While WandaVision introduced a number of major new characters into the MCU, it also introduced a significant new organization from Marvel Comics, named SWORD. On the show, the role of SWORD is to study the magical anomaly occurring around the town of Westview brought about by the machinations of Wanda Maximoff. In an interview with Screenrant, the director of WandaVision, Matt Shakman, explained the real-world inspiration for SWORD.
"Oh, it was a super exciting opportunity to build a whole new agency. We started where we start pretty much anything when we design it; we say, 'What would it be in the real world?' So, we looked at Cape Canaveral, we looked at the history of the space agencies, and what those worlds looked like and felt like. Then we worked with our production designer, Mark Worthington, and concept designers and storyboard artists, and started to build out the world of S.W.O.R.D."
In the comics, SWORD is meant to be the space-faring arm of SHIELD, specially equipped to deal with extraterrestrial threats as opposed to geo-terrestrial ones. On WandaVision, it has been hinted that SWORD does indeed have ties to space, but its main objective is to carry out investigations in and around Westview. According to Shakman, real-life radiological and biological chemical response units provided a blueprint for how SWORD operates.
"We really wanted it to feel grounded and real, to contrast with the sitcom reality inside the hex. We looked at films that I think do that really well - movies like Arrival, for instance, and the temporary base that they built around their extraterrestrial anomaly was a great reference point for us. We imagined that S.W.O.R.D. is exactly the right agency when you have a radioactive anomaly; that they're used to going into foreign planets, very difficult terrain. So, that pop-up base that we built was based off existing radiological and biological chemical response units that are out there."
While WandaVision ended with the director of SWORD imprisoned by the army, the organization itself still stands, and will likely next be seen in Captain Marvel 2. SWORD is also expected to play a major role in the upcoming standalone Disney+ show centering around Nick Fury.
The show, which will see Samuel L. Jackson returning as the iconic super-spy from SHIELD, is based on the Secret Invasion storyline from comics, where it is revealed that shape-shifting aliens called Skrulls have infiltrated the highest echelons of power on Earth. We already know Fury has his own Skrull doppelganger, and another Skrull showed up at the end of WandaVision as a member of SWORD. Clearly, while the story of Westview is now at an end, the role of SWORD within the MCU is only just beginning.
Written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, and Kathryn Hahn as Agnes. This news originated at Screen Rant.