BEVERLY HILLS -- In "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," a spinoff of Disney's blockbuster movie, "The Avengers, " Agent Phil Coulson lives again and Clark Gregg, the actor who plays him, couldn't be happier.

Coulson was thought to be dead -- the victim of a fatal stabbing at the hands of Loki in the big-screen film. So Gregg was thrilled to get a call from executive producer Joss Whedon telling him that the character would be resurrected for the TV show.

"My next-to-last day on 'The Avengers' involved this certain Asgardian fellow impaling me quite convincingly," Gregg told reporters at the TV critics press tour. "I was surprised how emotional it was to me to give up the character and the long-term job. I made jokes like: 'Is there going to be a rewrite?' ... 'Do you want to shoot (a scene) where he just grazes me a little bit?' ... But it was really clear that I was dead."

 "Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," Marvel’s first television series, is from executive producers Joss Whedon ("Marvel’s
"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," Marvel's first television series, is from executive producers Joss Whedon ("Marvel's The Avengers," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, who co-wrote the pilot ("Dollhouse," "Dr.Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"). (Bob D'Amico/ABC)

Until now. Whedon said that Coulson's revival will be explained over "several episodes."

Whedon, who has his hands full with the next "Avengers" film, said he was drawn to "S.H.I.E.L.D." because of the humanistic elements embedded in its team of misfit agents.

"The thing that appealed to me is the idea of people who didn't have superpowers -- the person who didn't get the hammer," he said. " ... The thought that everyone matters."

Meanwhile, Ming-Na Wen, who plays agent Melinda May, is enjoying the chance to get physical.

"I am so proud to show off these guns," she said, flexing her muscle. "It's wonderful to raise the bar, to work out and do the training really needed to carry this character off. I think I'm going to be in the best shape of life. I hate to work out, but I do like kicking ass."