Spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The final post-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home not only revealed the film’s last secret (Talos and Soren masquerading as Nick Fury and Maria Hill), it also set the stage for what could be the next big through-line of the Marvel Universe in its reveal of Nick Fury’s actual location.
As it turns out, Nick Fury sent Talos to Earth in his place because he’s vacation on some kind of space station manned – and apparently being constructed – by Skrulls. But that brief teaser only raised more questions. What is this base? What’s Fury doing there? And what might it mean for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Though Marvel Studios has shown time and time again it’s full of off-kilter surprises when it comes to future plans, the answers to what that scene could be foreshadowing may lie back in the MCU’s good old-fashioned comic book source material.
Here’s how it could break down…
The S.H.I.E.L.D. and the S.W.O.R.D.
The most obvious connection to draw between that post-credits scene and comic books is from Nick Fury to S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) – S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mysterious sister organization which operates out of an orbital base called the Peak which hovers in watch over the Earth. Though S.W.O.R.D.‘s comic book origins remain untold, the organization is designed as Earth’s first line of defense against threats from space.
That description sure sounds a lot like what we may be seeing in that scene. Could Nick Fury be building a base and a system to respond to spacebound threats, a la Thanos? It's a likely outcome - but the scene is careful to never offer any kind of establishing shot to show where the base is, so it may not even be near Earth. However, given the fact that Fury and Talos seem to be talking on cellphones, that suggests a close proximity given the technology it previously took to contact Captain Marvel.
Building a Brand
In comic books, S.W.O.R.D. is run not by Nick Fury but by Abigail Brand, a young mutant with green hair and cosmic fire powers. S.W.O.R.D. first debuted in Astonishing X-Men, aiding the mutant team in a battle with the extra-terrestrial villains of Breakworld. The organization later got its own series with Brand as a focal point – though by that time Nick Fury’s retirement as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. had caused a schism between the two organizations.
And not for nothing, but once upon a time (2016) actor Sharon Stone tweeted and then repeated in an interview that she would be playing a Marvel Studios role. Given her description of a superhero character with heat powers, we speculated that role could be Brand for the then in pre-production Captain Marvel.
So where is S.W.O.R.D. now? Well, that’s kind of a funny story…
Secret Star Wars
When the 2015/16 limited series Secret Wars dismantled, rebuilt, and re-ordered the Marvel Multiverse, S.W.O.R.D. didn’t seem to make it into the re-formed world that resulted. That is to say, S.W.O.R.D. hasn’t been around since before Secret Wars.
But the concept of an organization that guards against threats from space run by a familiar hero has even more recent comic book roots – ones that extend even farther back and have even more surprising implication.
Higher. Faster. Farther.
Alpha Flight was originally a covert team working for the Canadian government’s secret organization Department H, whose ranks actually included Wolverine before he even joined the X-Men. But under Carol Danvers’ leadership, Alpha Flight became a cutting edge incubator for space scientists while also serving as a defense program under the guidance of multiple nations and empires – including Wakanda, the Kree Empire, the Shi’Ar Empire, and more.
Unfortunately, this version of the concept was subverted by the Hydra-influenced Steve Rogers during Secret Empire with its tech and base used to summon a Chitauri army and close the Earth off from the rest of the Galaxy.
Though that conflict came to an end with Carol Danvers and Alpha Flight playing a key role in its resolution, the team was grounded in the aftermath.
Marvel Cosmic Universe
So how could this impact the next ‘phase’ of the MCU? Well, the obvious answer is, it seems Nick Fury will cast his watchful eye outward to the stars rather than threats from around the Earth.
It makes sense that Fury would found such an organization – and even more sense that he’d give leadership to Carol Danvers, his most trusted Avengers ally who has more than enough space experience, especially if they go the Alpha Flight angle.
If that’s the case, then we may be looking at the direct set-up for Captain Marvel 2, whoever the villain and whatever the premise of that inevitable film may be.
The Ol' Switcheroo
But like we said – that’s the obvious angle. Remember, Marvel has no hesitation in upending the status quo or drawing on totally unexpected angles of comic book lore to craft new narratives. So what if there’s something even bigger going on?
Who better to man staff an experimental space station than some experimental astronauts? The kind who’d brave, say, Cosmic Rays? And let’s not forget that both S.W.O.R.D. and Alpha Flight have deep seated ties to the X-Men.
But maybe that’s a theory for another time…