Phil Coulson

Phil Coulson is the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Beta. Prior to his appointment, he was one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. best operatives. He served as Former Director Nick Fury's right-hand man for his most important missions. He was put in charge of surveillance and served as the primary operative in Fury's Avengers Initiative. Agent Coulson also ran ground interference and tactical operations in Puente Antiguo, New Mexico as part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s investigation surrounding the incident with Thor and the Destroyer. Coulson was also the primary S.H.I.E.L.D. operative in the investigation into Stark Industries: Sector 16 and the incident on the Howard Stark Memorial Freeway.

Prior to the Battle of New York, Agent Coulson was killed by Loki. His death gave the Avengers the push they needed to band together and stop the Chitauri Invasion. On the orders of Director Fury, Coulson was brought to the Guest House, a secret facility where he was brought back to life using treatments developed by Project T.A.H.I.T.I. a project which he had formerly presided over. To preserve his sanity after he was healed, all memory of these events were removed from his mind.

Coulson returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. to lead a new team to investigate the cases S.H.I.E.L.D. had not yet classified. While on this team, Coulson discovered the truth about the events after his death. During the S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War, despite the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the betrayal of a member of his team, he led his team against the forces of HYDRA, attempting to stop his former colleague John Garrett, winning the final battle in which Garrett was ultimately defeated. After the battle, Nick Fury appointed him the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., ordering him to rebuild the organization from scratch.


Coulson's Youth and First ActionsEdit

The son of Robert and Julie Coulson,[1] Phil Coulson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 8, 1964. Coulson grew up being a huge fan of Captain America, acquiring a vintage Captain America Card Collection over the course of two years. [2] Coulson lost his father at a very young age, and his mother is now deceased as well.[3] After high school,[4], he was recruited right away to the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, eventually becoming a special agent and was taught by his supervising officer Nick Fury alongside John Garrett[5].

Coulson's first mission was with Melinda May. He was sent on a retrieval operation to a coffee shop in Sausalito. Unfortunately, there was not an exit strategy. May was in the bay for five hours until Coulson eventually fished her out. [6]

Coulson later went on to become Fury's trusted right-hand man.

In 2002, Coulson was sent to Cusco, Peru. During the mission, he met and befriended Camilla Reyes, an officer of the Peruvian Military. It is also possible that their relationship was greater than just a friendship.[7]

At some point, Coulson recruited a talented woman named Akela Amador into S.H.I.E.L.D. Amador was not a team player and did not see the value of teamwork, but Coulson felt that he could nurture these qualities in her. In 2006, Amador led a raid into one of the gulags run by the notorious criminal Vanchat that had a disastrous outcome. Fearing the worst, Coulson sent a second team in to verify the loss of Amador's team. While the second team found evidence of carnage, there was no evidence that Amador was one of the victims, leading Coulson to believe she was still alive. Coulson followed up an rumors that Amador was being held in Shanxi Province, but she had already been moved by her captors.[8]

Over the years, Coulson developed a good friendship with the legendary specialist agent Melinda May. The two often spoke being able to pick their own ops and call their own shots.[9]

On an Index Asset Evaluation and Intake report to Manama, Bahrain, Coulson and May encountered the followers of the "Gifted" individual they had come to investigate, who took several members of their team hostage. May went in without weapons and crossed off the enemy force single-handedly, rescuing the agents. The episode earned May the nickname of "The Cavalry".[10]

When Nick Fury encountered Bruce Banner in a bar and saw his transformation into Hulk, he called a meeting for some of his S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. Coulson tried to tell him that he and the others would be better prepared the next time Hulk attacks, but Fury said that Hulk was now just a secondary matter.[11]

The Birth of Iron ManEdit

The Stark ProblemEdit

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"I can be in Afghanistan by sunrise, Director Fury."
"You can. But you won't. We're the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. Note the word "Homeland". We're not currently authorized for foreign ops.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

After wealthy industrialist Tony Stark was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the terrorist group called the Ten Rings, Coulson and Nick Fury feared that Stark, being just a wealthy civilian and not a trained soldier, could tell his kidnappers everything he knows about the American national security, since Stark was involved in making many weapons for the United States Armed Forces. Coulson immediately offered to go searching for Stark himself, but Fury stopped him, because the agency wasn't authorized for foreign operations in Afghanistan. Instead, he sent him to Stark's business partner Obadiah Stane, to see if Stark is a man who could sell his country to save his own skin.

When he arrived at the Stark Industries headquarters, Stane told Coulson that Stark couldn't tell the Ten Rings much about the American defense systems. Back at the agency, Fury again refused Coulson's offer to search for Stark himself.[12]

Chasing Tony StarkEdit

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"I'm Agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division."
"That's quite a mouthful."
"I know. We're working on it.
―Phil Coulson and Pepper Potts[src]

Three months later, Tony Stark was found by the Army in the desert. Nick Fury didn't believe Stark's story that the terrorists' ammo dump accidentally exploded. He thought that Stark was actually recruited by the Ten Rings and sent to the only place where he could have all the necessary equipment to make more weapons for them―his home.[12]

When Coulson met Stark's secretary Pepper Potts, he attempted to set up a meeting with Tony Stark regarding his abduction and subsequent "rescue" in Afghanistan. However, Stark was busy, as he organized a press conference where he announced that he was shutting down the weapon's manufacting division of his company.[13]

A few days later, the agency's satellites detected something that looked like an unmanned aerial vehicle. But when Fury and Coulson saw the footage of the "vehicle's" flight through the streets of Los Angeles, they realized the "vehicle" was actually Stark in a flying armored suit. To be sure, they hacked Stark's computers and found confirmation that Stark was working on the development of the armored suit.[12]

Meeting StarkEdit

Coulson Stark

Coulson and Tony Stark talk for the first time.

