'Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.' Takes Place After 'The Avengers,' How Does Agent Coulson Fit In?

One of the biggest mysteries in regards to the upcoming ABC pilot Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. has just been answered. ABC President Paul Lee confirmed that the story takes place after the battle of New York in The Avengers.

When the show was first announced a post-Avengers timeline was what most fans expected. Then came the surprise announcement that Clark Gregg would be starring on the show. Gregg, of course, played Agent Coulson in The Avengers and several other Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One films but met an untimely end in Joss Whedon's 2012 blockbuster. Speculation then suggested a prequel. Now that we can take that off the table, how is he going to fit in? Read the quotes and speculate after the jump.

The quote from Lee came from an interview with IGN. Here it is:

There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York.

He also talked a bit about how the show will mesh with the movies:

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.

Whedon has co-written and will direct the pilot in the next week or so with an eye on possibly hitting the air by the Fall.

So how will Coulson fit in? That remains a mystery but here are a few possibilites. Maybe the show develops some of the newer characters through flashbacks, ala Lost, and Coulson is part of that. Maybe he's been cloned, S.H.I.E.L.D. does have some crazy technology after all. Or maybe he's not dead at all.

How do you think Coulson returns and are you glad to hear Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place after The Avengers?