and his team came to an abandoned race track where they found Deathlok and Thomas Nash. Nash was later killed by Ward who believed he was the Clairvoyant. Coulson got concerned because he believed that the case was solved too simply. When Skye found S.H.I.E.L.D. psychological files had the same information the Clairvoyant knew, Coulson realized that the Clairvoyant is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, not a psychic. Believing that Ward killed Nash to cover up his tracks Coulson interrogates Ward only for Ward to deny having any association with the Centipede group. Skye quickly came in to tell Coulson that May had a secrect phoneline on the plane. Coulson now believing that May is the Clairvoyant holds May at gunpoint, when suddenly, Victoria Hand takes over the plane and orders her men to kill everyone on board but to take Coulson alive.[37]

S.H.I.E.L.D Civil WarEdit

After Captain America exposed to the public that HYDRA had been growing inside of S.H.I.E.L.D agents sent out a secrect message to any loyal agents that HYDRA was inside S.H.I.E.L.D Coulson and his team along with Agent John Garrett recieved the messsage and concluded that Hand must be the Clairvoyant. Knowing thatt Hand is leading them to the Hub to killed but also knowing that Simmons is there Coulson, the team and Garrett decided to fight their way through to rescue Simmons and Capture Hand. Couslon argues with Garrett on the matter of if they should kill Hand or capture only for Garrett to reveal that he is the Clairvoyant when he accidently reveals that Raina was the one who had him in the machine: something he did not include in his report. Realizing that Garrett masterminded everything including his torture and Skye being shot. Angred Coulson denies Garretts offer to join Hydra. As Garrett prepares to excute all of them the group is resued when Skye and Ward sucessfully blow up the main generator. Coulson and the team then subdue Garrett and his men as Hand arrives having heard Garretts confession. As Agents take all Hydra agents into custody Hands tells Coulson to stay in contact as with Fury dead they are highest ranking agents that are not Hydra or dead. 


  • Smith & Wesson M&P: The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol is the standard sidearm carried by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and as such, Coulson uses it to threat or shoot most of his enemies.
  • Night-Night Pistol: Sometimes, agent Coulson needs to apply non-lethal force to subdue a target without permanent harm, favouring the use of the Night-Night Pistol designed by agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. This weapon allows to render the target unconscious to be safely captured, such as when he captured Akela Amador while she was fighting against agent Melinda May.
  • I.C.E.R. (Pistol Version): After agent Leo Fitz improved the technology of the Night-Night Gun, Coulson changed the now obsolete weapon and favoured the use of the pistol version of the I.C.E.R.s. He used one of these in a gunfight against some men enthralled by the asgardian Lorelei, to take them out without having to kill them.
  • Destroyer Armor Prototype Gun: When Loki escaped confinement aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Coulson retrieved the Destroyer Gun from secure storage. He confronted Loki, pointing the gun at him, and although he was stabbed from behind, Coulson managed to fire off one powerful shot that severely hurt Loki, did not prevented him from escaping the Helicarrier.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Although Coulson's role as a field agent is not focused into combat operations, whenever he feels hostilities may arise during a mission, he wears a bulletproof vest under his jacket, able to withstand ballistic impact from many calibers.
  • Pick-Lock Device: One of Coulson's favourite gadgets, a little explosive used whenever he has to infiltrate a compound and finds closed doors too difficult to hack immediately.


Phil Coulson is highly trained in multiple martial arts and hand to hand combat styles. He is skilled in use of military assault weapons as well as edged weapons. He is an expert at intelligence and espionage and speaks Spanish. An accomplished logistics specialist, Coulson assesses tactical situations and implements equipment and personnel as needed.


Only a few of Coulson's collectibles.
TurtletrekkerAdded by Turtletrekker

Coulson is an avid collector of antiques and memorabilia, particularly in regard to S.H.I.E.L.D and the history of espionage.

Notable items in Coulson's collection have at one point included all of the following--

  • Lola: The jewel of Coulson's collection, Lola is a vintage 1962 Corvette with modifications based on designs and technologies created by Howard Stark, including flight capability (VTOL).
  • Metal Storm VLE Handgun: A prototype handgun that uses two 7-round 9mm barrels and two 3-round 15mm barrels for non-lethal ammunition.
  • Minox Spy Camera: A subminiature camera developed before World War II and favoured by intelligence agencies due to its small size and macro focusing ability.


Friends and AlliesEdit

Greater goodAdded by Greater good



In chronological order--

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • In the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agent Coulson is 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 is 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." 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."

Trivia Edit

  • Clark Gregg also voices Agent Coulson in the TV series Ultimate Spider-Man, where Coulson is drawn in Clark Gregg's likeness.
  • 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.
  • During a flashback to his time in Tahiti, Coulson used the question "Did I fall asleep?" to which his masseuse replied "For a little while." This was a programmed response used in Joss Whedon's TV show Dollhouse whenever one of the characters was being brainwashed.


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