"Mr. Stark."
"Agent Coulson."
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, the guy from the..."
"Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division."
"Whew! God, you really need a new name for that."
"Yeah, I hear that a lot.
―Phil Coulson and Tony Stark[src]

Later, Coulson finally met Tony Stark at the Third Annual Firefighters' Fund gala. Stark was too busy to talk with Coulson, but he agreed to a meeting at some other time.[13]

A few days later, both Coulson and Nick Fury were in Afghanistan, where they visited the village of Gulmira. When one agent found an abandoned camera, they saw a footage of Stark in a repainted armor attacking the Ten Rings and destroying their piles of weapons. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters, Coulson and Fury saw that Stark is chased by two F-22 Raptors. When one plane went down and Stark risked his life to save the pilot, Fury finally realized that he was wrong. He then ordered Coulson to check Obadiah Stane's activities with Stark's financials.[12]

Coulson immediately went to Stark Industries Headquarters where he encountered Pepper Potts who informed him about Stane's involvement in Tony's kidnapping and attempted homicide. Coulson and four other agents tried to arrest Stane, but their efforts were thwarted by Stane who was now wearing his own armor. However, in the ensuing battle, Stane was defeated by Stark.[13]

I am Iron ManEdit

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Coulson, Potts, and Stark.

"Agent Coulson, I just wanted to say thank you very much for all of your help."
"That's what we do. You'll be hearing from us."
"From the Strategic Homeland..."
"Just call us S.H.I.E.L.D.
Pepper Potts and Phil Coulson[src]

A few minutes after Tony Stark's battle with Obadiah Stane, Stark and James Rhodes were taken to a secret base where they encountered Agent Coulson. Coulson told them that Stark's fight against Stane was good, but that he needs to learn how to become a real fighter, and that his colleagues will teach him.[14]

The next morning, Coulson came to Stark Industries Headquarters where the journalists expected to hear from Stark about the incident that happened, and who the mysterious "Iron Man" really is. Coulson gave Stark a cover story for the incident, even procuring fifty people to all say that Stark was in Avalon. As Pepper Potts thanked him for all he did for them, he said they'll hear from his agency again. When she tried to say the whole name of the agency, he interrupted her and spoke the acronym "S.H.I.E.L.D." instead.[13]

When Coulson returned to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters, both he and Nick Fury watched the press conference. When Coulson asked for Fury's opinion on Stark's possible future work with S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury liked the acronym so much that he decided to make it official. A few seconds later, both Coulson and Fury were shocked when Stark publicly revealed that he was Iron Man.[12]

New TasksEdit

"...He didn't spill a drop of blood this time."
"That's true. Perhaps he's finally figured out the role he could play here.
―A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Phil Coulson about Tony Stark[src]

Right after Tony Stark revealed he was Iron Man, Nick Fury assigned Coulson to recruit Mr. Hendricks to S.H.I.E.L.D.[15]

Later, after Stark rejected the offer to join the Avengers Initiative, S.H.I.E.L.D. started to watch him. After watching how Stark saved a pilot from an enemy area, Coulson wondered if Stark finally figured how to play the role he may play at S.H.I.E.L.D. He asked Fury his thoughts on this, but Fury told him to not mistake Stark's actions as any kind of new found maturity and that they will keep watching him.[16]

A Busy WeekEdit


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"We keep doing what we're doing and tell them that we're doing what they want us to be doing."
"Hell, I dunno. Get creative. Cook the books. Whatever it takes to let us do this job right.
Nick Fury and Phil Coulson[src]

A few months later, Coulson and Nick Fury led an expedition to Greenland in hopes of finding Steve Rogers, the American war hero from World War II. They didn't find Rogers, but they found one of the disabled flying bombs from HYDRA's super bomber, the Valkyrie. Though Fury wanted to continue the search, the World Security Council ordered them to shut down the operation and return to New York City. Twelve hours later, the Council ordered Fury to stop wasting time on what they called "wasteful programs" and focus on reigniting the Tesseract, naming that operation "Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.". Despite the direct order, Fury decided to continue with his usual activities, and he told Coulson to do the same.[17]

Watching Over StarkEdit

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Coulson in Tony Stark's workshop.

"If you try to escape, or play any sort of games with me, I will taze you and watch Supernanny while you drool into the carpet."
―Phil Coulson to Tony Stark[src]

When Tony Stark got drunk and had a battle with James Rhodes at his own birthday party, Nick Fury put Coulson in charge of guarding Stark, making sure he doesn't leave his house. Later, when Coulson went down to Stark's workshop and found one of the early prototypes of Captain America's shield in Howard Stark's casket, Stark took the shield and used it to balance the Particle Accelerator he was building.[18]

Later, Coulson informed Fury about the appearance of a wormhole over New Mexico, and Fury agreed to send an expedition led by Coulson himself. When Coulson asked his colleague Natasha Romanoff, the famous Black Widow, if she could handle things at Stark's house, she said yes.[19]

Finding MjølnirEdit

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Coulson trying to find out which donuts he wants.

