They’ve been agents of SHIELD. They’ve been agents of Hydra. Could Phil Coulson’s team next be agents of SWORD?
Spoilers for the Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Finale Follow
The fourth season finale of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD ended on an unexpected note. On Earth, having successfully survived the virtual world known as the Framework and defeated the LMD turned supervillain called AIDA, Coulson's SHIELD team was enjoying a meal at a diner. That meal was cut short when soldiers cut the power and entered the building and a shady government agent used a device to paralyze the agents in place and take them into custody.
That was followed by the final scene of the season, which showed Coulson waking up in outer space and getting ready to get to work.
This certainly seems to suggest that the fifth season of Agents of SHIELD will be heading to outer space, which may lead to the introduction of SWORD into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
SWORD stands for Sentient World Observation and Response Department. It is the sister organization to SHIELD. Where SHIELD is focused on keeping the peace on Earth, SWORD is responsible for monitoring the rest of the known universe.
SWORD was led by Special Agent Abigail Brand, a half-alien soldier who was just as tough and capable as her SHIELD counterpart, Nick Fury.
When the SHIELD team went to that diner, they were fully expecting police or military to come to arrest them. However, what if the agent who took them into custody wasn’t law enforcement, but SWORD come to collect the team for deployment on a special assignment? Ghost Rider implied that Coulson was hiding something from his SHIELD team. What if that secret was that he’s covertly been operating off-world as an agent of SWORD?
It is also worth noting that Agents of SHIELD will be deep into its fifth season when Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters in May 2018. Avengers: Infinity War will see Thanos bring his army to invade the Earth. The last time Thanos tried that in the Marvel Comics universe, in the event series Infinity, SWORD was part of Earth’s defense force. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe was ever going to introduce SWORD, this would be the most opportune time, and doing so in Agents of SHIELD provides an easy way to tie the series into the next major MCU event.
The problem is that Abigail Brand and SWORD were created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday in Astonishing X-Men. The short-lived SWORD comic book series was collected into a single volume titled X-Men: SWORD. That may mean that Brand and SWORD fall into the group of characters whose film and television rights belong to 20th Century Fox and its X-Men franchise, not to mention the fact the mutant Beast was once a member and romantically involved with Brand, and Kitty Pryde’s pet dragon Lockheed was an undercover SWORD agent within the X-Mansion. We can’t know for sure, but it may be more likely that fans will see SWORD in X-Men: Dark Phoenix than in Avengers: Infinity War.
Still, even if Marvel can’t use the name SWORD, they can still create a similar organization in its place. We’ll see when Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returns to ABC in the fall, following the Marvel’s Inhumans event series.
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