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For other uses, see Black Box (disambiguation)

"What is it?"
"Toolbox, to help you build it back up."
Phil Coulson and Nick Fury[src]

The Toolbox, or Black Box, is a compact digital storage device made out of vibranium that holds a collected database of classified S.H.I.E.L.D. files, and additional information, privy to any acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. The device serves as its own independent computer system, projecting a holographic user interface.

Nick Fury gave the Toolbox to Phil Coulson with the purpose of helping Coulson rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. after an infiltration by HYDRA left the organization fractured.


"Fury's Toolbox is locked in Coulson's office."
Alphonso Mackenzie to Bobbi Morse[src]

Nick Fury gives Phil Coulson the Toolbox

Following the discovery of a vast infiltration of HYDRA sleeper agents among S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ranks, Director Nick Fury went into hiding, where he eventually encountered Agent Phil Coulson and his Team. Due to his trust and respect for Coulson as one of his former top agents, Fury appointed Coulson as the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and gave him the Toolbox to help him gather the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. and rebuild it from the ground up. The Toolbox gave Coulson the coordinates of the Playground, which Coulson made his new headquarters.[1]

The Toolbox displaying a hologram of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secret files

As Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson regularly consulted the files in the Toolbox, keeping it stored in a secret compartment in his desk. The device continued to prove a valuable asset, giving Coulson information on potential resources and personnel as he continued to rebuild. When S.H.I.E.L.D. became caught up in HYDRA's hunt for a decades old artifact that S.H.I.E.L.D. had recently lost, the Toolbox provided files from the Strategic Scientific Reserve revealing the object was the first 0-8-4, an Obelisk that Peggy Carter confiscated in 1945.[2]

Following a string of missions under Coulson's direction that left some of his agents questioning his leadership, two of his agents, Alphonso Mackenzie and Bobbi Morse, began searching for the Toolbox. Mackenzie reviewed the blueprints of the Playground and, using a device hidden in a gift for Coulson that scanned for the Vibranium in the Toolbox, discovered that it was in Phil Coulson's office; he told Morse that everything was proceeding on schedule.[3]

Phil Coulson opens the Toolbox

Lance Hunter, having become suspicious of Mackenzie and Morse, confronted Mackenzie demanding to know what they were up to, only for Mackenzie to retaliate by taking Hunter prisoner. Mackenzie revealed that he and Morse were attempting to take the Toolbox under orders from Robert Gonzales, the leader of a separate S.H.I.E.L.D. faction. Gonzales resented Director Nick Fury's previous leadership methods based on secrecy and compartmentalization and denied Coulson's right to be Director as Fury's successor. Believing in the ideal of transparency, Gonzales sought the Toolbox in order to put all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets out on the table and continue its leadership under his faction.[4]

Bobbi Morse attempts to steal the Toolbox

While Alphonso Mackenzie provided a distraction, Bobbi Morse stole the Toolbox from Coulson's office. Despite the best efforts of Melinda May and Jemma Simmons, she delivered the Toolbox to Robert Gonzales, who asked Phil Coulson to open it for him. He believed it contained information on individuals and objects of great power whom Gonzales planned on tracking down and eliminating. Coulson refused, so Gonzales passed it on to Anne Weaver to crack.[5]

Leo Fitz finds the Toolbox

Robert Gonzales and Bobbi Morse went to Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz to ask for their help in accessing the Toolbox. When Morse said that they would not be imprisoned if they refused, Fitz refused and resigned from S.H.I.E.L.D.. Simmons later helped Fitz smuggle the Toolbox from the Playground while she remained behind and pretended to work on a counterfeited duplicate.[6] While on the run Fitz was tailed by two of Gonzalez's men. He successfully opened the Toolbox in a diner's restroom, and accessed Phil Coulson's personal tablet where he made contact with Coulson and Lance Hunter. They agreed to meet him after Hunter helped Fitz escape his tail.[7]

Bobbi Morse and Jemma Simmons discuss the Toolbox

Meanwhile, conversations between Morse and May about Theta Protocol caused May to order Simmons to open the Toolbox. Simmons was forced to reveal that she had created and possessed a fake Toolbox, while Fitz escaped with the authentic item.

Eventually, Coulson surrendered himself to Gonzales for the sake of reunification [8] and gave the Toolbox to Gonzales, promising to unlock if he'd cooperate in attacking HYDRA's Arctic facility. However, once the operation was successful, after unlocking the Toolbox, Coulson told his competitor that Nick Fury was alive and would want the Toolbox returned.[9]

Malachi acquires the Toolbox

Having become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Alphonso Mackenzie became the rightful owner of the Toolbox. He frequently activated holographic messages recorded by Coulson seeking for advice on how to lead the newly rebuilt organization, even months after Coulson had died.[10] However, the Lighthouse was invaded by the Chronicom Hunters and Malachi acquired the Toolbox to learn about the secrets of S.H.I.E.L.D.[11]


"Pure vibranium shell... no ports, no external power source. How do you get inside to retrieve the data?"
"I suspect advanced biometric access points."
Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons[src]

The Toolbox is a small, pocket-sized, cube-shaped block that functions as a compact digital storage device. The device serves as an independent computer system, projecting a holographic user interface that projects files, including written documents, pictures and videos, in independent windows on a large holographic framework that the user can manipulate with hand motions. It also has a wireless communication system that allows it to make contact with other computer-based systems, like hand-held tablets. The Toolbox contains a collected database of classified S.H.I.E.L.D. files, and additional information, privy to any acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., including files dating back to the Strategic Scientific Reserve, files from the highest levels of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s former compartmentalized system, and even secret files that were maintained outside of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s record-keeping system. In order to protect its valuable secrets, the Toolbox's outer shell is composed of a Vibranium alloy and its interface use DNA encryption so that only authorized individuals can access it.


Appearances for the Toolbox

In chronological order:


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