From the moment Marvel announced that a S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series was in the works, fans hoped that beloved honorary Avenger Phil Coulson could somehow return to lead the new series, despite his apparent fate in 'The Avengers.' That wish was finally granted as 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' began production, but the mystery remains: how will Agent Coulson return from the grave? New rumors have emerged that may just have spilled the beans, so read at your own peril inside!

The mantra "Coulson Lives" has circulated since 'The Avengers' hit theaters, though countless theories have arisen as to how the fan-favorite character could ultimately return to the franchise. Fans eagerly anticipating ABC's Joss Whedon-helmed 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' pilot are perhaps most eager to learn what brings Coulson back to the fold, but according to Slashfilm's supposed inside source, the reveal is a bit less complicated than we might have imagined.


In the pilot, it’s revealed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the ultimate super spy, faked Agent Coulson’s death on purpose to motivate The Avengers. Some S.H.I.E.L.D. members were in on it (including, possibly, Maria Hill played by Cobie Smulders) but The Avengers were not. Their security clearance wasn’t high enough.

Coulson was forced to hold his breath as part of the ruse and that’s a point of contention among his colleagues After the fact, Fury moved him to a remote location until things died down, and then he was reinserted into duty at the time of the show.

Certainly Coulson's participation in a ruse to motivate the Avengers to assemble seems plausible, but near as we can tell, there isn't a great deal of fact or confirmation to bolster Slashfilm's claims. And after all, doesn't that seem just a bit too easy? If nothing else, we'll hopefully learn within the next month if ABC plans to take 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' to series, but consider it likely for the moment.

Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ TV series features a cast that includes Clark Gregg’s resurrected Agent Phil Coulson, as well as Whedon vet J. August Richards,  ‘ER’ doc Ming-Na, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker as the other agents of the team. Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson previously stated that he expected to be involved in some small capacity, while ‘How I Met Your Mother‘ and ‘The Avengers‘ star Cobie Smulders remains open to the possibility as well.

What say you? Do you believe Slashfilm's explanation of Coulson's return to 'Agents of SHIELD?' How do you think the character's resurrection should be explained?