It was initially difficult to watch Agent Coulson die in The Avengers. He was a character a lot of fans came to love, which is why Marvel set events into motion that brought him back to life for the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. At first I thought it was cool that Coulson was coming back, but now I’m kind of wishing they had left him dead, especially since it does’t sound like he’ll be coming back for any of the other Marvel movies.
In an interview with Mental Floss, Joss Whedon discussed several things such as wanting to work on original projects again and what it’s like working with Marvel and the policies that they have set in place for their films. But one of the more interesting things he discussed were his feelings on Marvel bringing Agent Phil Coulson and other characters back to life.
When asked about the various Marvel movie characters who have seemingly died in the MCU, and how many more times do he thinks a character’s death can have an impact if it doesn’t have a permanent effect, he said:
“A lot of people come back in The Winter Soldier. It’s a grand Marvel tradition. Bucky was supposed to die. And the Coulson thing was, I think, a little anomalous just because that really came from the television division, which is sort of considered to be its own subsection of the Marvel universe. As far as the fiction of the movies, Coulson is dead.
“But I have to say, watching the first one with my kids—I had not watched the first one since it came out—and then watching it with my kids and watching Coulson die but [thinking], 'Yeah, but I know that he kind of isn’t,' it did take some of the punch out of it for me. Of course, I spent a lot of time making sure he didn’t. And at the time it seemed inoffensive, as long as it wasn’t referenced in the second movie, which it isn’t.
“There’s a thing where you can do that so many times and there’s nothing at stake. But it’s difficult because you’re living in franchise world—not just Marvel, but in most big films—where you can’t kill anyone, or anybody significant. And now I find myself with a huge crew of people and, although I’m not as bloodthirsty as some people like to pretend, I think it’s disingenuous to say we’re going to fight this great battle, but there’s not going to be any loss. So my feeling in these situations with Marvel is that if somebody has to be placed on the altar and sacrificed, I’ll let you guys decide if they stay there.”
The death of Coulson definitely would have had a much stronger impact had he actually died. If Marvel keep giving us these fake deaths, whenever we see someone seemingly die on the big screen, we just aren’t going to buy into it, and it will loose its effect. Hell, we may already have lost it!
Unless they come back as zombies, maybe some of these Marvel characters should just stay dead. What do you think?