"Tell them those Tae-Bo tapes really paid off."
―Phil Coulson[src]

While going to New Mexico, Coulson stopped at a Roxxon service station to buy some snacks and fill his car with gas. While he was in the shop, two robbers threatened the clerk with shotguns. Coulson intervened, passing them his car keys, but showing them his gun. When he gave the gun to them, he quickly knocked both of them unconscious. He returned to the counter and bought two snacks, payed, told the clerk to keep the change and then left the scene.[20]

Upon arriving in the deserts of New Mexico, Coulson and his team discovered the crater site with the mysterious hammer at the center.[21] They labeled the object an 0-8-4, and called in a team to analyze it. Though the locals have discovered the hammer before Coulson's team, no one was able to lift it or move it, not even with the help of their vehicles. Coulson and his men quickly set up a perimeter and a base of operations around the crater.[22] A professor who specialized in the fields of Norse mythology named Elliot Randolph helped Coulson and his group with discovering what the hammer was.[23]

Meeting "Donald Blake"Edit

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Coulson interrogates the mysterious intruder.

"Sorry, ma'am, we're the good guys!"
―Phil Coulson to Jane Foster[src]

Coulson's next mission was to confiscate all of the research about the mysterious wormhole that Jane Foster and her scientific team had collected. They traveled to Puente Antiguo, and despite Foster's protests, Coulson and his men took all of their equipment.[22]

The same night, an unknown man infiltrated Coulson's base and managed to single-highhandedly take out a dozen of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents with various fighting styles. Coulson observed from a distance but not before asking Clint Barton to prepare to take action if necessary. When the attacker tried and failed to lift the hammer, Coulson's men easily captured him.[22]

Shortly after, Coulson interrogated the stranger about his identity and his training believing him to be a warrior of some type. However, the stranger refused to answer his questions. The interrogation was interrupted when Foster's colleague Erik Selvig arrived and informed Coulson that the stranger is Donald Blake, a member of his scientific staff. An agent confirmed Selving's story by running a background check in the computer database and finding a falsified document created by Jane Foster. Though Coulson knew that Selvig was lying, he agreed to free "Donald", only to secretly assign agents to follow Selvig and "his friend".[22]

Attacked by the DestroyerEdit

Phil Thor

Phil just before the Destroyer's attack.

"Is that one of Stark's?"
"I don't know. Guy never tells me anything.
Cale and Phil Coulson[src]

A few days later, Agent Jasper Sitwell discovered the coordinates of another potential crater site that appeared to have an exact signature match to the mysterious hammer. When Coulson and a unit of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents went to investigate, they found a gigantic armor of unknown origin. As the armor slowly approached them, Sitwell asked Coulson if the armor was one of Tony Stark's. Coulson replied that Stark doesn't tell him anything, and tried to speak with the armor, but the iron giant attacked them.[22]

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Thor and Coulson.

Coulson managed to survive the attack from the armor. When the armor attacked Puente Antiguo, Coulson saw "Donald" gaining mysterious supernatural powers. When "Donald" summoned the hammer and defeated the armor, Coulson realized that "Donald" is actually Thor, the Norse God of Thunder and Prince of Asgard. Coulson confronted Thor who offered his services in protecting Earth under the sole condition that Coulson returns all of Jane's research and material back to her. Coulson agreed to Thor's terms and requested that they be debriefed just before Thor flew upwards with Jane in his arms.[22]

Later, Coulson and Clint Barton supervised the transport of the armor to a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility.[24]

New MissionsEdit

Project T.A.H.I.T.I.Edit

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"Good morning, Director Fury. I regret to inform you that I’m handing in my resignation. I know you brought me on to Project T.A.H.I.T.I. because you trusted my judgment, and it’s that judgment that’s telling me I can no longer, in my good conscious, let the testing continue."
―Phil Coulson[src]

In coordination with the Avengers Initiative, Nick Fury started Project T.A.H.I.T.I., and put Coulson as its director. The goal of the project was to create a medicine that could save a mortally wounded Avenger.[25] Located within the Guest House, the scientists assigned to the project used a decaying alien corpse so they could drain it of its bodily fluids and turn them into powerful drugs. A drug called the GH.325 had the capability to resurrect the dead.[26] However, the side effects on test subjects were too extreme, and Coulson resigned from his position and recommended the project's shutdown.[25]

The Big ProblemEdit

Sitwell Coulson

Sitwell and Coulson.

"They want Blonsky in the team."
"The Abomination?"
"They really don't like when you call him that.
―Phil Coulson and Jasper Sitwell[src]

When the World Security Council ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. to recruit Emil Blonsky, the Abomination, for the Avengers Initiative, Coulson met with Agent Jasper Sitwell in a cafe to discuss that order. The Council considered Blonsky a war hero, and that he destroyed half of Harlem just because he was attacked by the Hulk. Now S.H.I.E.L.D. had to convince General Thaddeus Ross to free Blonsky.[27]

Both Coulson and Sitwell agreed that releasing Blonsky from the Army's custody would be foolish, and they decided to send a consultant to talk to Ross and convince him not to free Blonsky, someone so irritating and annoying that Ross would simply refuse to free Blonksy. Unwillingly, Coulson decided to send Tony Stark.[27]

