Robert Redford's casting in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a big deal. It's a big swinging dick move on Marvel's part, and I'm guaranteeing he's doing more than just showing up in that movie. In fact, I'm betting his involvement in Winter Soldier is leading up to a bigger role in Avengers 2. But what is that role?
Today he told Comicbook Resources that he's not just some guy in SHIELD - he's the head of SHIELD. And he reiterated it just to make sure they got it right. That makes a lot of sense - you don't hire Redford to be a flunky to Samuel L. Jackson. He's likely one of the shadowy cabal members we saw bossing Nick Fury around in The Avengers, which is why I assume he's coming back in The Avengers 2.
But will he show up on the SHIELD TV show? That seems about the most unlikely thing possible, but then again we never thought Agent Coulson, who died in The Avengers, would return. Return he has, and actor Clark Gregg has previously confirmed that his involvment is in the modern day. But how is that possible? Speaking to Collider, Gregg said:
After people see the show, they’ll have some clue as to why I’m still there, still breathing. But I don’t think they’ll know everything…
Interesting. He goes on to say that the full story of Coulson's survival might well be a major story arc if the pilot is picked up to series (and I'd say it has like a 90% chance of that happening).
Coulson's survival has potentially interesting ramifications for the other Marvel Movieverse characters. Could we see them reacting to him? Could Coulson show up in future films? Says Gregg:
If my schedule doesn’t conflict, and they need him in one of the movies, will they come calling? My feeling is that there’s no breaks in continuity with this and the Marvel movie universe. It makes sense in that universe, and I certainly feel like his chances of appearing in those movies are far better than when he was far out dead.
It seems crazy to me that he wouldn't be in The Avengers 2, so let's just assume that's happening.