Earlier today 'The Avengers' director Joss Whedon spoke about ABC and Marvel's upcoming 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series, specifically how the spectacle of its story would differ from the Marvel films, but one question about the pilot will likely boggle viewers right up until the 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' series premiere. Most importantly, how will Clark Gregg's Agent Phil Coulson headline the series, given the events of 'The Avengers?' Will the 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series take place in prequel? Find out new details of Coulson's return inside!

This past October, Marvel and Clark Gregg fans alike were delighted to learn that Coulson lives, or rather that fan-favorite Marvel cinematic universe character Agent Phil Coulson would return from his apparent demise to take a leading role in ABC's upcoming 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series. As the hotly-anticipated pilot prepares to go before cameras, the rest of its cast set in stone, fans are still left to wonder how the series will address Coulson's seemingly final 'Avengers' fate.

While some have theorized that the 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series could take place prior to the events of 'The Avengers,' thereby allowing Coulson's return, IGN confirmed with ABC president Paul Lee that the series would not take place in prequel:

There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York. This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from 'Avengers.'

So it’s part of the world, but we’re going to be very, very careful that we don’t tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that’s what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He’s built a world for us.

With the pilot due to begin shooting sometime in the next few weeks, ABC has yet to issue an official series pickup for the 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series, even though most industry experts see the matter as a near-certainty.

Shooting for a likely fall premiere, Marvel’s ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ TV series features a cast that includes Clark Gregg’s resurrected Agent Phil Coulson, as well as ‘ER’ vet Ming-Na, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker as the other agents of the team. Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson also recently stated that he expected to be involved in some small capacity.

What say you? How do you think the 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV series might explain Agent Coulson's return? Give us your theories, and tell us what you're most excited to see from the show in the comments!

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