Agent Philip "Phil" Coulson is a character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was the former director and later the field commander of the second incarnation of S.H.I.E.L.D., first appearing in the 2008 Marvel film, Iron Man. He is featured prominently in the 2012 Marvel action film, The Avengers, and a main character in the first five seasons of the 2013 television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC.
Phil Coulson is a high-ranking and trusted agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. In 2007, Coulson traveled with May and the others agents to Bahrain to find a woman with strange powers called Eva Belyakov. During this mission, they talked about the construction of the Triskelion and recruiting powerful people onto a team.
After Pepper discovers that Obadiah had ordered Tony Stark to be killed and her life is put at risk, she turns to Coulson for protection. Coulson goes to arrest Obadiah Stane, now the Iron Monger but is unable to apprehend him. This led to a battle between Iron Man and the Iron Monger over Los Angeles. After the battle, Tony Stark holds a press conference. Coulson gives him an alibi, which Tony eventually disregards, and instead declares, "I am Iron Man."
Iron Man 2
In Iron Man 2, Coulson is present at Tony Stark's hearing with Senator Stern. He also bumps into Pepper Potts, telling her he can't help Stark out of this. He is then ordered to keep Stark at his house. Later, he visits Tony to inform him that he will travel to New Mexico by order of Director Nick Fury. In a post-credits scene, Coulson calls Fury to inform him that they have located a mysterious object.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer
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In Thor, after arriving in New Mexico, Coulson and his team discover that the mysterious object had been discovered by the locals, but they could not move it, even when using their vehicles. Coulson later confiscated the work of Jane Foster about wormholes. That night, when Thor infiltrates the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Coulson advises Agent Barton to attack if necessary. Coulson sees that Thor cannot move the hammer, and sends agents to capture him.
Coulson interrogates Thor, who does not answer any of his questions. Selvig comes to rescue Thor saying that he was a member of his team and his name was Donald Blake, although Coulson does not believe him. They release "Donald", but Coulson sends agents to follow them, just in case. Days later, Sitwell informs Coulson about a new crater in New Mexico. Coulson travels there, where they discover the Destroyer.
The Destroyer attacks them, but they are saved by a re-powered Thor. Thor, the Prince of Asgard, promises to protect the Earth so long as S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Jane Foster's work. Coulson wants to ask Thor some questions, but Thor goes to Asgard to confront Loki.
As the World Security Council sought to liberate the Emil Blonsky, the Abomination, because they considered him a war hero, Coulson and Sitwell devised a plan to avoid this. The plan was to send someone very annoying to General Ross to convince him not to release Blonsky. Coulson sends Tony to talk to Ross. Days later, Sitwell and Coulson meet and talk about the success of their plan.
Coulson visits Tony to ask him to join the Avengers but Tony refuses because Fury considered him not qualified to be an avenger. Finally Stark joins the team with the help of Pepper. Back to Helicarrier, Coulson talks with Captain America, he says to Rogers that he was always his favorite hero and he's happy to meet him.
After the first mission of the team, Coulson tells Fury that they were not prepared to be a team and they needed something or someone to motivate them. Suddenly, Barton attacks the Helicarrier, Coulson goes to see Loki but he finds Thor trapped. Coulson threat Loki but the Asgardian teleports and stabs Coulson in the back. As he died, Coulson suggests Fury to use his death to inspire the team.
Phil is back, eager to form a specialized team of individuals to brave the post-Battle of New York world. He believes this small team of normal people, when working together, can make just as much of a difference as those with superpowers.
Phil appears in the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Before the events of The Avengers, Coulson oversaw Project T.A.H.I.T.I. which was made to heal a wounded Avenger with the GH-325 from an alien corpse. Coulson recommended to shutdown the project. Phil died for days instead of minutes. Phil got fully resurrected on the 7th procedure of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. because he is considered an Avenger. To prevent trauma, Phil had an image of staying at Tahiti by a machine. He returns in active duty assembling a team consisting of agent Melinda May, HYDRA infiltrator Grant Ward, tech specialists Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz, and former Rising Tide hacktivist Skye. He is unsure about the events surrounding his revival until the episode "The Magical Place". In the episode "Beginning of the End", Nick Fury offered Coulson to rebuild the destroyed S.H.I.E.L.D. from scratch. As a side effect from the drug, Coulson wrote strange alien writings.
In "Shadows", Coulson sends Skye to talk with Grant Ward because Ward just wants to talk to her. Agent May captures Talbot to converse with Coulson. Talbot is reluctant to help Coulson, then Phil shoots a tranquilizer. Later, Coulson sends a group of agents to a military base, they have two missions: one has to get the Obelisk and the other a Quinjet. The group could only get the Quinjet since Creel got the Obelisk.
In "A Fractured House", after HYDRA agents disguised as SHIELD agents attacked the United Nations facilities, Coulson sends Morse, Hunter, and May in Okinawa, Japan to get information about the artifacts used during the attack. He later interrupted a conversation between Ward and Skye. Phil and Senator Ward have a conversation about the Ward family. During this conversation Christian asks Coulson to hand over Grant to be brought to justice, Coulson agrees. Coulson was present when Ward was moved to another location to serve his sentence.
In "The Things We Bury", Coulson, Triplett, Skye, and Fitz go to Hawaii, he gives individual assignments to all. Then they go to Laura Creek, Australia where they to infiltrate in a military base. The objective of this mission was to use its satellites to find the mysterious city. Upon infiltrating, Coulson and his team are found agents of HYDRA. The confrontation results with Triplett injured but saved by Calvin Zabo. Before Phil and Fitz say to Skye that they met her father, the satellites finds the city.
In "Love in the Time of HYDRA", as Skye could not control her powers, Coulson took her to a cabin to make her relax. He promised to return in a couple of days, though she did not believe him. Later, Talbot informed that Grant Ward Coulson and Agent 33 had released Sunil Bakshi, for unknown reasons. After the conversation with Talbot, Coulson and May agreed that Alphonso Mackenzie was hiding something.
While Mack checked Lola, Coulson asked him for whom he worked. When he realized that Morse had betrayed him, Coulson sent May to confront the treacherous agent. He later was captured by Robert Gonzales and his men, Coulson told Gonzales that he was looking for a long time because he wanted him for his team. Later, Coulson managed to escape after Melinda May knocked out Gonzales. Coulson met on a Caribbean island with Lance Hunter, who finally accepted his job offer.
Coulson with the help of Lance Hunter kidnap Kara Palamas better known as Agent 33 in order to talk with Grant Ward. He offered Ward use the TAHITI Protocol to erase his memory and them let him go. When Bakshi did not kept the agreement, he was very angry that nearly caused a fight between his team and Ward and Agent 33. Later, the team broke into Zabo's building to save Skye from HYDRA. When HYDRA outnumbered them, Ward asked him what they should do. Since there was no other way, Coulson decided to surrender and talk to Robert Gonzales.
After surrender, Coulson asked Robert Gonzales aid in their fight against HYDRA. Gonzales agreed, but on condition that the Council decide if they should help. After a favorable vote for him, Coulson and his team went to the Arctic to rescue Deathlok and destroy the HYDRA base. After an intense battle, the team was able to rescue the prisoners and destroy the penultimate base known of HYDRA. Coulson keep its promise and opened the toolbox to Gonzales. But he warned that Gonzales would have to return it because Fury still remained the owner of the Toolbox. Later, he told Maria Hill the location of Loki's scepter and it was time to call the Avengers.
- Clark Gregg stated in August 2011 that he'd been getting himself into "fighting shape" for The Avengers as Coulson would be "responsible for shepherding" the film's superheroes together.