My friends and I joked about that character biting it before the movie started we were like. "It's a Joss Whedon film. The most beloved characters always must be sacrificed to satisfy whatever god the Whedon worships." Sure enough... But I dunno part of me thinks they're dead, on the other hand... Using Coulson's Cap trading cards and coating them with "blood" either shows how much a bastard this Fury to use his sacrifice even more. Or.. Coulson will become this universe's Vision. The fact Stark walked out on them all when Fury told them Coulson was dead could easily be shown in Iron Man 3's extra ending that he copied Coulson's brain patterns and sent them to Pym. Also wasn't Coulson still in the cast for Iron Man 3? Still him blasting Loki with the Destroyer gun was my second fav moment of the film. First being Hulk smashing Loki around like a rag doll. The LOOK Hiddleston has afterword just sold that scene perfectly. Best villain pissed in his pants moment EVER.
See, I just thought that Nick lied about him dying. We're TOLD that the doctors called him, we know that Nick faked the cards to motivate the team... I think they stitched up and Nick put him in witness protection. (Which is what I thought we would see in the after credits scene). I guess he could have pulled another "Winter Soldier" and injected him with something...
OR... if he really is dead and the next movie is dealing with Thanos and death... maybe he's brought back just to twist the knife a bit.
Basically, I'm thinking that, unless I see a body or hear something to the conrary, this is a "comic book death" and they're dead unless/until someone wants to do something different.
As to who should voice the character at the end? Michael Ironside!
Also... e_gal came across a cast list awhile back. Never would have known that Alexis Denisof (Wesley from Buffy/Angel) was the cloaked dude at the end!