Alright, here’s my overly extensive write up of the NYCC Marvel TV panel, complete with rough drawings of what the video looked like. If you want to know what really happened, the exact order things went down in, and how certain quotes should have been taken, read on. But be warned, get some cocoa and sit somewhere comfy, because as usual, I wrote a thesis.
After hyping the next season of Ultimate Spiderman, Jeph Loeb announced that someone will be reprising their role as Principle Coulson. To the surprise of some (while the rest of us suspected that certain someone had been a world class fibber on twitter earlier that week…) Clark Gregg bounded out from behind the stage to thunderous applause and shouts of “Cooooooulsoooon!”. Gregg ran up onto the stage, then back down again to high five and shake hands with a couple of front row fans.
After returning to the stage, Gregg remarked he has Cobie Smulders and the Gag Reel to thank for the shouts of “Coooooulsoooon”. Loeb and Gregg then chat briefly about his new movie ‘Trust Me’ and the production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Then Leob announced they have something special in honor of Clark and played a memorial video showcasing Coulson’s best moments from the previous movies, ending in a ‘RIP Phil Coulson 1969-2012’ tag.
A handful of articles I’ve read have mentioned that Clark was ‘emotional’ as he took the microphone after the video. That’s an understatement. The man was tearing up as he watched it and when he spoke afterwards there was an audible quiver in his voice. He graciously thanked the fans for the support, acknowledging the character would never have been meaningful/important if it wasn’t for the fans. Then right after bringing some of us to verge of tears ourselves, Clark had us laughing and cheering with:
“I just want to say, because I won’t have another chance to ask this… Have you heard of a Life Model Decoy? I don’t know if you’ve read the theories from the people on Twitter, but there’s this guy called the Vision. I don’t know if you saw the UK version of the DVD, but the blade wasn’t coming out of his chest. There’s a tesseract!”
The crowd went nuts and clapped after every theory’s mention. Loeb cut in with, “Hey, Coulson’s not Tinkerbell. He can’t just come back if people clap enough.” To which Clark added, “I love Tinkerbell.”, which just got everyone clapping and yelling even louder.
Then, without warning, the video screen lit up.
(Whedon appeared behind a table with note cards scattered everywhere in front of what looked to be an elevator in a hallway.)
(Whedon looks up from his notes and out to the sides)
W: What is all of that incessant clapping I hear?!
(Whedon turns to look at the camera)
W: Oh, it’s you. Look, we all love Clark Gregg, there’s no doubt about that. From before we made The Avengers, we discussed whether there was a way for him to be a part of the Marvel Universe, perhaps a part of a TV show even after his death…
(Behind Whedon, Feige shifts into frame wearing a Coulson Lives shirt under a hoodie. He says nothing, but stares at Whedon as he continues to talk unawares.)
W:The fact of the matter is, as much as we love him, now that I’M really running Marvel, I like to keep a type of artistic integrity, which means we don’t stretch the bounds of reality…
(Whedon trails off, looks to his side and notices Feige staring at him stone faced from behind. Whedon quietly turns his gaze back to the camera.)
W: … Or Coulson Lives.
(At that point the audience went nuts again, my entire row exploded into fan girl squeals and I couldn’t hear/concentrate on much else at the time. They might have said something else here I might have missed, but my brain went on vacation for a couple of seconds.)
F: There was never going to be a SHIELD show without Agent Phil Coulson.
W: He’s headlining the SHIELD show and always was.
(Feige moves forward and sits down at the table next to Whedon. Whedon starts dumping note cards into the cap and jumbles them briefly.
W: Now, which Avenger do we kill off next?
(Feige pulls a card out of the hat, reads it.)
Cut to black.
End of video.
While some online publications fared better than others, most articles about this panel I came across at least minored in Fail reporting or went all the way to earn their Fail doctorate. I’ve just never seen it happen in real time before. I’ve never watched people sitting in their reserved seats, laptops out, typing away and getting wrong everything they saw with their own two eyes. They even played the video twice during the panel. TWICE. :
3) Some assumed not only that the series is automatically a prequel even though no one ever mentioned when it’s going to take place one way or another. And on top of that, some articles don’t believe that Coulson is a major part of the series even though Whedon/Feige literally said HE’S HEADLINING THE SHOW.
5) Not one article I read mentioned the context Whedon’s statement was from.
That isn’t to say that I remembered everything perfectly clearly either and there aren’t perfectly well written, descriptive articles out there. I don’t think I remembered correctly what Whedon and Feige wearing aside from the Coulson Lives shirt and I couldn’t remember if Feige came out wearing the cap or if it was already on the table. Also, I had to paraphrase some of what they said, but not by much. The gist of the dialogue and the order in which things happened is as accurate as I could make it and I’d actually like it if more people who were there could come out of the woodwork and verify things. But at least I tried to get things right instead of grasping onto the tiniest soundbite and pretending to write a full fledged news article around it.