Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has performed an impressive amount of legwork setting up The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but for many a Marvel fan, it always comes back to Coulson standing side-by-side with his fellow Avengers. That reunion may yet take awhile, as Joss Whedon apparently still considers Phil Coulson dead, as of the Age of Ultron.

You’re warned of major spoilers for the first Avengers (and who are you, really?), as well as the second season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but in spite of contractual hurdles keeping any Avengers off the small-screen, the door apparently isn’t open for Coulson to reveal his survival to the big guys either. In a lengthy profile with BuzzFeed, Joss Whedon suggested that Age of Ultron would consider the character dead, lest it undermine the impact of his death in the first film:

As far as I’m concerned, in this movie, Coulson’s dead. If you come back in the sequel and say Coulson’s alive, it’s like putting fucking John Gielgud in the sequel to Arthur. It mattered that he’s gone. It’s a different world now. And you have to run with that.

Granted Joss was a major proponent in resuscitating Coulson for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place, calling the decision “a no-brainer,” we can’t necessarily argue with his assertion that a second Avengers film should honor the first, regardless of how many Phase 2 movies we’ve had in between. That isn’t to say that Coulson could never pop up in the celluloid MCU through any of Phase 3, what with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. setting up the Inhumans, or Netflix’s Defenders (and whoever else) making the leap to The Avengers: Infinity War.

In any case, fans of both Marvel’s TV and movie side will still have plenty of crossover to enjoy, as the final Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 episodes have lain strong groundwork for a major Age of Ultron sequence, one Cobie Smulders‘ Maria Hill will serve as a bridge toward. As to when we’ll see Captain America or Iron Man sobbing over a resurrected Coulson, there’s always next year. Or my fan-fiction.

You can preview next week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. below, which itself will debut an exclusive Age of Ultron scene. See? Coulson Crossover lives!

More From ScreenCrush