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Marvel One-Shots

Marvel One-Shots: Expanding the Cinematic Universe

Learn more about 'Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant,' starring Agent Coulson & available only on the 'Thor' Blu-ray!

By Marc Strom

At San Diego Comic-Con, fans at the Cup O’ Joe panel got a special treat when Marvel Chief Creative Officer premiered a clip from “Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant.” The sneak peek got cut short when Clark Gregg--Agent Phil Coulson himself--took the stage to put a halt to the "unapproved" viewing, but he did go on to spill a bit more info.

The short film, along with “Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer…” will be coming your way in the near future, with “The Consultant” appearing exclusively on the “Thor” Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D hitting shelves on September 13.

The “Marvel One-Shots” both star Gregg as Phil Coulson, offering up two self-contained stories about the day in the life of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Now you can see the clip from “Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant” screened at Cup O’ Joe right here on Marvel.com, and below the clip get more info on the shorts directly from Gregg and the films’ producer themselves!


“Making shorts is something we’ve been talking about for some time,” recalls “Marvel One-Shot” Co-Producer Brad Winderbaum. “It’s a fun way to experiment with new characters and ideas, but more importantly it’s a way for us to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe and tell stories that live outside the plot of our features.”

Gregg, who has played S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson in “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor” and the upcoming “Marvel’s The Avengers,” became involved in the project at the very beginning.

"Thor" Blu-ray 3D Three-Disc Combo Pack box art

“I got a call from a rising young executive over at Marvel named Kevin Feige to talk about the Avengers,” jokes Gregg. “In that conversation he said they had this crazy idea. They want to do some shorts about a couple of different days in the life of Agent Coulson. Some [would be] connective tissue between the movies and others are behind-the-scenes in the day of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and in my mind [Agent Coulson is] the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. And I said that sounds amazing! Usually when I’m asked to do a short it’s somebody’s grad project at AFI or a student film, but this was an entirely different ball game.”

For the creative teams behind both shorts, the films’ producers went all-out to assemble a group that would bring Agent Coulson’s adventures to life in style.

“They were directed by the great Leythum, whose initial pitch was very inspiring and immediately made us confident in his vision,” reveals Winderbaum. “They were produced by the Ebeling Group who collected an incredibly talented crew of people to pull these off, including Director of Photography David Myrick and Production Designer David Courtemarche. We were also fortunate to have the films scored by the world renowned DJ Paul Oakenfold. And both shorts were written by the awesome Eric Pearson, who did a great job capturing the wit and humor we enjoy from Coulson in the features.”

The decision to focus on Coulson in these two films was a natural for the film’s producers.

“First and foremost it was an opportunity to work with Clark Gregg,” exudes Winderbaum. “The guy elevates everything he takes part in and we knew that if he was into it, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell some stand-alone Coulson stories with him. Also, in the case of ‘The Consultant,’ we wanted to paint a picture of S.H.I.E.L.D. pulling the strings and being responsible for some of the events we’ve seen in the films. What better character to represent this idea than Agent Coulson, the first S.H.I.E.L.D. agent we were introduced to in the first Iron Man film.”

While Agent Coulson has played a supporting role in his past appearances, the “Marvel One-Shots” give him a chance to stand in his own spotlight for once.

"Thor" Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack box art

“I think of Agent Coulson, after all these years, as a guy with a full life,” admits Gregg. “I think every day he’s somewhere doing something for S.H.I.E.L.D., and yet I don’t always know what that is. The fun thing for me is, every time I get a new script to see whether it’s Don Payne who wrote it or Joss Whedon, and whether it’s being directed by [Jon] Favreau or Ken Branagh, I’m always happy about it because I get to find out a little bit more about what his life is like and who he is. There’s always a different twist. In this one he gets to show more of his wisecracking wit, and in this one he’s a little bit more of a badass.”

The opportunity to explore other aspects of Coulson’s character was part of what excited Gregg in this project, and also led to some of his favorite moments in filming them.

“I was in the process of getting myself in fighting shape for the Avengers, so to find Agent Coulson in a situation where he might be involved in close quarters combat was exciting to me,” teases the actor. “[Coulson finds himself in a situation] where there is an imminent threat and no super heroes around. I was chomping at the bit for that, so I was definitely pumped for that moment to happen.

“In one of them there’s a daily crisis [in which] a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent deals with the World Security Council and one of our super heroes. To explore some of that stuff that connects the various movies I found very exciting as a fanboy at heart.”

In the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Winderbaum lays out roughly where each of the “Marvel One-Shots” falls:

“‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer…’ picks up after Agent Coulson leaves Tony Stark’s lab in Malibu during ‘Iron Man 2,’ and occurs before he arrives solo at the crater site in ‘Thor.’ ‘The Consultant’ takes place sometime after the plots of ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Thor,’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ but before ‘Marvel’s The Avengers.’”

These films offer the latest expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe outside of the films, something that Winderbaum and his team look to continue into the future.

Whether it’s our tie-in comics like IRON MAN: PUBLIC IDENTITY and CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST VENGEANCE, the ‘Marvel One-Shots,’ or online experiences like StarkExpo or JoinSHIELD, if it enriches the films for our fans, then supporting the ongoing story of the MCU is something we always want to do. If these first two One-Shots are well received, we will absolutely make more of them!”

Don’t miss “Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant” exclusively on the “Thor” Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D release September 13, and keep it tuned to Marvel.com for more info on “Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer…” in the coming months!

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I know who the Consultant is....