Clark Gregg is asked how much his ego was stroked in the pitch for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Was Gregg told that there simply couldn't be a TV show without him playing resurrected Agent Phil Coulson?
"No, I don't think anyone said that to me - I might have heard it in my head," Gregg says.
"This is pretty spectacular that this guy who starts out in Iron Man as kind of an annoying bureaucrat with a secret ends up with his own show. So I don't know. At some point they really might have to float my ego like that, but they haven't had to yet."
The new series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which debuts Tuesday on ABC and CTV, picks up where the movie Marvel's The Avengers left off.
However, the creative team behind the TV show - which includes Joss Whedon - insists that the TV series is a stand-alone project, and you don't need to have seen any of the related movies to pick up the TV show cold.
I take issue with that somewhat. The fact that Agent Coulson isn't dead won't be a big deal to anyone who hasn't seen the movies. And that's an important part of this. But I guess you still can follow the basics of what's occurring.
"My next-to-last day on The Avengers involved this certain Asgardian fellow impaling (Agent Coulson) quite convincingly," Gregg says. "I was surprised how emotional it was to me to give up the character and the long-term job. But then I heard a couple of jokes, like, 'Hey, it's a comic-book universe, how dead can you be?'
"Probably four or five months after The Avengers, I got a call from Joss, and we talked about how, if there were a reason for Coulson still being alive, that it didn't undermine the reality of The Avengers. When he explained to me a little bit more than what you see in the (first episode), the stuff that Coulson doesn't know, I hung up the phone very deeply on board."
Gregg does "marvel" - pun intended - at how much Agent Coulson has grown.
"He's a magnificent chain letter that began in Iron Man with a couple of scenes," Gregg says. "And the minute I showed up and started getting snarky with Robert Downey and improvising a little bit, suddenly there were more scenes, and he was in more movies. And every new director and writer put a little bit more of a twist on him.
"He became like the guy in Lollapalooza who is in the green room, managing all these diva rock stars, and I really enjoyed that iteration. And then Joss picked up everything else about him, that he's a geek, he's a fan-boy, he's the nerd avatar in this world who grew up reading this stuff and absolutely believes in the heroic stuff. That's such a complex dynamic for a guy who also is almost bored with this stuff."
As long as viewers aren't bored with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson gets to live another day.