A few days later, Coulson and Sitwell met at the same cafe. Their plan worked as they expected because Stark's annoying behavior made Ross so angry that he refused to free Blonsky.[27]


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"Nat! Stay with me, Nat!"
"Damn you, Coulson... Never call me "Nat"...
―Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff[src]

Some time later, when Natasha Romanoff was sent to Moscow to interrogate the arms dealer Mikhail Fjodorov, Coulson acted as control for her mission. After Fjodorov was killed, Romanoff cut off her contact with S.H.I.E.L.D. and started chasing Sofia, a woman who wanted to eliminate her and become the new Black Widow.[28]

Coulson then followed a pair of goons working for the arms dealer General Starodoub. Two of Coulson's men were killed by Sofia, but Coulson came just in time to save Natasha's life. He gave her the necessary equipment to infiltrate the yacht belonging to Yuri Klementiev, one of General Starodoub's business partners, where she met Sofia again, an encounter which cost them the life of agent Gennady Markov.[29]

When Coulson discovered that Sofia's employer was the billionaire Richard Frampton, Natasha infiltrated his headquarters in Vladivostok. She discovered that Frampton works for the Ten Rings terrorist organization and that he has made a Jericho missile that would explode near the border between Russia and North Korea, greatly destabilizing the world peace. When Romanoff destroyed the missile, Coulson led a team of agents to the launching area where they captured all surviving members of the Ten Rings.[30]

Finding Captain AmericaEdit

"Wasn't expecting you here."
"I was woken up by a call this morning... a call from up north with big news. We've found Steve Rogers.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

A year after the battle of Puente Antiguo, a group of scientists successfully reactivated the giant armor that attacked the city. When Coulson saw this, he told the chief scientist to make the armor a hundred times smaller and put a trigger on it.[31]

A few minutes later, Coulson was called by Fury, who informed him that Steve Rogers was finally found. When Coulson arrived at the place of the discovery, he saw his colleagues excavating Rogers' completely frozen, but still living body from the wreck of HYDRA's giant plane, the Valkyrie. However, there was no time for celebrating, as Fury immediately sent Coulson on another mission.[31]

War for EarthEdit

Loki's AttackEdit

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Coulson at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. base.

"Dr. Selvig read an energy surge from the Tesseract four hours ago."
"NASA didn't authorize Selvig to go to test phase."
"He wasn't testing it, he wasn't even in the room. Spontaneous event.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

A few months later, Coulson, Nick Fury, and Fury's second in command Maria Hill were at the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility where a group of scientists studied the Tesseract, an object of seemingly unlimited power. When the Tesseract suddenly activated, with no apparent reason, a man suddenly appeared, holding a scepter of alien origin. The stranger displayed powers similar to those of Thor, and he made it clear that he wants to take possession of the Tesseract and conquer the Earth. The stranger introduced himself as Loki, and with the power of the scepter, took control over Dr. Erik Selvig, Agent Clint Barton, and several other agents. In the ensuing battle, Loki and his men escaped with the Tesseract, and the entire base was destroyed.[2]

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Fearing for the safety of Jane Foster, Coulson told a fellow agent to contact her and giver her a lucrative job offer at a S.H.I.E.L.D. observatory in Tromsø, Norway which she took.[32]

Contacting the Black WidowEdit

"I'll brief you on everything when you get back. But first, we need you to talk to the big guy."
"Coulson, you know that Stark trusts me about as far as he can throw me."
"Oh, I've got Stark. You get the big guy.
―Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff[src]

With the Tesseract in the hands of a hostile demigod, Nick Fury decided to form the Avengers, a group of extraordinary people who could protect the planet better than he and his men. The first candidate was Dr. Bruce Banner, Hulk, but they needed Natasha Romanoff to convince him to join them. Coulson called Natasha on the phone, and when he told her that Clint Barton had gone rogue, she easily defeated her captors, the Russian General Georgi Luchkov and his men, and went to Kolkata, India. Natasha was able to find Banner and convince him to join S.H.I.E.L.D.[2]

Visiting Tony StarkEdit

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Coulson and Pepper Potts.

"Mr. Stark, we need to talk."
"You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark, please leave a message."
"This is urgent."
"Then leave it urgently.
―Phil Coulson and Tony Stark[src]

A few days later, Coulson visited Tony Stark in his completely finished Stark Tower, where Tony and his girlfriend Pepper Potts were having a small party. Though Tony was reluctant to join the team, he agreed when Pepper convinced him, and after Coulson gave him all the available data about the Avengers Initiative and the Tesseract.[2]

Meeting Captain AmericaEdit


Coulson meets Captain America.

"I gotta say, it's an honor to meet you, officially. I sort of met you, I mean, I watched you while you were sleeping. I mean, I was... I was present while you were unconscious from the ice. You know, it's really, it's just a... just a huge honor to have you on board."
"Well, I hope I'm the man for the job."
"Oh, you are. Absolutely.
―Phil Coulson and Steve Rogers[src]

Coulson's next assignment was to escort Steve Rogers, the hero better known as Captain America, to the Helicarrier. Onboard the Quinjet, Coulson was more than happy to meet his all-time hero, who has joined the Avengers Initiative on Fury's invitation. When Coulson asked Rogers to sign his vintage Captain America Card Collection which he gathered in around two years, he revealed the fact that Rogers has always been a model for him.[2]



Coulson on the Helicarrier.

