Spider-Man: Far from Home gives us two doozy post-credits scenes. One of these in particular has massive implications for not only Spidey, but the entire MCU.

There are massive SPOILERS contained herein, so you have been properly warned!

The second big post credits scene for Spider-Man: Far from Home literally takes us as “far from home” as it gets, if your home happens to be the Earth like most of us. In the scene, we at first see Nick Fury in what looks like an idyllic tropical getaway, ignoring a call from the Skrull Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), who has been impersonating him on Earth. But all is not as it seems. The beach turns out to be a hologram, and we see that Fury is actually in what looks like a giant space station, one apparently under construction. Accompanying Fury are several other Skrulls, whom one would assume are all allies of Talos.

Explaining SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME’s Second Post-Credits Scene_1

For longtime fans of the Marvel, the clear indication here is that we are seeing the beginnings of the organization known in the comics as S.W.O.R.D. And the addition of the venerable operation has a history in modern Marvel lore as being very important. But we are here to explain to the uninitiated just what S.W.O.R.D. is, and how they could play a very important role in the MCU going forward.

What is S.W.O.R.D.?

S.W.O.R.D., which stands for “Sentient World Observation and Response Department,” is the sister organization to S.H.I.E.L.D. While that covert ops group was built to respond to more down-to-Earth threats like Hydra and Doctor Doom, S.W.O.R.D. has its eye on something bigger. They were created to protect Earth from hostile alien threats. The monitor extraterrestrial incursions from the orbiting headquarters known as “the Peak,” which is highly reminiscent of the Justice League Watchtower from the DC Animated Universe.

S.W.O.R.D. first appeared in Astonishing X-Men #6, back in 2004. Created by writer Joss Whedon during his celebrated run on the title, S.W.O.R.D. is Earth’s secret weapon against enemies from other worlds. Although technically they were a subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D., for the most part S.W.O.R.D. seemed to function independently. Their leader was Abigail Brand, a green-haired half-alien/half-mutant. In their first appearance, they helped the X-Men save the Earth from the threat of Breakworld. And they’ve made numerous appearances ever since, even receiving their own limited series. Among their prominent members are the X-Man Beast and Spider-Woman.

Why introducing S.W.O.R.D in Phase 4 makes sense

S.W.O.R.D is absolutely ideal to introduce into the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now. One could say it’s been a long time coming. For starters, this would be the next logical step as a response to not only the Chitauri invasion in the original Avengers, but also Thanos’ invasion in Infinity War. After these events, the world knows that hostile aliens are a big, big threat. Even though S.H.I.E.L.D. technically was reformed as a shell of what it once was on the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there needs to be something bigger than that to prepare the world for a much more powerful threat from the stars. S.W.O.R.D makes perfect sense to introduce into the MCU post-Endgame.

So has Nick Fury been planning this for years?

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fury faked his own death when S.H.I.E.L.D fell, and after Hydra’s assassination attempts against him failed. But he has since made several very public appearances in the MCU, which suggests he has revealed himself as being actually alive once the Hydra threat was neutralized once and for all in Age of Ultron. But he didn’t rejoin S.H.I.E.L.D. when it reformed. So it makes sense he is working on something bigger and better than S.H.I.E.L.D. to take care of the far more powerful threats that Earth is facing. The Thanos-sized kind.

To do so he’d need likely alien help. And since the Asgardians are living on Earth now with little of their advanced tech at their disposal, it makes sense that he’d reach out to Talos and the Skrull refugees he met back in the ’90s. Although they departed to unknown worlds at the end of Captain Marvel, Carol would know where they were and how to contact them on Fury’s behalf if need be. If the MCU is going to take a more cosmic bent going forward, they are going to need something like S.W.O.R.D. Especially with the Avengers seemingly done as a group (for now).

The addition of S.W.O.R.D. to the MCU ups the stakes for the whole slate going forward. In many ways, this is as important as the first time Fury approached Tony Stark all those years ago in the first Iron Man and said the words “Avengers Initiative!”

Images: Marvel Comics / Marvel Studios / Sony