SPOILERS for last night’s season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will follow, so if you haven’t seen the episode, either proceed with caution OR go read this spoiler-free article about Season 5.
As last night’s episode came to its conclusion, Coulson and the team were apprehended by some sort of shadowy, government type organization that seemed to possess some sort of alien tech (reminiscent of Obadiah Stane’s paralyzing device). When we last see Agent Coulson, he is clearly aboard some sort of vessel looking out into the void of space.
The fan theories began immediately with many people believing that the Agents had been picked up the organization known in the comics as S.W.O.R.D. In the comics, S.W.O.R.D. is the agency tasked with defending the Earth from extraterrestrial attacks. Created by Joss Whedon during his early 2000’s run on Astonishing X-Men, the organization is run by Special Agent Abigail Brand and has been involved in many of Marvel’s large event series. S.W.O.R.D. sounds awesome! We at MCU Exchange have talked about the possibility of S.W.O.R.D. for a long time. There is, however, one problem: it appears the live-action rights for S.W.O.R.D. don’t belong to Marvel TV.
According to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. visual effect supervisor Mark Kolpack, Fox owns the rights to that group:
When asked for clarification on the topic, Kolpack seemed to double down,
Sadly that is what I've heard. https://t.co/DO0Ol0qK6r
— Mark Kolpack (@MarkKolpack) May 17, 2017
only to later go on to say that the identity of the group was not revealed to him, or anyone else, by the writers:
What can we take away from all this? Kolpack’s belief that the live-action rights to S.W.O.R.D. reside at Fox are not surprising. While we have no idea where he heard it (could have been at work or it could have been at Bob Evans), it certainly wouldn’t be surprising given that the organization first appeared in an X-Men comic. However, we know that few things are as murky as the live-action rights to some of Marvel’s comic book characters, so while we are inclined to see the logic in the statement, we are certainly open to the idea that the rights could potentially be shared or even fully owned by Marvel. But if it isn’t S.W.O.R.D. it’s likely some amalgamated MCU version of it. With September’s Inhumans featuring a character said to be from an organization closely resembling S.W.O.R.D., we wouldn’t be surprised if these elements tie-in together.
For now, we can’t be sure but if last year was any indication, we won’t have to wait more than a couple of months to find out more at SDCC ’17.