"I'm sorry, boss. The god rabbited."
"Just stay awake. Eyes on me."
"No, I'm clockin' out here."
"Not an option."
"It's okay, boss. This was never gonna work if they didn't have something to...
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

Once onboard the Helicarrier, Coulson took up other duties. After the first mission of the team, Coulson said to Nick Fury that the team is not prepared to face the common menace, and that they need to be motivated someway. When Stark managed to capture Loki in Stuttgart, Germany, Thor suddenly appeared, and tried to take Loki back to Asgard. However, the whole group assembled on the Helicarrier, where Thor informed them about Loki's plan to conquer the planet with the army of the Chitauri. During the meeting, Coulson informed Thor that he has moved Jane Foster to a safe place.[2]

When a brainwashed Clint Barton attacked the Helicarrier with the group of mercenaries, Loki managed to escape from his prison cell. When Coulson reached Loki's cell, he found the Asgardian free, and Thor trapped in his place. Coulson threatened Loki with a weapon created from the Destroyer, but he was aiming the weapon at an illusion; the real Loki snuck up behind Coulson and stabbed him in the back.[2]


Phil saying his "last words".

Severely wounded, Coulson could do nothing to prevent Thor's expulsion from the Helicarrier, but he managed to land a blow on Loki with his gun. Later, when the battle was over and lost, Fury reached his agent, just in time to hear him suggesting to use his death to motivate the divided Avengers into working together as a team.[2]


"And there's one other person you pissed off. His name was Phil."
Tony Stark to Loki[src]

Coulson's death was the trigger which finally united the Avengers. A few hours later, when Loki led an army of the Chitauri against New York City, the Avengers fought a bloody battle against the alien invaders, showing that they will avenge Coulson. In the end, the Avengers were victorious, and Loki was captured and transported to Asgard.[2]


The ProcedureEdit

"Let me die, please. Please. Please, I'm begging you let me die. Please! Please, let me die! Let me die, please! Please! Let me die! Please! Let me die!"
―Phil Coulson during the procedure[src]

Days after his death Nick Fury ordered extreme measures be taken to save Coulson. They took him to a former World War II bunker called the Guest House. S.H.I.E.L.D. medical staff used an experimental drug, the product of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., to repair the wounded organs in a cellular level.[26]

After at least seven operations, Fury's doctors were actually able to bring Coulson back to life days after he had been killed. The process was extremely, inhumanly agonizing for Coulson, who begged the doctors to let him die.[3]

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During the process, they altered some of his memories with a robotic-assisted neural micro-surgery, to make him believe that he was revived in Tahiti, in order to cope with the pain he felt and to make him less suicidal, as he wanted to die due to the intense agony he was experiencing. S.H.I.E.L.D. Doctor Streiten maintained that the methods used to restore Coulson to life were unethical and felt that they should have let him die.[3] Coulson also forgot everything about Project T.A.H.I.T.I., including the fact he was the leader of the project.[25] The details of his revival are only available for agents with Clearance Level 10 or above.


Coulson had no memory of the time immediately following the incident. He was told that he was "dead" for only eight seconds, but Coulson knew that it was more than that. He remembered being somewhere else, in a beautiful afterlife.[33]

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All he remembered was recovering in a grass shack in Tahiti reading Travis McGee novels and having a physical therapist whose command of English was "relevant". Dr. Streiten was reluctant to release him back into active duty given the horrific nature of his recovery and was astonished to realize that Coulson was unaware of the truth of his survival. Agent Maria Hill told Streiten that Coulson could never know the truth.[9]

The New TeamEdit

The First MissionEdit

S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil WarEdit

Battle at the HubEdit

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"Cut off a head, two more will take its place."
"Is it a head? I thought it was a limb."
"No, no, no, it's a head.
―Phil Coulson, John Garrett and Leo Fitz[src]

After Captain America exposed to the public that HYDRA had been growing inside of S.H.I.E.L.D., agents sent out a secret message to other agents that HYDRA was inside S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson and his team along with Agent John Garrett received the message and concluded that Victoria Hand must be the Clairvoyant. Knowing that Hand was leading them to the Hub to be killed but also knowing that Jemma Simmons was there, Coulson's Team and Garrett decided to fight their way through to rescue Simmons and capture Hand. Coulson argued with Garrett about whether they should kill Hand or capture her, only for Garrett to reveal that he was the Clairvoyant when he accidentally revealed that Raina and Coulson were both in the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine: something he did not include in his report. Coulson then realized that Garrett masterminded everything including his torture and Skye's being shot. Angered, Coulson rejected Garrett's offer to join HYDRA. As Garrett prepared to execute all of them, the group was rescued when Skye and Grant Ward successfully blew up the main generator. Coulson and the team then subdued Garrett and his men as Hand arrived having heard Garrett's confession. As true S.H.I.E.L.D. agents took all HYDRA agents into custody, Hand told Coulson to stay in contact as, with Nick Fury dead, they were highest ranking agents that were not HYDRA or dead.[5]

How to SurviveEdit

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"The world needs us. HYDRA is out there. We cannot let them win. We cannot let them define us. Do you understand that? We are not agents of nothing. We are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that still carries weight. It has to carry weight. After everything we've been through, that carries weight."
―Phil Coulson to his team[src]

