Allow us to explain, for the uninitiated. Agent Wendell Vaughn made his first appearance, fittingly, in the Captain America series as a skilled S.H.I.E.L.D. officer of who lacked the willingness to ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ in extreme circumstances. At the time of Vaughn’s service, S.H.I.E.L.D. was experimenting on a pair of Quantum Bands believed to have once been created by the Kree – the same alien beings who crafted the ‘Cosmic Cube/Tesseract’ seen throughout ‘Phase One’s films.
In actual fact, the Bands were constructed by the Eternals. In case the distinction seems a bit too ‘fanboy’ to fly with mainstream audiences, there is already one Eternal that movie fans should be familiar with: Thanos, ‘The Mad Titan’.
To make a long origin story short: the lab comes under attack, and Vaughn has no choice but to put on the Quantum Bands in an attempt to defend the installation. In so doing, Vaughn’s lack of a ‘killer instinct’ or temper grants him the ability to absorb the immense energy flow from the artifacts, and win the day. Now granted the ability to emit blasts of cosmic energy and craft constructs from light (think Green Lantern), Vaughn adopts the name ‘Quasar,’ and decides to demonstrate the justice and heroism of the superhumans he once worked beside.
Vaughn would later go on to work with the Avengers, fight Thanos, be ‘killed’ by the Infinity Gauntlet, become best friends with Nova, and if the Marvel writers wanted to tweak the fiction, Vaughn’s successor as Quasar also briefly fought alongside Nova and Star-Lord as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
If that were played out on film, fans would have a hero that is a special effects team’s dream, markedly distinct from any of the other heroes and villains, and whose power is derived from the Cosmic universe that ‘Phase Three’ will almost certainly move toward. Vaughn fighting cosmic evil as Quasar would be a welcome sight, but the journey to that point might be where the most promise lies.
Considering the risks Marvel is taking in moving their films from grounded, more realistic plots to science fiction/fantasy, it would be a brilliant move to introduce Vaughn as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent first. If Vaughn went through ‘Phase Two’ as simply an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. for fans to recognize from one film to another, and only went Cosmic for ‘Phase Three,’ the connections between the more grounded franchises (Iron Man, Captain America) would be far more linked with the cosmic ones (Guardians, Thor). This time by a friendly face, as opposed to a villain.
Seeing the Avengers’ standalone films lead into a team-up was one thing, but having Wendell Vaughn (played by Josh Holloway, or anyone else) begin as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in ‘Phase Two,’ and end up fighting alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy or Avengers in ‘Phase Three’ would be a remarkable instance of character development.
We know Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet will play central roles in ‘Phase Two’ (the villain is confirmed to appear in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 2), but members of the Screen Rant staff are still vocally demanding that ‘Phase Three’ welcome both the Kree and Skrulls. Quasar’s powers offer a way to do just that – but more than just for continuity or a fan wish fulfilled, Quasar introduced this way would be one heck of a risk; though the payoff could be immeasurable.
This is all just speculation on our part, but the evidence is piling up. Do you think Quasar should be introduced with the Guardians of the Galaxy, or begin as an operative of S.H.I.E.L.D.? The cast of superheroes isn’t lacking at this point, but as major contracts start to expire, that might be the time for Agent Vaughn to get super. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
The full Marvel ‘Phase Two’ release schedule is as follows: Iron Man 3 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, and The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015.
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Artwork: Daniel Acuna ‘Quasar’ #23, John Tyler Christopher ‘Annihilators: Earthfall’ #4, Clint Langley ‘Realm of Kings,’ Gabriele Del’Otto ‘Annihilation: Nova’ #3, George Pérez & Ron Lim ‘Infinity Gauntlet’ #4.