The one constant of the Marvel movies to date – well, except The Incredible Hulk, but I think Marvel would rather forget that one existed, in many ways – has been Clark Gregg’s SHIELD Agent Coulson, who’s gone from being a background character in the first Iron Man to taking center stage in Thor and being introduced at Comic-Con as one of the stars of The Avengers. I got a chance to talk to him quickly while he was promoting tomorrow’s Iron Man 2 DVD release and watching the Raytheon XOS2 suit in action last week, and got some vague hints about what to expect from future Marvel movies, Agent Coulson’s career, and why he expects to die at any moment.
On his role in Thor:
How much can I say without being attacked by one of the Marvel spy satellites? [I have] a more prominent role in Thor, a bigger job to take care of than I have in the Iron Man movies, in that Agent Coulson has been doing some legwork for Nick Fury in Iron Man and basically babysitting bad boy Tony Stark a bit in Iron Man 2, but when the hammer shows up in the desert of New Mexico, it’s my operation. Whatever happens, it’s my problem.
On not appearing in Captain America, and how to get around that:
My beautiful streak is going to be broken soon. They’re still shooting, and I keep telling them that just because it takes place in 1940 shouldn’t keep Agent Coulson out of it. I could play my grandfather. That’s what I pitched. I haven’t gotten the call.
On how connected Thor will be to The Avengers:
I haven’t seen a cut of Thor yet, I’ve only seen the trailer. I think it’s safe to say that, having seen the Iron Man movies and read early drafts of Thor, that everything in this Marvel Universe is part of a grander scheme and it seems, at least, a first act of this giant epic that they’re attempting really seems to be culminating in The Avengers, so you’re going to see some of the elements of Thor paying off in the Avengers movie.
On his love for comics:
I wasn’t an obsessive fan. I thought I was a big comic fan until I went to Comic-Con, but then I saw what comic worship was actually like. I definitely had a couple of comics I was really into, I spent more time than I should have attempting to recreate those tales in my notebook. I was an Iron Man fan. I always liked Iron Man, I thought that flawed character who’s working with technology more than any superpower was always a cool thing. I was really into Bruce Lee and the kung-fu craze when it hit the States in the ’70s, so I really liked this guy Iron Fist, and I liked this trippy guy, Warlock. I liked Silver Surfer a lot, because I was skateboarding… I’m that guy. I’m the 1970s guy.
On seeing himself as a comic character for the first time:
Did I like it? It’s my wallpaper. It’s weird, on the one hand, it’s a childhood dream come true, but on the other, I felt like someone from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I kept expecting someone to tell me I only had a few more months to live.
On when the world will get its own Agent Coulson movie:
I’m ready. I’m waiting for that call. Definitely Agent Coulson is really shrewd, he doesn’t get into fights that he can’t win. So he’s waiting for the right moment, for a feeble enough opponent to come along. Certainly in Thor, there are some exciting moments involving Agent Coulson. I’m not going to say another word.
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