23. Phil Coulson
Actor: Clark Gregg
"We are not agents of nothing, we are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that still carries weight! It has to carry weight." -Phil Coulson
There has been a lot of debate about whether or not Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are certain moments where it seems like they are. For example, the team's involvement helped the Avengers find the Hydra base in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Whether they are or aren’t hasn’t stopped people from watching. Most of that is because of Agent Phil Coulson.
It’s doubtful that Marvel Studios thought Phil Coulson would become this popular. Nevertheless, he stole the hearts of viewers in Iron Man, Thor, and beyond. After he was killed in The Avengers (thanks, Loki) Marvel took notice. Instead of leaving him dead like so many heroes and villains, he became the star of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
We all loved the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Melinda May and Daisy Johnson are characters fans want in the MCU. As beloved as they are, Phil Coulson was the show's driving force. So much so that changes to his character were a big deal. Being able to binge the entire series is a big deal. You’re able to see all of the changes that were made and judge if they made sense or if he should have stayed the same.