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How The MCU Is Setting Up SHIELD's Replacement For Phase 4

The Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to be setting up a S.H.I.E.L.D. replacement in Phase 4; could Nick Fury now be working for the organization known as S.W.O.R.D.? Fury vanished from the MCU in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, finally returning for a brief moment in Avengers: Infinity War. Tie-in comics have revealed that he's been operating as an independent operative for the last few years, working with Maria Hill to deal with crises after the splintering of the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War.

And it looks as though Fury will play an important role in the future of the MCU. Captain Marvel is essentially Fury's origin story, which will set the scene for his inevitable return in Avengers: Endgame. Both Fury and Hill will then star in Spider-Man: Far From Home, next year's Spider-Man sequel that's set minutes after the events of Endgame. Given this is the first MCU Phase 4 movie, it's generally believed that the small role indicates just how significant Fury will be to the MCU going forward. There are even rumors that Fury could then star in his own TV series on Disney Plus, but that hasn't been confirmed yet.

Related: Every Marvel TV Show Coming To The Disney Streaming Service

But what role will Nick Fury play in the MCU after the dust has settled from Avengers: Endgame? The evidence is building that he's working with a new organization - and it's possible that they could even be S.W.O.R.D., another one of Marvel Comics' secretive organizations.

Nick Fury Has A New Organization In Spider-Man: Far From Home

Nick Fury in Spider-Man Far From Home

As noted, official Captain Marvel tie-in comics have revealed that Fury and Hill have been working independently for the last few years. They've been acting as global troubleshooters, using resources Fury had hidden away against this eventuality while he was Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It looks as though he still had a lot of connections; there was a reference to Klein, a S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalist who apparently now works for a company called Transpo and has been helping cover Fury's tracks. One scene in the comics also suggested that Fury is still in touch with James Rhodes, aka War Machine.

But Avengers: Endgame looks set to change Nick Fury's status quo considerably. A batch of set photos from Spider-Man: From Far Home showed a fleet of S.H.I.E.L.D.-style cars pulling up to surround Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio, What's more, descriptions of Spider-Man: Far From Home's first trailer have stressed that Fury gives Peter Parker some alternate costumes over the course of the movie (he's left his actual Spider-Man suit back in the United States). One of these, a stealth-type Spider-Man suit, is reminiscent of a costume S.H.I.E.L.D. gave to Spider-Man in the "Secret War" event in the comics. So it looks like Nick Fury is back in a position where he's playing with considerable resources - presumably acting as a key agent (if not leader) of an all-new organization. Their remit appears to be fairly similar to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s, given they recruit Spider-Man to help deal with the threat of mysterious elemental forces wreaking havoc in Europe.

As Far As The Movies Are Concerned, SHIELD Is Over

It's commonly assumed that Fury's new organization is a resurgent S.H.I.E.L.D.. In reality, though, that doesn't currently seem to be particularly likely. It's important to remember that Marvel Studios and Marvel Television operate independently now, and that frankly relations between the two Disney subsidiaries don't seem to be good. As a result, Marvel Television tend to only have access to properties that Marvel Studios have no plans for. And Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has now been renewed for two more seasons by ABC, which will air in 2019 and 2020. That strongly suggests Marvel Studios has no interest in S.H.I.E.L.D. at all; as far as the films are concerned, S.H.I.E.L.D. might as well have shut down completely in the aftermath of 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Related: Marvel TV Is More Successful Than You Think - And We Can Prove It

It's possible that Marvel Studios will simply create a brand new organization from scratch, one that serves a similar purpose to S.H.I.E.L.D.. After all, the MCU is gradually moving away from its comic book roots, allowing writers to do their own thing (in addition to leaving Earth behind to go more cosmic); Avengers: Endgame has been described as an entirely original story, for example, while there's certainly no comic book precedent for anything that's been described in Spider-Man: Far From Home. But Marvel may not need to take that approach; instead, they could take inspiration from another organization in the comics, S.W.O.R.D..

Page 2 of 2: Could Nick Fury Be Working For S.W.O.R.D.?

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Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
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