ABC President Paul Lee clarified when in the Marvel timeline the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show takes place. The answer: AFTER the AVENGERS.
Here’s what he had to say: “There is no question that it is part of the Marvel Universe. In fact, the story takes place after the battle for New York.“
“This is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re following their own particular stories. There are characters in it, Coulson, who clearly come from Avengers. So it’s part of the world, but we’re going to be very, very careful that we don’t tread on the toes of the features and build a whole new world. And that’s what Joss Whedon does better than anybody else. He’s built a world for us.”
The question now becomes: how is Agent Coulson alive and well in the series? Is he the Vision? A Life Model Decoy? We’ll soon find out.