After serving as side characters in various MCU projects during the Infinity Saga, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have returned as Wanda Maximoff and Vision to star in their own series in the form of WandaVision while also kicking off the ambitious Phase 4 slate of the franchise. The show picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame but fans are surprised to see the power couple in a different (and unusual) set-up.
The couple is now living in the suburbs, seemingly inspired by several sitcoms across different decades. This surprise plot point has been the subject of theories and speculation from viewers online, and this was pushed to the forefront during “Episode 4” when a sentient organization called S.W.O.R.D. entered the picture.
Upon the debut of the mysterious group, fans quickly noticed the agency's similarities to S.H.I.E.L.D. This was further amplified by the entertaining back and forth between Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo about trying to find out what's really going on in Westview, a dynamic that is reminiscent of the recently concluded Agents of SHIELD Marvel series from ABC.
The seven-season run of Agents of SHIELD was swamped with a lingering question of whether the show is still set in the larger MCU. While it's true that the first few seasons are directly impacted by major events from films like Thor: Dark The World and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the series slowly distanced themselves from the MCU by doing its own thing through the use of time travel and time jumps.
Now, a new reveal may have indicated that Agents of SHIELD was almost close to the interconnected narrative of the monumental franchise, but the plan was ultimately derailed.
AGENTS OF S.W.O.R.D.
In a tweet, Agents of SHIELD VFX supervisor Mark Kolpack revealed the original plan for the core characters of the ABC series.
Initially, Kolpack said that the agents were supposed to become S.W.O.R.D. “long before [Season 7]” but Marvel studios “nixed” the idea, indicating that they “had plans” for it in the future then.
To be fair, we became SWORD long before S7 but could never say that acronym. I was excited to see it in the script but not surprised when it got nixed. Clearly Marvel features had plans for it and here we are. https://t.co/DyHjEHaEss— Mark Kolpack (@MarkKolpack) January 31, 2021
Kolpack also shared that there was one moment in the script of the Season 7 finale that Daniel Sousa actually mentioned “SWORD” to potentially confirm the agency's transformation in the show.
Agree with that. Just one tidbit— Mark Kolpack (@MarkKolpack) January 31, 2021
Ep 713 @AgentsofSHIELD toward the end Sousa is reading a book on Z-3- cool but no biggy. He had a line that was dropped. Now I can't remember if it was in the script or shot. I think script -- He actually said -- SWORD! Loved it. Oh Well. 😩 https://t.co/nIovYilUSf
CAN SHIELD RETURN TO THE MODERN DAY MCU?
Kolpack's statement should serve as further proof that Agents of SHIELD is not within the canon of the MCU. While it's unfortunate, it's safe to say that this development worked well for both sides, considering that the ABC series managed to tell riskier stories without being confined within the MCU.
As for Marvel Studios, they were able to establish S.W.O.R.D. as a premier organization that is completely tied to one of the core characters of the Captain Marvel franchise, which is a prime example of the well-earned payoff from the MCU's interconnected storytelling.
Given the importance of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's not hard to envision a scenario of the agency's return down the line, and the latest evidence may have already teased their comeback. Jeremy Renner previously posted an image of his quiver from the upcoming Hawkeye series that has a S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem, potentially hinting that the Nick Fury-led organization has returned in some form.
It's possible that Hawkeye will include scenes from Clint's past that could explain the design from the quiver, but it was evident that he uses the same equipment during his team-up with Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop. Whatever the case, it's safe to say that S.H.I.E.L.D. will play a part in at least one of the upcoming Disney+ series moving forward.
Looking ahead, the actual return of Agent Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. in the post-Endgame MCU is another topic altogether. The series finale of Agents of SHIELD clearly established that the show is set in an alternate reality already where The Blip didn't happen, and the show further used concepts like the Quantum Realm to help explain how the team ended up in that particular situation.
Still, this doesn't mean that Agents of SHIELD will not be referenced in the MCU again. Given that the multiverse is the main focus of Phase 4, there's a solid chance that the show will be featured in some way to establish its place in the vast multiverse of the franchise. In a way, this should be a fitting end to the first-ever MCU spinoff.