Nick Fury and Maria Hill are up to a lot in Spider-Man: Far From Home.Photo: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a movie with plenty of twists and turns, and they don’t stop when either of its two credit sequences wrap up. We’ve already provided you some comic book background on its first, and perhaps most major, reveal. But there’s some cool comics canon in the second that has intriguing ramifications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward.
While that first sequence brings with it shocking consequences for Peter Parker personally, the second (and lighter) of the post-credit reveals has wider significance for the state of Marvel’s post-Endgame universe. Or rather, perhaps post-Captain Marvel universe might be a tad more accurate, considering the scene reveals one of two things: firstly, the Nick Fury and Maria Hill we’ve seen throughout Far From Home are in fact Talos and Soren (played again by Ben Mendelsohn and Sharon Blynn), two of the Skrull refugees Carol Danvers and Nick teamed up with during the events of Captain Marvel. They’re still on Earth two decades after the fact, and are now actively working as part of the other big reveal of the scene, as we cut to the second reveal of…
Well, Nick Fury being a bit far from home himself.
Specifically, Fury is having a holo-vacation on a massive spaceship/station out in the cosmos, before brushing off the sand from his fake beach and getting back to work alongside a whole legion of Skrulls. SHIELD might be…well, look, it’s complicated thanks to a certain bunch of lovable rapscallions on ABC, but as far as the Marvel movies are concerned? It’s basically dead. And so a new, intergalactically-minded organization has risen in its place. What could it be? Well, the comics actually provide two interesting options.
Raise up your S.W.O.R.D.
Let’s start with the most obvious one, given the presence of both Fury and the fact that this new cosmic group is clearly meant to be raised from the ashes of SHIELD: SWORD. You see what they did there, yes?
First introduced in Marvel Comics during Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s run on Astonishing X-Men in 2004, SWORD—the even more clumsily acronym’d Sentient World Observation and Response Department—was, as the nomenclature might hint, a sister organization to SHIELD. If SHIELD protected Earth’s interests against threats on the ground, SWORD was to be its vanguard, up among the stars and ready to face cosmic threats head-on. Well, before SHIELD and SWORD stopped really seeing eye-to-eyepatch with the departure of Fury as SHIELD’s director during the events of Civil War, that is.
SWORD, lead by agent Abigail Brand—who’ll become important again in a bit, so remember that name—faced those threats from the Peak, the operating base in orbit of the planet, sending superheroes and SWORD agents on deep space reconnaissance missions and other cosmically-bound adventures to essentially act as Earth’s first line of defense. Beyond that, SWORD hasn’t really had much of a major history, outside of the Peak occasionally getting invaded by aliens because…well, that’s what it’s there to do, pretty much.
If Fury’s organization in Spider-Man: Far From Home is indeed meant to be the MCU version of SWORD, it actually wouldn’t be the first time Marvel Studios tried to canonize the organization—the first Thor movie cut a reference to SWORD archives in a deleted scene, after it was decided there were legal issues around several notable SWORD agents who also happened to be mutants, like Lockheed and indeed Brand herself. That’s not a problem anymore, thanks to the distressing might of Mickey Mouse, so maybe now is the time for SWORD to shine on the silver screen?
Take the Alpha Flight
But there is another option Disney and Marvel Studios could be taking. Given that the Skrulls on Earth have a connection that’s very specifically tied to Captain Marvel, there’s actually a more recent organization in the comics that becomes a possibility for just what Fury is up to now. In fact, it’s actually the organization that seemingly replaced SWORD in Marvel Comics canon: Alpha Flight.
You might be wondering what a bunch of Canadians have to do with space—the answer is a lot—but yes, Alpha Flight was/is also a group of Canadian superheroes that’s been around since the late ‘70s, a mix of mutants (most notably Northstar, and even in an early form of the team, Wolverine) and powered humans that operated under a secretive branch of the Canadian government called Department H. They even worked with Justin Trudeau’s dad when he was Prime Minister!
Although Alpha Flight still is a team of Canadian superheroes now and then—and is still up for a tag-team with members of the Trudeau family—ever since Marvel reshuffled its multiverse into the “All-New, All-Different” universe after the events of Secret Wars in 2015, Alpha Flight has also been a space program, working together with Captain Marvel to act as humanity’s first line of interstellar defences. It was first introduced in the relaunched Captain Marvel ongoing by Agent Carter showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, as Carol took up her post as Commander of Alpha Flight’s space station.
It is, essentially, SWORD in all but name, plus Carol and Canada’s Mightiest Heroes. Brand heads Alpha Flight’s operations—backed by a council of Earth world leaders like Black Panther, as well as cosmic races like the Shi’ar and Kree—even if Captain Marvel is the public face of the program. And while their low-orbit space station is a lot less pointily-designed in comparison to the Peak, it’s essentially the same thing, and likewise exists to be very useful up to the point the story demands that it is suddenly not. Like during the events of Secret Empire, when the brainwashed Steve Rogers cut Alpha Flight off from preventing his and Hydra’s hostile takeover of the United States by engineering a Chitauri invasion as a distraction.
It’s, err, a long—and very bad!—story. Anyway, given that is the most current (and only) example of this in comics canon, and it’s built in connection to Captain Marvel, Alpha Flight would be a natural angle for the MCU’s new interstellar organization to take, even if it’s still Fury behind the wheel. The Skrulls’ connection to Carol is already there, it’d be a good bounding off point for whatever Captain Marvel 2 does, and, it could even be the opportunity to introduce those fine Canadians to the big screen. Who doesn’t want to see Puck get his own movie?
The fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to catapult us to an even wilder and weirder place than the last decade-plus of movies has already given us. We’ve already got people on the ground like Mysterio discerning between your everyday villainous act and an “Avengers-level” threat. What could be bigger than something that needs Earth’s Mightiest than something, like Thanos, that could come from among the stars? It’s no surprise, Skrull-twist or otherwise, that a man like Nick Fury stands ready to fight against it.
So whether it’s SWORD or Alpha Flight, what does this all mean going forward? Well, Fury’s ultimate goal just got a bit bigger than simply safeguarding Earth from threats on the ground. But it goes to show how the scope of Marvel’s movieverse has vastly expanded since those salad days of Tony Stark announcing to gathered press that he is indeed the Iron Man. This world isn’t the only world we’ve become familiar with in the MCU, and between the likes of Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even things like the upcoming Eternals movie, Marvel’s Earth is about to become a lot more intimately familiar with its place in the ever-expanding galaxy.
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