Disney’s merger with Fox and their acquisition of their IPs mean that, sooner or later, we’re going to get the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the MCU. But Marvel Studios aren’t going to rush things. With Dark Phoenix and Fantastic Four both flops, it’s presumed that they’re going to wait until audiences miss the characters to reintroduce them in a new form. But just because the marquee heroes like the Thing and Wolverine aren’t scheduled to appear, that doesn’t mean that other X-Universe elements can’t.
We recently got our first peek at a formerly Fox-owned IP courtesy of shots from the WandaVision set (which you can see over on Just Jared). These show Teyonah Parris’ adult Monica Rambeau leaving an office block with the S.W.O.R.D. logo on the door. In Marvel comics, S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) deal with extra-terrestrial threats to Earth and are essentially the space-based version of S.H.I.E.L.D. The organization has gone on to play a major role in the “Secret Invasion” storyline and was eventually renamed H.A.M.M.E.R. (which doesn’t appear to stand for anything) by Norman Osborn.
While they’re used across the Marvel universe, they first made their debut in Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #36 and were thus previously owned by Fox as part of the X-Men IP. With that freed up though, WandaVision is set to use them as they see fit.
Their inclusion may be a hint that Marvel Studios are going to ease us into the introduction of new IP as well rather than simply throw it in all at once. Perhaps over the Disney Plus shows and Phase 4 movies we’ll gradually see more and more elements from the Fox IPs introduced. But however smoothly they try to do it, it’s going to be fascinating to see how they deal with mutants, as it would stretch belief if they’d been present in the MCU all along and nobody had mentioned it.