For those of us who have been watching WandaVision, the fantastic Disney+ TV series based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), we have recently been treated by something new. For the first time, the MCU have included a Marvel Comic organisation known as S.W.O.R.D. It’s always wonderful getting something new from the MCU, but usually we get a whole film which establishes its place in the universe. This is not the case with WandaVision however, with S.W.O.R.D being given only a few lines of dialogue that are easily missed, or not understood, to explain exactly what S.W.O.R.D. is. So, what is S.W.O.R.D.? Where does it fit into the MCU?
Warning: this article contains spoilers for WandaVision and the MCU in general!
What is S.W.O.R.D. in the MCU?
S.W.O.R.D. is an organisation in the MCU set up by Maria Rambeau, who you might remember is Captain Marvel’s old air force buddy. S.W.O.R.D stands for Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division and focuses on defending Earth from external threats, such as alien invasions. Originally, they were based on manned missions into space but after the Snap, when Thanos used the Infinity Stones to wipe out half of all life in the universe, they diversified into robotics, nanotech, and A.I. Sentient Weapons.
The organisation was formed in 1995, with Maria Rambeau as founding director and her daughter, Monica Rambeau (the very same one in Captain Marvel), also joined once she was also old enough. When the snap happened, Monica was dusted but Maria carried on as director until she died of cancer in 2020. The mantle passed onto director Tyler Hayward. Monica was then snapped back into existence, in the event known as the blip, to find her mother dead and the world has moved on.
Shortly after returning to S.W.O.R.D., Tyler Hayward assigned Monica Rambeau to investigate the Westview incident. The entire town of Westview seems to have been taken hostage under a mysterious force field. This is the event that forms the plot of WandaVision. That is all we know, currently, about S.W.O.R.D. in the MCU, although they could become a big part of the MCU in the future. But more on that later.
What is S.W.O.R.D. in the Marvel comics?
Much like in the MCU, S.W.O.R.D. is a division founded with the purpose of defending earth from alien threats. S.W.O.R.D. in the comics actually stands for Sentient World Observation and Response Department and was formed as a sub-division of S.H.I.E.L.D (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage and Law-Enforcement Division). Of course, S.W.O.R.D. could still be a sub-division of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the MCU, but this has not been confirmed. The director is Special Agent Abigail Brand, and they operate from a super cool space station known as the Peak.
S.W.O.R.D. was first introduced in the “Astonishing X-Men vol. 3 #6” comic and created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. S.W.O.R.D. has heavy ties to the X-Men franchise, with the likes of Wolverine, Cyclops and Beast having been included in storylines featuring S.W.O.R.D., as well as Magneto and Cable being current members of the organisation. S.W.O.R.D. has also been included in storylines featuring the Skrull (in the 2008 “Secret Invasion” storyline) and Norman Osborn (in the 2008 – 2009 “Dark Reign” storyline), who as many may remember, is the Green Goblin from Spider-Man.
Where will S.W.O.R.D. fit into the future of the MCU?
I don’t think that S.W.O.R.D. is a flash in the pan, fan service easter egg for die-hard Marvel Comic fans. I think S.W.O.R.D. is here to stay and will become a big part of the MCU. Just like S.H.I.E.L.D. being dropped in with hints and cameos in phase one of the MCU, to then become a major part in The Avengers and many subsequent MCU films, I think S.W.O.R.D. will have the same treatment. A mention here, a cameo there and then the organisation will form a key part in the MCU moving forward. We have already started to see a move towards space in the MCU. Series such as Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, and the Avengers are more and more focusing on space and extra-terrestrial threats and The Eternals will be with us soon.
I also have a couple of little fan theories I have thought about, just for you to mull over. The first is whether X-Men will become a part of the MCU sooner than we are led to believe. We have had S.W.O.R.D., an organisation heavily involved with the X-Men. We have had Disney (owner of Marvel Studios) buy 21st Century Fox, who owned the current X-Men film franchise.
And now, in episode five of WandaVision (“On a Very Special Episode…”), we have had Wanda’s brother Pietro Maximoff (known as Quicksilver in the comics), played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the MCU, “coming back to life”. This time, he has been re-cast by Wanda and is played by Evan Peters. Who does Evan Peters portray in the X-Men franchise? That’s right, Quicksilver! With a film like “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” coming up, it can be easy to dream that we could get a massive “multiverse” franchise crossover on its way. And who is set to appear in the aforementioned film? Wanda Maximoff, that’s who. At first, I thought Evan Peters was just a silly, fan service cameo. The more I investigate it though, the more I’m not so sure…
The second fan theory I have is Nick Fury’s involvement in S.H.I.E.L.D. This is purely conjecture, but in the post-credit scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Nick Fury is seen in what looks like a big ship surrounded by loads of Skrull, which he seems to be working very closely with. From what I can find online, this big ship is called the Talos’ Command Ship, but I don’t know why. The Skrull don’t call it that, Nick Fury doesn’t call it that. What if it is the Peak, the space station that is home to S.W.O.R.D. in the comics? As I mentioned earlier, we know that the Skrull and a Spider-Man villain have been involved in a storyline with S.W.O.R.D., so why not? Of course, we do seem to have a S.W.O.R.D. headquarters and a director, but what if Nick Fury is pulling the strings, behind the scenes with his Skrull best friends? Food for thought, I think…