A new fan theory on Reddit has dug into the plot line of 2012's The Avengers. Proposed by user u/LightLordTyler, the theory suggests that Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) wanted to die by the hands of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in order to inspire the heroes. This belief isn't something completely new to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as his death does end up being the catalyst that sparks the Avengers to push on.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) also plays up Coulson's death in order to give the heroes "the push" they needed to keep fighting and intentionally bloodied the agent's Captain America (Chris Evans) trading cards to do so. The Redditor believes the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent knew they needed something to inspire them, and he purposely egged on Loki.
"At the end of Loki's attack on the helicarrier, Coulson approaches Loki alone. Instead of simply shooting him with the gun that he was holding, he starts talking to Loki. Loki stabs him in the back and escapes. I think he wanted this to happen. As Tony says later on in the movie, Coulson should have waited for help. Why didn't he call someone? Also, when Coulson dies talking to Fury, he tells Fury that (the Avengers) needed this," part of the theory reads.
The theory then goes on to point out the trading cards, which Fury likely did because of Coulson telling him the heroes needed his death. If Fury had used the death without the comment remains open to interpretation. Prior to his death scene, the Avengers weren't working together as much of a team, and it was Coulson's demise that eventually brought them together in taking down Loki.
The theory has been upvoted on Reddit 795 times in just under 10 hours, making it one of the MCU's most popular series on the site in a few months. Some other Marvel fans in the comments suggested Coulson (who was eventually resurrected for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) was just buying time for Thor, who was in desperate need of a getaway from his brother.
Other comments were somewhat disappointed with the theory, saying it was obvious the sad death was the catalyst and not something that needed to be theorized. While true, it was normally perceived that this was a tactic put in line by Fury, not Coulson himself. Despite being accepted by many, the theory was also torn down quite a bit by fans who believed it was more so a plot line and good writing than anything else. Others said the group barely knew Coulson and his death wouldn't have weighed so heavily on them to cause them to finally come together as a unit.