Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 was all about the threat of Phil Coulson’s incoming demise, with his death promised to arrive in the season finale. As it happened, however, the episode stopped short of killing the fan favorite character outright – though another long-running team member met his maker instead – but it didn’t exactly give him a reprieve, either.
Foregoing a serum that would have cured him in order to save his friends, Coulson decides to face his fate with dignity and leave the US with Melinda May in order to live out his final days in the sun of Tahiti – a reference to Project T.A.H.I.T.I., which brought him back to life in the first place after Loki stabbed him in The Avengers.
Of course, this leaves us with one big question: will Coulson return in season 6? Actor Clark Gregg hasn’t confirmed that just yet, but did reveal to THR that he’s had meetings with the show’s production team as there’s an interest in having him be involved in some capacity in the upcoming sixth season.
“I have a meeting with [executive producers] Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen and the showrunners and I know there is some interest in having me involved in this 13-episode season six. I don’t know in what form that will take, whether that will be flashbacks or hopefully some sexy dreams that Melinda May is having. [Laughs.] That would be nice. But that’s all I know so far. There is some desire that is going to be explained to me but it’s why this finale is so deep and emotional.
Gregg then went on to talk about his final scenes in season 5, describing them as “a farewell” to the character of Phil Coulson. Judging by that, it does seem like this might truly be the end for the man who has already defeated death, but we’ll just have to wait and see how everything shakes out.
“I knew by then that this was really a farewell to that character and his life. It was also before we knew anything about whether or not we were picked up so the scene where he is saying goodbye to people was a scene that we couldn’t even rehearse or read aloud successfully.
We just had to figure out where we were going to stand and start shooting it because it was just so emotional for me and everybody there.”
While it’s tragic that we might have really seen the last of Phil Coulson on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of him period. That’s because Clark Gregg is currently filming Captain Marvel, which marks his return to the big screen MCU for the first time since 2012 and will have him encountering Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers.
So, that’s the beginning of his story, then, but have we now seen how it’ll end? We’ll find out when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives in the summer of 2019.