‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans will almost unanimously admit they started watching because it meant the return of Phil Coulson. Clark Gregg explains EXCLUSIVELY how the upcoming season threw him for a loop, seeing as his iconic Marvel character was not returning, even though he was. *SPOILERS AHEAD*
Last May, fans weren’t sure if the final moments of Phil Coulson, standing on beach next to his love, Melinda May, would actually be his last. Though it was hinted on all season that Phil would actually meet his end, the show was soon after picked up for a sixth season — and after all, the whole premise of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to begin with was Phil coming back from the dead after dying in the first Avengers movie. Sadly, when the show returned on May 10, it was clear Phil Coulson was truly gone, and his absence was felt by the brave team he assembled and the ones who loved him best. However, Clark Gregg is far from done starring on the show and his return proved to be one of the biggest twists of the start of season six.
In the premiere, Clark returns as Sarge, a mysterious leader of a violent, mercenary group, hellbent on bringing destruction to Earth. So, basically, the complete opposite of Phil Coulson. Chatting with Clark before the premiere, he admitted he had reservations about taking on the new, villain-level role. “Officially, no!” Clark laughed when we asked him if he initially liked the new direction the writers were taking with him. “[The writers] have proven [themselves] and they have earned the right to go where they want to go. On this show, it’s their character and they are kind enough to involve me and make sure things sit well with me — and sometimes they don’t. I was thrown by the pitch of season six; it wasn’t clear where it was going to end up … There are goal posts; there is a sketch, and what I kind of think is amazing about it is it evolves as we go, based on what is working, because the audience is a part of it.”
Clark admits, however, that having filmed the season, and seeing the first episode before the premiere, has renewed his faith. “None of us – except for me since I directed the first one – none of us had seen any of season six until just a couple of days ago. We wrapped five months ago, and usually, we have the sounding board of the audience that is seeing it and figure out what is working, but we really haven’t had that, so it is a big trust exercise. Not always my forte, but I feel like the way the show and [the creative team] have pushed it and how the writers and crew have accomplished things together … it’s very rare, and I don’t think any season has been like the one before it. I feel like it has continuously evolved and has gone into various corners of the Marvel Universe that haven’t been used or used enough, so we made a hell of a great thing out of it. I have loved all of it — from Ghost Rider to the LMD Wars and the future — and I think it is best that I go wherever they take me.”
But, in theory, Coulson is not completely gone for good. Though he’s no longer a part of the show, fans of Coulson enjoyed seeing him return in the Marvel smash hit, Captain Marvel, which returned to the days of S.H.I.E.L.D in the 90’s, when Coulson was just getting his start alongside Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Given the film’s massive success, there is no question a sequel with Brie Larson at the helm should be coming soon, and if it does, it sounds like Clark is ready to join the team again. “It was really fun! Clark said about being in Captain Marvel. “With everything that is going on with Endgame and Infinity War, it was really fun going to the nineties and have an origin story with Nick Fury and I. Listening to nineties music and being involved in a blockbuster is all sorts of fun.”
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Season 6 airs on Friday nights on ABC.