WandaVision Updates: WandaVision creates a SHIELD substitute named Blade – and if comic book tradition holds, they may be the first enemies of the X-Men of the MCU.
A new organization called SWORD will be introduced by WandaVision – and they have the potential to become the first villains of the X-Men in the MCU.
Unlike anything in the MCU to date, the first two episodes of WandaVision introduce viewers to an alternate reality occupied by Scarlet Witch, Vision, and the residents of Westview. They are regulated by a shadowy agency with a badge derived from the comics – SWORD’s insignia.
In the comics, SWORD is an organization devoted to defending the World on behalf of the human race from extraterrestrial attacks and coping with matters of intergalactic diplomacy.
But in the MCU, SWORD was updated, with a WandaVision poster confirming that they are actually the “Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division.” This suggests that they are mainly dealing with superhumans, and it makes sense that Scarlet Witch will be high on their surveillance priority list.
She is one of the most powerful superhumans of all, and she was associated with a disaster leading to the passing of the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War. What’s more, with Wanda something has gone terribly wrong now – but it’s hard to tell just what at this stage.
Most audiences believe the SWORD will replace SHIELD in Step 4 of the MCU and beyond, and they very well be right. But it is also likely that they are set up not as allies, but as enemies.
In the comics, in his tremendous Astonishing X-Men run, Joss Whedon created SWORD. With their chief – Commander Abigail Brand – ready to go to all lengths to defend the World, they were viewed in a morally questionable light.
In order to ensure that Earth stayed secure, SWORD made SHIELD appear like the Boy Scouts, with Brand literally cooperating with aliens who tried to destroy the X-Men; there was no line she did not cross in order to fulfill her own agenda.
While SWORD eventually became allies of the X-Men, they still inhabited a morally gray area – Brand herself wound updating Beast and served as one of Cyclops’ informants for a while.
WandaVision features Teyonah Parris as the adult Monica Rambeau (a girl in Captain Marvel, which was set in 1995), as well as the return of Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis from the Thor films and Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man & the Wasp by Randall Park.
The MCU’s SWORD seems to have hired a variety of supporting characters from the MCU to date. Naturally, that inclines MCU fans to see SWORD in a positive light, but that could well be disappointing. Since the very acronym that drives SWORD shows that they do not see superhumans as individuals, but as “Sentient Weapons.”
In Captain America: Civil War, as he spoke about Steve Rogers not understanding the exact whereabouts of Thor and the Hulk, this is the same attitude shown by General Ross. “If I misplaced a couple of 30 megaton nukes,” Ross fumed, “you can bet there’d be consequences.”
Viewed in this way, SWORD is the Sokovia Accords’ next evolution. Stories may then handle SWORD as either ally of a certain superhero, depending on the storyline, or simply as rivals, or even blatant enemies seeking to police their actions.
WandaVision: How will SWORD react to the mutants’ introduction?
Naturally, all this poses an interesting question: how will SWORD react to the entry into the MCU of mutants? Since Disney bought the majority of Fox’s film and TV empire, Marvel reclaimed the movie rights to mutants, and it’s only a matter of time before they feature in the MCU.
The company is not yet able to announce just how it will be; Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, recently said that “discussions have been long and ongoing internally,” meaning that the revival of X-Men is currently scheduled and does not happen quickly.
However, whatever happens, the addition of mutants will forever modify the MCU. Superhumans would no doubt be counted in the dozens; there may be millions of them.
SWORD sees superhumans as weapons, and their views on mutants will certainly color that mindset. They would want to register and closely monitor any mutant, and they would take action if there were any mutant abilities that flared out of control.
In every X-Men film, where different Mutant Registration Activities have rightly been seen as precursors to anti-mutant programs, and where attempts to regulate mutants have a dangerous past, that would instantly place them as antagonists. It is not difficult to imagine that SWORD would evolve power-neutralizing weapons, inhibitor collars, and even Sentinels.
This will especially make characters like Darcy, Jimmy Woo, and Monica Rambeau fascinating. Any of them could continue to serve as positive leaders, maybe working secretly to subvert the actions of SWORD and support the X-Men. However, some may be seen to be sympathetic to the mission of Blade.
Overall, the possibility of random human beings suddenly acquiring superpowers is actually a legitimate cause to be worried about. Shouldn’t it bother the authorities that Scott Summers, a teenager, woke up one morning packing more strength behind his eyes than a tiny nuke?
What government does not care about unscrupulous telepaths extracting state secrets simply by going past a senator? The argument for mutant registration seen in a semi-sympathetic way would be fascinating to see, but, naturally, such a step would need to be done with the utmost caution.
After all, the X-Men are a sign of persecution by the minority, but Marvel does no doubt not want to make the anti-X-Men stance too compelling.
An interesting one is Marvel’s decision to modify SWORD in the MCU – to make the company one that focuses on superhumans rather than extraterrestrials.
This suggests that the SWORD version of the MCU will not be parallel to the party seen in the comics, but will play a somewhat different role, albeit one that may well serve as similarly antagonistic.
The change locations SWORD perfectly as the first enemies of the X-Men in the MCU, an ironic choice considering that SWORD first appeared in X-Men comics. Seeing how things turn out post-WandaVision, and whether or not Marvel follows this approach, would be intriguing.
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