It seems that even death at the hands of Loki could not stop the fan favorite phenomena that is Agent Coulson.
At New York Comic Con over the weekend, Coulson himself, Clark Gregg would surprise fans on stage at the Marvel panel in a celebration of his character that at times was even emotional. However, his presence there wasn't just for the benefit of the fan's wistful longings.
Marvel's head of television, Jeph Loeb would also take the stage to drop a bombshell bit of news: Clark Gregg will reprise his role as Agent Coulson in the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.
What will the presence of the smooth, badass, albeit presumably-dead agent mean for the show?
Appearing via video, The Avengers director, Joss Whedon (who will co-author the pilot,) would state while wearing a shirt that says "COULSON LIVES":
"We all love Clark Gregg, there's no doubt about that," Whedon said. "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. … 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 would then unambiguously state:
"There was never going to be a 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' show without Agent Phil Coulson! He's headlining the S.H.I.E.L.D. show and always was."
At this point, the direction of most speculation seems to point to the show being a prequel, perhaps even taking place before the events of Coulson's first appearance in Iron Man.
This would make the most sense in regard to the mandate of not wanting to "stretch the bounds of reality" with a resurrection. Also, it fits into the idea of the show taking place in the same universe as the films, but without them being directly consequential to one another.
...Of course, he they might have just preserved his brainwaves and turned him into Vision. -- Right?