After the attack on the Hub, Colonel Glenn Talbot contacted Coulson and told him that he would be sending a peace keeping force to establish order. Coulson seeing through Talbot's lie quickly left the Hub with his team and Agent Antoine Triplett. Once in the air, Coulson, knowing that every government agency was going to be after them, had Skye collect everyone's badges and delete all of their information; before he could dispose of them, Coulson received some coordinates. Believing that only Nick Fury could have sent them, Coulson took a leap of faith and followed the coordinates to discover a secret base called Providence where Agent Eric Koenig revealed to Coulson that Fury was indeed still alive but threatened him not to inform the rest of his team as only he, Captain America, and Maria Hill were the few allowed to know of his status.[4]

The CellistEdit

"You're safe. I'm still here. I promise. I'm still here with you."
―Phil Coulson to Audrey Nathan[src]

Grant Ward soon arrived to Providence where he told the group that HYDRA had raided the Fridge, took all of the weapons S.H.I.E.L.D. had recovered, and released the entire criminal population, including Marcus Daniels, a man Coulson put away after he began stalking his former lover Audrey Nathan. Coulson took a team out which consisted of Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons, and Antoine Triplett. When Coulson and his team encountered Daniels in the park, he revealed to them that S.H.I.E.L.D had made him stronger. Realizing that Daniels would not stop until he got Audrey, the team convinced a reluctant Coulson to use her to draw him out so that they could subdue him with concentrated light powered by the Gamma Power Reserve. The plan was successful and Daniels was killed. On their way back from Portland, Coulson decided to forgive Melinda May for keeping secrets, realizing that he would not be able to accept forgiveness from Audrey for hiding from her unless he was willing to do the same. However, when the team returned to Providence, they found the base empty with May, Eric Koenig, Skye, and Grant Ward gone.[34]

The Shield That ProtectsEdit

"If I come out, will you shoot me? 'Cause then I won't come out."
"Hold your fire, soldiers.
―Phil Coulson and Glenn Talbot[src]

As the others who went to Portland tried to get their bearings, Coulson continuously watched Providence's camera footage in hopes of learning what happened to his missing teammates. When Jemma Simmons found Eric Koenig's body and Leo Fitz found a message from Skye saying "Ward is HYDRA," he knew Skye was in trouble and needed their help. Colonel Glenn Talbot found them with help from Maria Hill. After Coulson explained to her the situation, Hill assisted Coulson's Team in escaping from Providence to Los Angeles and acted as a distraction so Coulson could board the Bus which contained Skye and Ward. Unknown to Coulson, Deathlok was also on board. As the Bus ascended and Deathlok and Ward attacked, Coulson retrieved Skye by using Lola and landing outside a hotel where the team, and Melinda May who returned, met to rest.[25]

Before he could rest though, Coulson was given by May the information he wanted: who led Project T.A.H.I.T.I.. Ironically, it was Coulson himself who had resigned from the project and asked Nick Fury not to use it.[25]

Hunt for GarrettEdit

"We have no authority to do this. We're no longer S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. We're..."
"We're vigilantes."
"I was gonna say, 'doing this because it's the right thing to do,' but... yeah.
―Phil Coulson and Leo Fitz[src]

The next morning, Coulson met with his team to make plans to stop John Garrett and retrieve the Bus. Since Cybertek linked most of his team's missions, Coulson decided that he and Melinda May should go undercover as unemployed S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists seeking work with them to obtain information on Deathlok to lead them to Garrett. Coulson learned that John Garrett was "patient zero," the first Deathlok. Eventually, Coulson's team found the Barbershop Headquarters in Havana, Cuba Garrett was using. Proceeding inside, they were surrounded by Centipede Soldiers and Kaminsky with the Berserker Staff.[35]

Battle at CybertekEdit

"It'll be just the four of us. We'll be outmanned and outgunned. But Fury always said... a man can accomplish anything when he realizes he's a part of something bigger. A team of people who share that conviction can change the world. So, what do you say? You ready to change the world?"
"No. I'm ready to kick some ass.
―Phil Coulson and Melinda May[src]

Coulson and his team then fought their way out after Skye hacked the Barbershop Headquarters's computers. Coulson and his team then decided to take the fight to John Garrett using a tracker Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons were able to plant on the Bus.[36]

After landing at the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility in New Mexico, Coulson and Antoine Triplett created a diversion and stole a heavily armed armored Humvee and stormed the facility. Coulson then confronted Garrett and Deathlok. After being thrown around by Garrett in a fight, Coulson was joined by Director Nick Fury, who gave him the Destroyer Armor Gun. Coulson and Fury then took out the other Centipede Soldiers. Coulson and Fury confronted Garrett as Deathlok targeted them. However, Deathlok turned on Garrett. Garrett then tried to convince Coulson to call off Deathlok, but Coulson and Fury decided to leave it up to Deathlok.[36]

Coulson and Fury oversaw the taking of the Centipede soldiers and Grant Ward into custody by United States Armed Forces. However, Garrett survived and tried to use the Cybertek machines to heal himself. Coulson destroyed Garrett using the Peruvian 0-8-4.[36]

Director CoulsonEdit

The New BeginningEdit


Coulson and his team at the Playground.

