Phase 4 of the MCU introduces SWORD, SHIELD’s replacement – and it will be the next evolution of Captain America: Civil War’s Sokovia Accords.
The MCU’s Phase 4 has the next evolution of the Sokovia Accords in WandaVision after the Acccords played such a major role in Captain America: Civil War. From the outset, the MCU has wrestled with the question of how ordinary men and women would react to finding themselves plunged into a world of superheroes. As early as 2010’s Iron Man 2, Tony Stark was called before the U.S. Senate to testify about the Iron Man armor, and he was pressured to hand his technology over to the government.
All that came to a climax in the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron, as the amount of damage wrought by Avengers missions began to build. Captain America: Civil War saw one final tragedy push the United Nations to the point of passing the Sokovia Accords, which attempted to police superhumans. The Sokovia Accords caused the Avengers to schism, with Captain America leading one group opposed to the Accords, while Iron Man led another who attempted to enforce them. This division arguably left the Earth particularly vulnerable to Thanos’ attack when he invaded Earth in Avengers: Infinity War, seeking to acquire the Infinity Stones. In the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, most viewers assumed the Sokovia Accords had been repealed.
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The MCU’s Phase 4 slate will, however, introduce the next evolution of the Sokovia Accords. WandaVision introduces an organization named SWORD, but they have been significantly modified from the comics. In the comics, SWORD is concerned with protecting Earth from extraterrestrial threats, but in the MCU they are the “Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division.” In other words, they are responsible for monitoring and policing superhumans. That perfectly explains why SWORD is appearing in WandaVision, when there appears to be no extraterrestrial involvement.
The meaning of SWORD’s acronym is an important clue to the organization’s mindset when it comes to superhumans; they are “Sentient Weapons,” not viewed as people. This is the same attitude General Ross displayed in Captain America: Civil War, when he complained about Captain America not knowing where Thor and the Hulk were. “If I misplaced a couple of 30 megaton nukes,” Ross snarled, “you can bet there’d be consequences.” Leaving aside Ross’ hypocrisy – that Hulk was created in one of his super-soldier programs, and Ross “misplaced” him for years – notice the view that superhumans are simply weapons. Indeed, this raises the possibility that Ross is the one in charge of SWORD in the MCU, not Nick Fury, as had been assumed after Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s post-credits scene.
No doubt Scarlet Witch is considered an important asset for monitoring by SWORD; not only is she one of the most powerful “Sentient Weapons,” her actions in Captain America: Civil War were seen by the public as the final accident proving the need for the Sokovia Accords in the first place. What’s more, Vision also suggested something about Wanda Maximoff triggers an “involuntary response in [the human] amygdala,” making people particularly afraid of her. That fear would surely make her the subject of excessive monitoring by SWORD – and it wouldn’t be a surprise to find that had backfired in WandaVision. The Sokovia Accords haven’t gone away – they’ve merely evolved into SWORD in the wake of Thanos.
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