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Phil Coulson just can't be killed! Thanks to a production brief for Marvel's What If...? (debuting next week), we now have it confirmed that Clark Gregg officially recorded dialogue for the animated anthology series. While the document doesn't go into specifics about the episode Gregg's featured in, we'd say it's not too far-fetched to assume that he'll reprise the role of the Corvette-loving S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has a rather impressive talent for sticking around the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Coulson, whose MCU tenure can be traced back to the very beginning in 2008's Iron Man, was a regular recurring character across the movies until he was murdered by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in 2012's The Avengers. As Mobius (Owen Wilson) was kind enough to remind us in the season premiere of Loki, the agent's death was the catalyst for bringing together Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Fortunately, the fan favorite Mr. Coulson didn't stay dead for very long when he was miraculously resurrected for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which ran on ABC for seven seasons. Gregg was also asked to reprise the role for 2019's Captain Marvel, where he was digitally de-aged alongside Sam Jackson's Nick Fury for the '90s-era setting. Beyond that, however, he hasn't played a major role on the big screen side of things for almost a decade.
While S.H.I.E.L.D. was always more of a tangential narrative, fans could very well see Coulson reincorporated back into the thick of the action, now that Marvel Studios is spearheading both film and television productions.
Gregg is one of 50 MCU veterans who agreed to be a part of What If...? episodes. The list also includes: Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Benicio Del Toro, Bradley Whitford, Carrie Coon, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Sullivan, Clancy Brown, Cobie Smulders, Danai Gurira, David Dastmalchian, Djimon Hounsou, Dominic Cooper, Don Cheadle, Emily VanCamp, Evangeline Lilly, Frank Grillo, Georges St-Pierre, Hayley Atwell, Jaimie Alexander, Jeff Goldblum, Jeremy Renner, John Kani, Jon Favreau, Josh Brolin, Karen Gillan, Kat Dennings, Kurt Russell, Leslie Bibb, Mark Ruffalo, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Douglas, Michael Rooker, Natalie Portman, Neal McDonough, Ophelia Lovibond, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Rachel House, Rachel McAdams, Samuel L. Jackson, Sean Gunn, Sebastian Stan, Seth Green, Stanley Tucci, Taika Waititi, Tilda Swinton, Toby Jones, Tom Hiddleston, and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.
“The Watcher [voiced by Jeffrey Wright] introduces us each week to these alternate storylines — each a kind of cautionary tale in the spirit of The Twilight Zone," executive producer Brad Winderbaum notes in the production brief. "We bounce around genres and tone — some episodes will be dramatic; some will be tragic or comedic."
“We looked at the big moments of the MCU and thought about ways to twist them — that’s where we started,” added head writer/executive producer AC Bradley. “We came up with 30 loglines and pitched them to [Marvel Studios boss] Kevin Feige. He picked 25 of them. That was big, because we knew we were on the right track. But then we had to narrow it down more, and eventually found our season."
Directed by Bryan Andrews, Marvel's What If...? will rip the multiverse a new wormhole when the show premieres on Disney+ next Wednesday, Aug. 11.