Who is Phil Coulson? I Think I Know.

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Phil Coulson Clark Gregg

My family makes a lot of trips from San Diego to Los Angeles for numerous nerdy events throughout the year.  It’s not unusual for my Wife and my 9 year old Son and I to discuss Marvel topics during the two hour drive.

One day, several months ago we came up with this theory.  Most people I’ve told it to think I’m totally nuts.  But during a recent conversation with fellow Marvel Reporter Amelia Emberwing, I brought up my theory and Amelia went crazy because she has the same theory.  So here it is.  Read the theory, let it sink in, read our supporting arguments and then tell us whether you agree or not.  Ready?

Phil Coulson is Peggy Carter’s son.

Insane, right?  Ok now let us support our theory and then you can tell us whether we are nuts or not.

  1.  It’s been right in front of you all along – Coulson’s love for Captain America.  We know of his love for Cap, but we’ve never been told how or why.  We clearly know that Cap isn’t his Father, but obviously he was Peggy’s love.  It would stand to reason that Peggy Carter would have Captain America memorabilia at home.  If she did, it would be a logical launching point for her child to become a huge fan as well.Phil Coulson Clark Gregg
  2. Along those same lines, Coulson’s love for old tech.  He keeps a collection of things used back in the S.S.R. / Howling Commandos days.  Why all of the nostalgia?Phil Coulson Trust Cap
  3. We have the time where Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter’s niece) touched Lola, and Clark Gregg’s response: She touched Lola 1She Touched Lola 2
  4. In season one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., episode 18 called “Providence”, Coulson tells Skye that he was recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D. directly out of High School.  Now, we all love Phil Coulson but he is no Reed Richards or Tony Stark.  Explain to me why Phil Coulson would have been recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D. right out of high school?  I’ll tell you why – nepotism.  If you’re mother is one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m pretty sure she could make that happen.
  5. ADDED: Yes, Raina mentioned Phil’s mother was dead in a previous episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but let’s not forget that the world believes Phil Coulson is dead as well.  Even if they didn’t, there’s also the notion that Peggy Carter in her current state is very ill and unable to defend herself.  It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that S.H.I.E.L.D. released news of her death to protect her in her frail state.
  6. In Captain America:  The Winter Soldier, Steve visits Peggy and we see these pictures on her nightstand.  Seriously, that boy’s hairdo is totally Phil Coulson.  We have to assume those are her children (which begs the question – who is the girl?)
  7. Phil Coulson Peggy CarterNow let’s look at the timeline.  We don’t know how old Coulson and Carter are in the MCU.  We do know that the Agent Carter tv show takes place in 1945 (season one) and now season two is 1946.  She is probably 25-28 years old so reasoning that she could have kids until she was say 45, that would put us at about 1960-65.  If Coulson was born in 1965, that would make him 50 years old in 2015. Clark Gregg is 53 in real life.  Also here is a photo of both of them in “present day”.  I think it’s totally feasible that Peggy Carter could be Phil Coulson’s mother.

phil coulson peggy carter

Ok now I’m totally crying again after looking at that picture of Peggy.  🙁

This doesn’t really support the argument that they are related, but I think it would be a funny twist.  We don’t know who Peggy marries, but we do know that she marries someone who fought in World War II.  Wouldn’t it  be hilarious if Peggy marries someone with the last name “Coul” meaning that Phil literally is the “son of Coul”?

I also have a theory about when we might find this out, but beware this next part is my spoilery speculation about something that we have seen in set photos from Captain America:  Civil War.  So read with caution.

In some of the set photos, they were shooting what looks like a funeral scene.  Steve Rogers was in a black suit and was a pall bearer, carrying a casket.  Peggy’s niece Sharon Carter was also in the scene.  Based on the fact that Peggy was very old and in poor health in Captain America:  The Winter Soldier means it’s very likely that Peggy dies in Civil War.  If that does happen, could it lead to a cameo by Clark Gregg and possibly a reveal that he is in fact her Son?  If she is Coulson’s mother, I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t be at her funeral.

Well there you have it.  I’d love to hear your comments for or against our theory.  Let me know what you think.

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  1. I think this is a great theory! Making me crazy just by thinking about it. The timeline fits. Is Peggy Carter Coulson’s mother? We know his dad died when Coulson was a kid (as said in a season 2 episode). But who’s his mom? Is it Peggy? I think it might be! We’ll never know.

  2. While, I totally love this theory and wish it were true, in the established canon in the MCU, Phil’s mother is dead. His parent’s names were Robert and Julie Coulson. (I researched this theory awhile ago, thinking the same things you have.) But if it turns out that that is true, I would be SO HAPPY.

  3. Not bad.

    Personally, I think he’s Chester Phillips’s grandson or great grandson.

    But that’s me.

    Chester would have kept mementos of his time as commander of SSR forces during the Second World War.

    Perhaps young Phil stumbled upon them and learned about Captain America and the Howling Commandos from Chester.

    It makes sense that the current Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is related to the first Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    He might even be Peggy Carter’s godson.

    That might explain why Sharon Carter has clearance to touch Lola. 😉

    Who knows?

    Just throwing it out there.

    1. *Reply to Chloe Rogers*

      I’m not disagreeing with your theory, in fact it might be likely to be true. But remember, that would make Tony Stark and Phil Coulson Brothers, or at least half brothers. Anyway, this is all just theory, I guess it might happen but I don’t think I’m a ‘true believer’

  4. I love this theory, I think it’s totally possible and would love for it to be true. The characters are so alike it would make total sense. I had a theory a while back that, Howard and Peggy had a fling and Coulson was the result, that’s why he loves Captain America so much cause Howard and Peggy were always talking about him!

    1. Well thank you have to be married two son in the 1940s and I had the same Theory that the only guy excluding Captain America AKA Steve Rogers would be Howard Stark. But it’s just a theory.

  5. I’ll buy that Theory,

    It has a accurate time line of his age. And the picture with the girl, well I guess we know he’s got a sister.
    But what is her name?hmmmm tough one.
    Perhaps it will be released in a future MCU film or a cameo on DC AOS?

  6. I just read an interview with Markus and McFeely, writers of Winter Soldier and Endgame. Here’s a quote regarding Steve Rogers’ relationship with Peggy Carter:

    “It was always our intention that he was the father of those two children. But again, there are time travel loopholes for that.”

    Not only am I on board with your theory, I think this news also allows Phil Coulson to actually be CAP’S FREAKING SON. A smidge if Steve Rogers super dna could explain how Coulson can die so much and keep coming back.

  7. OMG, I thought I was the only one with this theory. Glad to think it’s not so crazy after all.