"How should I proceed?"
"That's up to you... Director.
―Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

Onboard the Bus, Coulson and Melinda May spoke to Nick Fury about Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and why he used it on him after Coulson's recommendation to terminate the project. Fury told him that he wanted to keep Coulson since he's one of his most trusted agents. While touched, Coulson still asked why Fury would take that risk, since the project had been designed to resurrect an Avenger; Fury responded by expressing his belief that Coulson, due to his great heroics and leadership in leading his team, was considered an Avenger.[36]

After telling Coulson that May believes him to be okay and fit for duty, Fury named Coulson as director and gave him the Toolbox with the task of rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. before disappearing.[36]

Within the box was a map that led Coulson and his team to the Playground and its guardian, Billy Koenig. Later that night, Coulson awoke and began writing in a symbolic language.[36]

Rebuilding the AgencyEdit

File:Skye Director Phil.png
"Just 'cause you're director doesn't mean everything's on you, Phil."
"Yes, it does.
Melinda May and Coulson[src]

Despite all the odds against him, Coulson began slowly rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D., with his old team serving as the core around which he assembled more agents. Among the recruited agents were Isabelle Hartley, Idaho, and Lance Hunter. He also gave Skye an assignment to study Garrett's formula.[37]

A month later, Coulson sent a team consisting of Hartley and Hunter to buy an 0-8-4 from a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roger Browning. However, the operation failed because Browning didn't bring an 0-8-4 but a file on it, and that file was stolen by an unknown assassin who killed Browning and escaped with the file. Later, at the Playground base, after receiving information about the assassin's identity, Coulson ordered Skye to talk to Grant Ward to get intelligence about him.[37]

Coulson then sent Hartley, Skye, and May to kidnap Glenn Talbot so they could talk. Talbot refused to cooperate, so Coulson tricked him into relinquishing his fingerprints and codes to the storage facility holding the Obelisk, the first 0-8-4.[37]

All of Coulson's field agents went undercover to the storage facility. Hartley found the artifact, but to defend herself against the Absorbing Man she touched it. Coulson was called for instructions since Hartley was fatally injured, but he ordered them to proceed. Only May knew that it was a two-pronged mission; the second part was to obtain a Quinjet with cloaking technology since Leo Fitz's brain damage made him incapable of duplicating the technology for the Bus.[37]

Tracking CreelEdit

File:HitH 175 Phil phone.png
"I know you're the boss and you have to compartmentalize everything, but it's not healthy. You need to loosen up. Try yoga or something."
"I tried it, but I'm really not flexible. But thanks.
Skye and Coulson[src]

As May went after Carl Creel, Coulson ordered her not to engage despite May pointing out he killed Hartley and Idaho. May, feeling guilty when Creel killed a waitress who accidentally touched his Obelisk-infected skin, told Coulson that she should have stopped Creel as she planned. Coulson explained that she would have died also and decided that Hartley's and Idaho's deaths were on him despite May's reassurance it wasn't.

At the Playground, as Coulson and the field agents tried to find a solution for Creel's powers, the group was contacted by Raina who revealed the Obelisk had a tracker installed in it. Lance Hunter arrived, having seemingly escaped from Glenn Talbot. Coulson asked what Talbot offered him to sell him out. Hunter was honest, telling him it was two million dollars and a proper burial for Hartley. When the team finally tracked Creel down Coulson ordered Hunter to stay at the base but, after Hunter begged him, Coulson allowed him to accompany the others. As Skye, May, and Antoine Triplett got prepared, Coulson ordered the team to wait until Creel revealed his HYDRA contact before engaging. Hunter, however, wanting revenge, knocked out Skye, Triplet, and May with an I.C.E.R. and attempted to kill Creel himself. Fortunately Coulson arrived with the Overkill Device which had been modified by Fitz and Alphonso Mackenzie and stabbed Creel in the back causing the Obelisk to fully take over his body, incapacitating him.

Coulson gave Hartley a proper burial service, receiving Hunter's gratitude. Coulson then convinced him to join S.H.I.E.L.D. full time claiming he needed agents to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Hunter agreed and Coulson ordered him to rat him out to Talbot. At the Playground May berated Coulson for going into the field like he did and told him she knew that he was resisting his urges to write the Words of Creation. Coulson tired of fighting it and began writing it while May recorded.

File:Soldiers Coulson.PNG

Later Coulson met Talbot and dropped Creel off to him telling him to lock him up more securely this time. He promised to drop "gifts" like that from time to time so Talbot could get new promotions and then asked for a favor in return: for Talbot to give S.H.I.E.L.D. breathing room. Talbot openly refused, but before he could order his men to capture Coulson, the team arrived with the now cloaked Bus, warning him to not get any ideas. Secretly, Coulson told them to hurry up before their artillery ran out of fuel.[38]

The Race Against TimeEdit

File:W C S.PNG
"At least tell me that Agent 33 retired."
"Nope. They got to her first. It's gone from being a land grab to a talent grab. And I'm getting damn tired of losing our best and brightest to HYDRA.
Melinda May and Phil Coulson[src]

As Coulson attempted to make contact with Agent 33, he discovered that she was kidnapped by HYDRA. After his return to the base, he informed Agent May about the situation.

Coulson then went to bring and have dinner with Jemma Simmons, his mole in HYDRA. As they ate they discussed Donnie Gill and the fact that HYDRA has a file on him. When Simmons asked about Leo Fitz, Coulson told her that he was fine. Coulson took the intel Simmons gave and prepped his field agents for their mission without revealing Simmons' part.

