What is Marvel’s Secretive S.W.O.R.D. Organization?

Since Marvel Comics’ earliest days, the spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D has been a stalwart defender of the planet against criminal and terrorist threats. But in the early 2000s, the long-running organization got a little competition. With S.H.I.E.L.D defending the Earth from threats born within the confines of the world as we know it, who defends it from other worldly threats?

The answer came in 2003, when S.W.O.R.D. -the Sentient World Observation and Response Department – was introduced. Created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday for their 2004 run of Astonishing X-Men, S.W.O.R.D. has since become a mainstay of the Marvel Universe. And if the post-credits tag of Spider-Man: Far From Home is any indication, they’ll be playing a big part in the MCU as well going forward. It is very likely they’ll have a sizable role to play in Nia DaCosta’s Captain Marvel sequel.

Who and What is S.W.O.R.D.?
What is Marvel's Secretive S.W.O.R.D. Organization?_1

Marvel Comics

S.W.O.R.D.’s task is to monitor all the known inhabited planets for possible threats, keeping tabs on races like the Kree and the Skrull, and countless others. Operating in secret, they remain an unknown organization to most of the world. Technically, so does S.H.I.E.L.D, but it seems by now the “secret” part of that secret organization has vanished. Early S.W.O.R.D appearances show them as an offshoot of S.H.I.E.L.D., kind of like a sister organization. They appear to have full autonomy in later appearances, and don’t seem to answer to Nick Fury or Maria Hill.

What is Marvel's Secretive S.W.O.R.D. Organization?_2

Marvel Comics

S.W.O.R.D.’s director is Abigail Brand. The emerald-haired Brand is half alien, half mutant, and has the power to emit energy from her hands that can melt metal. The no-nonsense head of the organization often has to play nice with hostile alien empires, in order to protect the very vulnerable Earth. Brand runs the the show from a massive orbital space station known as The Peak. Brand has placed agents of S.W.O.R.D as spies into different superhero teams on Earth over the years. One of these spies was X-Man Kitty Pryde’s alien dragon Lockheed. For the Avengers, Brand planted Spider-Woman as her mole.

What is Marvel's Secretive S.W.O.R.D. Organization?_3

Marvel Comics

S.W.O.R.D. played a key role in Marvel Comics events, such as Secret Invasion and Dark Reign. The Alpha Flight Space Program has seemingly replaced S.W.O.R.D in recent years. Apparently Alpha Flight is serving much the same function as S.W.O.R.D, so it’s not entirely clear whether or not the Alpha Flight Space Program is a replacement for S.W.O.R.D or an extension of it. It seems to be the latter, if only because Abigail Brand works for Alpha Flight as well. The head of the Alpha Flight Space Program in the comics is none other than Captain Marvel. Which leads us straight into our Captain Marvel 2 speculation.

Why Captain Marvel 2 Will Likely Feature S.W.O.R.D. (BIG MCU SPOILERS!)
What is Marvel's Secretive S.W.O.R.D. Organization?_4

Marvel Comics

The post credits scene for Spider-Man: Far From Home shows Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is what looks to be some kind of orbital space station. Many (presumably friendly) Skrulls are seemingly working for him. This suggests we are seeing construction of the Peak, and that S.W.O.R.D will soon arrive in the MCU. Since S.W.O.R.D originally began as on offshoot of S.H.I.E.L.D in the comics, it makes sense for the movies to do something similar, and have them founded by Fury himself.

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Marvel Comics

Here’s why Captain Marvel 2 will likely feature S.W.O.R.D. in a big capacity. The upcoming Disney+ WandaVision series is showcasing actress Teyonah Parris as the adult version of Monica Rambeau, as seen in set photos that surfaced last year. Rambeau got her introductions as a young kid in the first Captain Marvel. Those set photos show her standing in front of a building which had the S.W.O.R.D. logo on it, wearing a S.W.O.R.D. logo on her chest. That pretty much confirms that she’ll be an agent of the organization in some capacity.

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Captain Marvel 2 hasn’t confirmed Teyonah Parris for a role quite yet. Now that director Nia Dacosta has come on board for the sequel, we wouldn’t be shocked if Parris joins up,  given that they worked together on Candyman. Most importantly, Rambeau herself becomes Captain Marvel in the comics, so it seems like she’s a sure bet to appear.

I suspect that Nick Fury will recall Carol Danvers home and make her the head of S.W.O.R.D, similarly to how she headed up the Alpha Flight Space Program in the comics. Fury will likely sweeten the deal for her by telling her she gets to work with her favorite niece, “Lt. Trouble.” One thing is certain – S.W.O.R.D. is definitely being set up in the MCU. And that means the comic side of Marvel is about to get very interesting.

Featured Image: Marvel Comics

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