The series finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs tonight (August 12) on ABC, and last week, KSiteTV participated in an online press junket to discuss the finale with members of the series cast.
Now, the spotlight falls on the man whose determined fans insisting #CoulsonLives lead to a series — Clark Gregg, who first appeared as Phil Coulson way back in the first Iron Man movie in 2008. In seven seasons, Gregg has played several variations of Phil Coulson — Director Coulson, Agent Coulson, “Sarge…” and apparently there’s even a fanfiction version of Coulson that is a “randy minotaur.” Did he have a particular favorite?
“I’ve really had fun,” he says. “I’ve had so many fun versions of it. When Joss showed up with the Avengers and made him a kind of nervous Cap fanboy, that blew me away. Of course he is, that makes so much sensw~ And then to have him kind of back from the dead thinking he had a close call and then finding out he’s got alien memories… they’ve given me so much exciting stuff to play. To be Sarge, the evil stone Cold killer from another galaxy… But really, I think to come back to synthetic AI, Original Gangster Coulson for this last run with his family, saving the world before they say goodbye…. I really don’t think it could have been better. And I really have to say I think the writers walk that line of giving fans what they want, but not in any way that’s felt too sentimental or cheap. It really kind of came with a cost.”
Those who followed Coulson over the years will really enjoy seeing tonight’s finale. “There is a full circle type of moment for Phillip J. Coulson that puts him back in touch with one of the great loves of his life, and that was very satisfying. And I mean what they did — like everything else, it feels very familiar what they did there in the finale, but then it’s got a whole twist to it.” Gregg also teases something “high tech” and praises the work that the show’s visual effects team has brought to the series.
“Mark Kolpack has always been a huge part of why our show worked more and more as it went along. They delivered in these last couple of episodes which were truly mind bending,” he says.
As for the show’s legacy?
“It’s the show the fans built, in that Coulson was dead. He had become an avatar; kind of regular guy, kind of in the green room marshalling all of the rockstar superheroes, and he struck a chord with fans, and when they when the Asgardian bastards shanked him, they weren’t having it. They did a Coulson Lives campaign, and Marvel and ABC, to their credit, listened, and suddenly we had a show. We kept trying to make the show that that we wanted, [that] the fans wanted, and kept on,” Clark reflects.
“The other thing that I feel super proud about is from the beginning of the show, one of the key ideas behind the show was that it was going to be a team of regular people working with superheroes that looked like the world, and there has been a level of diversity. The strongest characters in the show were women, early on. The first superhero we had within the team was Chloe, and a lot of the world was catching up with that. Certainly we kept trying to evolve and get better at that part of the game, as we went along, but from the beginning, that was part of what our show was, and I’m proud of that,” he says.
Could we ever see Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson again?
“I mean, I feel like I’ve really put in some time. It’s been 11 years,” he laughs. “It’s hard for me to imagine the scenario, unless it’s like one of those ‘Gilligan’s Island Returns’ kind of reunion shows… I probably wouldn’t say no to that either. It’s hard for me to imagine saying no to a Phil Coulson thing.”