Although we know this isn’t Coulson, the premiere doesn’t tell us who Sarge is, what he wants, or where he came from. Luckily, EW visited the set of the ABC drama in September and spoke to Gregg and costar Ming Na-Wenn (who plays Coulson’s love Melinda May) about Sarge’s arrival, May’s reaction to Coulson’s doppelgänger and more.
As interconnected as Agents of SHIELD was with Marvel’s films in the show’s earliest days, Gregg said, it’s by carving out its space within the MCU and drawing on unprotected pieces of source material that the series has been able to set itself apart.
“In my mind, Captain America doesn’t know he’s alive. It’s bittersweet to me,” he laughed. “We know that Nick Fury knows, obviously, we’ve seen him. And I feel like Tony Stark knows things — he just finds a way to know things — but I think the two of them have had a blunt conversation about it and decided not to share it further.
“I always think of that thing, you know, find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I think that’s Phil Coulson,” he added. “He loves this stuff. And like me, he shows up to do a job and it just keeps getting better and more interesting and then incredible people show up and it’s beyond his wildest dreams.”
I really just tried to forget an awful lot of traumatic, horrible stuff and terrible secrets from around the universe that he just doesn’t know yet. I tried to go back to a more naive, innocent place, which was not easy for me or Phil. We’re both jaded by the universe at this point.
My theory is that after The Avengers and the Battle of New York, the game was completely changed and the mission of SHIELD changed,” he says. “My suspicion is after Endgame there’s going to be another complete reboot that involved all of the new people we know about now and all of the new threats. It doesn’t get easier for SHIELD ever.”
“There were a lot of camps among the Coulson Lives people,” he recalls. “One was that he was a Skrull. One was that he was really a [Life-Model Decoy] and the real Coulson was going to come back. People really wanted him to be Vision, but that was before they knew that Paul Bettany was possibly available.”
I can’t wait for people to see season six. We’re starting season seven, which I really don’t know much about, but season six, I’m excited for people to see. People who have been on the journey with me and with Phil Coulson are going to get something very, very different.
“We thought the stuff in Season 5, and the way it ended, was really heavy, and beautifully done, and beautifully written, and we didn’t want to buy that back cheaply,” Gregg explained. “And I don’t think they did. What they’re doing doesn’t betray that, so we were happy to keep the secret until it felt appropriate.”