When Gill revealed himself in Casablanca on the Maribel del Mar, Coulson accompanied the others in the cloaked Bus, desiring that Gill become an asset for S.H.I.E.L.D. When he learned that Gill was brainwashed in taking the Sandbox, Coulson ordered for no HYDRA agent to communicate with him. This order caused Lance Hunter to almost kill Simmons, but she was saved by Melinda May, who was ordered to maintain Simmons' cover.

After the mission in Morocco, Coulson confronted Fitz about his being director and the secrets he keeps, including keeping Grant Ward in the basement. [39]

Search for CreationEdit

"Isn't this fun? Look, cufflinks!"
―Phil Coulson to Melinda May[src]

Later Coulson and the team investigated the retrieval of a painting which had mysteriously survived a fire unharmed and also had the Words of Creation carved on its back. Thanks to the assistance of Hunter and Skye, Coulson and May were able to infiltrate the party where the painting was the main attraction. During their mission the team discovered Glenn Talbot was also there and had taken the painting. Strangely, Talbot made a deal with them to examine the painting as long as they were in a secure location. May wanting to make sure Talbot was telling the truth tailed him only to be subdued by Agent 33 and Sunil Bakshi. The former took May's place and lied to Coulson claiming Talbot was telling the truth. As the two arrived at the location, Coulson managed to reveal 33's deception when he mentioned them going to get a cup of coffee, a drink May hated. As May battled Agent 33, Coulson pursued and knocked out Bakshi and retrieved the painting.

Afterwards, Coulson told May that he wanted her to kill him if he were to go insane because of the GH.325.[6]


"With all the high-tech gadgets and gizmos at our disposal, it's easy to forget about the simple tools of the past."
―Phil Coulson[src]
  • Smith & Wesson M&P: The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol is the standard sidearm carried by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and as such, Coulson uses it to threat or shoot most of his enemies.
  • Glock 17: The Glock 17 was the standard sidearm used by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, before being replaced by the Smith & Wesson M&P. As such, Coulson and a team of agents carried those weapons when they tried to capture Obadiah Stane, raiding Stark Industries sector 16, and when Coulson prevented a theft in a gas station in New Mexico.
  • Night-Night Pistol: Sometimes, agent Coulson needs to apply non-lethal force to subdue a target without permanent harm, favoring the use of the Night-Night Pistol designed by agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. This weapon allows to render the target unconscious to be safely captured, such as when he captured Akela Amador while she was fighting against agent Melinda May.
  • I.C.E.R. (Pistol Version): After agent Leo Fitz improved the technology of the Night-Night Gun, Coulson changed the now obsolete weapon and favored the use of the pistol version of the I.C.E.R.s. : When Loki escaped confinement aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Coulson retrieved the Destroyer Gun from secure storage. He confronted Loki, pointing the gun at him, and although he was stabbed from behind, Coulson managed to fire off one powerful shot that severely hurt Loki, did not prevented him from escaping the Helicarrier. He used the weapon again during the Battle at Cybertek, where he managed to use it to easily defeat a whole squad of enhanced Centipede Soldiers.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Although Coulson's role as a field agent is not focused into combat operations, whenever he feels hostilities may arise during a mission, he wears a bulletproof vest under his jacket, able to withstand ballistic impact from many calibers.
  • Pick-Lock Device: One of Coulson's favorite gadgets, a little explosive used whenever he has to infiltrate a compound and finds closed doors too difficult to hack immediately.


Phil Coulson is highly trained in multiple martial arts and hand to hand combat styles, even claiming that he could take on a highly-trained specialist as Grant Ward. He is skilled in use of military assault weapons as well as edged weapons.
He is an expert at intelligence and espionage and speaks Spanish. An accomplished logistics specialist, Coulson assesses tactical situations and implements equipment and personnel as needed.



Coulson is an avid connoisseur and collector of antiques and memorabilia, particularly in regard to S.H.I.E.L.D and the history of espionage, knowing in detail the original specifications of such items as Elliot Randolph's Waterfield 44 pen or Antoine Triplett's Howling Commando Gear inherited from his grandfather.

Notable items in Coulson's collection have at one point included all of the following--


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Behind the ScenesEdit



The Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki has a collection of quotes related to Phil Coulson.
  1. S.H.I.E.L.D. Files
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 The Avengers
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.11: The Magical Place
  4. 4.0 4.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.18: Providence
  5. 5.0 5.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.17: Turn, Turn, Turn
  6. 6.0 6.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.04: Face My Enemy
  7. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.02: 0-8-4
  8. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.04: Eye-Spy
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named AoS101
  10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.09: Repairs
  11. The Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Iron Man: Security Measures
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Iron Man
  14. Iron Man: Fast Friends, Volume 2
  15. Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  16. Iron Man 2: Public Identity
  17. The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 1
  18. Iron Man 2
  19. The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 3
  20. Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer
  21. Iron Man 2 Post-Credits Scene
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Thor
  23. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.08: The Well
  24. The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 6
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.20: Nothing Personal
  26. 26.0 26.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.14: T.A.H.I.T.I.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant
  28. The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes, Volume 1
  29. The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes, Volume 2
  30. The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes, Volume 3
  31. 31.0 31.1 The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 8
  32. Thor: The Dark World Prelude, Volume 1
  33. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.06: FZZT
  34. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.19: The Only Light in the Darkness
  35. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.21: Ragtag
  36. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named AoS122
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.01: Shadows
  38. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 202: Heavy is the Head
  39. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.03: Making Friends and Influencing People

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