Fans may be disappointed that SWORD won’t show up in the upcoming season of Agents of SHIELD, but it seems the series at least managed to find a clever and funny way to reference the organization’s absence.
Yesterday, ABC and Marvel Television released a special preview of the Agents of SHIELD Season Five premiere, revealing the first seventeen minutes of “Orientation: Part One.” The episode finds Phil Coulson and his team unexpectedly transported to outer space.
Naturally, the team wonders if SHIELD ever tried to build an outpost in outer space, which would explain why they were taken and why everyone they meet seems to already know who they are. Coulson tells the team that nothing about space exploration was in Nick Fury’s “black box,” the hard drive in which the former director of SHIELD stored all of his secrets.
Yo-Yo is surprised to hear this and says she was expecting to find out that SHIELD had a sister organization operating in space under an acronym like SPEAR. Coulson simply shakes his head at the thought as if to say that’s a silly idea on its face.
The reference to an organization with a matching acronym to SHIELD’s seems like a reference to SWORD. Specifically, Coulson’s reaction seems to be inspired by Beast’s reaction when Special Agent Abigail Brand introduced herself as the head of the Sentient Worlds Observation and Response Department in Astonishing X-Men #6 by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.
“The government and their acronyms...Honestly, it's adorable,” Best remarked.
Since Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is headed to space in season five, many fans spent the summer speculating about whether this meant the show would introduce the SHIELD’s cosmic counterpart form the Marvel Comics universe, SWORD, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was later confirmed that wouldn’t be the case since Marvel does not have the rights to SWORD. Those rights likely rest with 20th Century Fox and the X-Men, since the organization made its first appearance in the pages of Astonishing X-Men.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returns with a two-hour season premiere Friday, December 1st at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.