Why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. exec producers think 'Nick Fury is just a guy'

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Jul 20, 2013, 10:48 AM EDT

The unofficial gag order surrounding the details of ABC/Marvel’s new drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally lifted at San Diego Comic-Con. With the unveiling of the pilot episode and the first press tour at the con, we have a better sense of what the show will revolve around, aside from the mysterious return of assumed-dead Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

According to executive producers Jeff Bell and Jeph Loeb, the series will focus on the humanity and smaller-scale heroics dished out daily in the S.H.I.E.L.D trenches.

“To me, the movies have always been about people,” Bell explains. “There are all these giant monsters and heroes, but there have always been really interesting humans. Nick Fury is just a guy.”

Loeb adds, “Our tagline is 'not all heroes are super,' and that’s really important to us. It’s not just a tagline, but it talks about the human condition in a way that is really important.”

Bell continues, “Jeph has a thing that I really like, although we can’t say [mutant] on our show because that’s not part of our world, but he says every person has a mutant gift and your job in your life is to figure out what your mutant gift is and how best to use it. I think that’s really cool.”

The embodiment of that everyday heroism is Coulson, a character who has become beloved to audiences.

Why? “Easy,” says Bell. “Clark Gregg. He showed up in the first Iron Man with a couple of lines and people watching said he was interesting. Along the way, he got in a little bit more. In The Avengers they made him a fan. He liked the cards and S.H.I.E.L.D. history. He was the audience surrogate in the movies. You could be this guy who shows up and does his job around these superheroes and is taken for granted. The way Clark presents the lines, people love it, so he is our way into the world."

Loeb then adds, “As a person you want to work with, Gregg is everything you want him to be: smart, funny, he has great instincts, he can do comedy or drama and remembers all of his lines. He’s a consummate professional, but at the same time, just a great guy. Clark is really a hero of the day and embodies that.”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres on ABC Sept. 24, 2013.