Clark Gregg's 'Agents of SHIELD' Return is still a Mystery

The Agents of SHIELD fandom is currently exploding on Twitter as news of the show's renewal for a seventh season dropped today.

This early renewal comes as a shock to fans, who have fought tooth and nail every single year for another season. Being guaranteed a seventh season before season six even airs is a huge win for fans, who can finally breath easy.

However, there is still one big looming question that is tearing into the celebration… Will Clark Gregg return as Agent Phil Coulson? The cast list for seasons six and seven both leave out Coulson, who died (again!) during the season five finale (well, sort of).

Coulson, who spent much of the fifth season as a dying man, was given a beautiful send-off in the finale. "The End" concluded with Coulson and May finally ending up together and visiting the real Tahiti at long last. Considering this was filmed as a potential series finale, it's safe to say Coulson didn't survive.

That being said, we have no idea how the show is going to tie in with the events of Avengers: Infinity War. The fifth season's final episodes took place at the same time as the film, briefly mentioning Thanos, but since the show had its own trials and tribulations, the snap was never addressed.

We have one important piece of information to work with and that's the title of the season six premiere: "Missing Pieces." It's likely this title refers to one of two things: either the Thanos snap or the hole left behind by Coulson and Fitz.

Surely, the characters on Agents of SHIELD will have to deal with the aftermath of Infinity War, even if none of the main characters were dusted. (If all the original Avengers can make it, so can the core S.H.I.E.L.D. team.) Since half the world is gone, everyone who got dused could be the "missing pieces."

The core team will also be dealing with loss of Fitz and Coulson. We saw the former die onscreen, but there's another version of him frozen out in space and Iain De Caestecker is already confirmed to return.

Considering Fitz and Coulson are important members of the team, they could easily qualify as "missing pieces." However, knowing the sneaky ways of Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, the title could end up meaning something out of left field.

Another important bit of news is the fact that Clark Gregg is directing "Missing Pieces." Many people in the fandom believe that this was a tactic for him to be on set without raising suspicion of his character's return.

The cast and crew have been extremely tight-lipped on social media, unable to post anything from the sixth season set.

Many of us are convinced the show is pulling a Jon Snow by leaving Gregg off the upcoming cast lists. With the Quantum Realm possibly coming into play for Avengers 4, there are theories of time resets, which would be an easy explanation for Coulson's return.

It's important to note that no one from the cast or crew has officially said Gregg won't be returning. While the mystery is fun, many fans will be devastated if the heart and star of the show doesn't come back (#CoulsonLives).

No matter what happens, Tancharoen and Whedon haven't let us down in five seasons, and we expect the fate of Coulson will make for great television, no matter the outcome.

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This has been a dynamite month for Agents of SHIELD, a show that can't seem to lose. In addition to a Parrot Analytics study that proves it's the most popular Marvel show, the VF team took home a Visual Effects prize last night at the HPA Awards.

Agents of SHIELD is set to return to ABC next summer.