I know that there are rumored Civil War plot-points circling online, but full-disclosure I haven’t read them and don’t plan on to, so the following isn’t influenced by anything in that possible leak. Keep that in mind, and any similarities are purely accidental.
A rumor from Latino Review suggests that Martin Freeman‘s role in Captain America: Civil War will rollover to Black Panther, which has many people pointing towards government official Everett Ross. I’m curious if they might be considering a less obscure government character with ties to the Avengers, since William Hurt will be reprising the role of General “Thunderbolt” Ross it might be confusing thinking the two are related. Another name being suggested is Henry Gyrich, a much bigger and better government character that equally makes sense for the role.
So why should Marvel use Gyrich over Ross?
Well there’s a huge reason, Henry Gyrich is just a better fit overall, mainly because he’s an established official who actually has power to oversee the Avengers’ organization on behalf of the government and the President. Gyrich is given the title of U.S. Government Liaison to the Avengers by the National Security Agency later by the National Security Council. There’s a point where he’s tasked to The Avengers, and limit their membership when it’s apparent they have way too many people in the ranks, I think fans are starting to already get that feeling. Let’s remember, Martin is the face of a billion dollar franchise already with The Hobbit, it makes sense his Marvel role would be a bit bigger.
Like Fury, Gyrich could crossover to multiple films as he isn’t just interested in superheroes, he’s also very concerned about alien threats which will likely be a reoccurring theme of Phase Three.
You might notice that Dr. Hank McCoy aka Beast was one of the Avengers that Gyrich was addressing on that cover artwork. We’ll you might be shocked to learn that X-Men‘s Beast was indeed for a period was a full-fledged Avenger, alongside his X-Men cohorts Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, recently he’s join the ranks of the Secret Avengers team.
There is even a cover where Beast is stating the iconic phrase “Avengers Assemble!”, this sort of cemented his membership until he was ousted from the team and returned to the X-Men. His strong connections to the Avengers give the impression that he could be another shared X-Men character that Marvel Studios might be allowed to use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but haven’t really found a spot for him. Like Scarlet Witch, Beast also had his own solo run of comics which might be another factor to get him into the MCU.
My personal choice for the MCU McCoy would be Colin Firth, who proved in Kingsman that he’s able to kick serious ass and is an Oscar winner after all. I’ll be upfront, I’m not a huge fan of Stellan Skarsgard’s Erik Selvig, to the point I now find him annoying and hoped Marvel would find another scientist to replace him. McCoy just happens to be another Avengers connected science dude they could mould/adapt for their needs, if they can actually use him for the films. I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if Martin Freeman turns out to be McCoy, but for the following theory to work let’s stick to the idea that he’s playing Gyrich.
How would Marvel use Gyrich and Beast in their upcoming slate of movies?
Well both Gyrich and McCoy have a connection beyond The Avengers, as the two are apart of the organization S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department), which is basically the cosmic division of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oddly enough, it was created by Avengers and Age of Ultron writer-director Joss Whedon during his run on the X-Men comics.
One way to deal with Beast’s mutant origin is to make him either another meta-human or an Inhuman, there’s been rumblings for ages that Marvel could very well make inhumans a stand-in for mutants. Having McCoy involved could also help bridge the Avengers and Inhumans franchises,
Hank’s other affiliations include The Illuminati (Tony Stark, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther, Professor X, and Namor), a group of heroes that decides the fate of Hulk setting in motion the events of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, McCoy eventually taking the place of Professor X. It would make some sense to replace both Dr. Reed Richards and Professor X with McCoy in the film universe along with their roles on The Illuminati roster.
Some are seemingly under the impression that because S.W.O.R.D. first appeared in the X-Men comics that automatically gives Fox first dibs on the characters and group, I’m not sure this is the case considering that Fox has hinted a few times that aliens aren’t apart of the Bryan Singer X-Men universe. They made it clear that Apocalypse’s origins wouldn’t include off-world stuff. New Mutant member Warlock is an alien, so it’s possible Fox could start introducing them in their X-Men universe reboot, that’s if that’s actually happening.
We know that Fox has a huge treasure-trove of access to the many alien races and planets in the Fantastic Four deal. However, concerning the X-Men rights it was apparently a little less clear if Fox’s deal included the rights to use the aliens created for or featured in those X-Men comics. It’s unlikely they’d be allowed to put X-Men aliens in their Fantastic Four films without the blessing of Marvel, and it’s unlikely that would be something Marvel would agree to.
I think someone really needs to clarify this with Kevin Feige if indeed Beast and S.W.O.R.D. are in fact up for grabs as shared material between the two studios, which I believe could be the case. Then again, Marvel could easily create their own version of S.W.O.R.D. for their films.
In Age of O Ultron there is a bit of a tease towards seeing a major amount of defensive technology in space to help in the fight of threats. Stark’s Veronika satellite that houses the Hulkbuster armor in orbit. The name of course refers to Betty and Veronica from the Archie comics, as Banner’s ex-girlfriend is Betty Ross.
There is a real possibility that Mark Ruffalo might indeed be apart of Civil War, and could be pushed so far that civilians end-up dead. This sparking his off-world banishment forced or self-imposed leading to the events of Planet Hulk, this could be headed-up by S.W.O.R.D. Putting life-boats or the helicarriers into space won’t exactly be a huge stretch if Stark and Wakanda team-up to build-up Earth’s defences, after Stark’s grim vision I think it’s a logical next step for him to start planning for another alien invasion.
S.W.O.R.D. like S.H.I.E.L.D. could easily branch into films like Black Panther, where T’Challa has had to fight-off alien invasions in Wakanda which included an army of Skrulls, who just happen to be aligned with Thanos in the comics. It’s one of many ways to pull Black Panther into joining an off-world mission to stop Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War along with the Illuminati. I’m not saying Skrulls will be showing-up in Black Panther, but the chances are good some alien threat will be.
Another group of aliens that could eventually try to invade Earth is the Kree Empire, the sprawling alien empire was introduced in Guardians of The Galaxy with Ronan, and have in the past tried to conquer Earth and add it to their collective. The Kree-Skrull War seems like a fitting skirmish for the films leading up to and including Avengers: Infinity War, which could play out in a couple of Phase Three movies. They also play a key role in the origin of Carol Danvers becoming Captain Marvel.
On the Avengers cartoon Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Carol Danvers was transferred from S.H.I.E.L.D. to S.W.O.R.D. after she gains her powers and is under the command of Abigail Brand, a half-alien half-human mutant who runs the organization. Brand also recruits Spider-Woman which could be how she get’s involved in the films as well. Captain Marvel may or may not be entirely set on Earth, but since her adventures and origins are cosmic related it’s hard not imagine having some connections to a group like S.W.O.R.D. at some point in her solo film.
We know that with Marvel’s deal with Sony for Spider-Man it means they’ll have access to all the Spider heroes, which might even include Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman. There had been a hazy area concerning if Sony was the only ones with access to the name Spider-Woman, and if Jessica Drew could be apart of the MCU. Considering the partnership between the two studios that likely isn’t an issue anymore and we could see Drew join the MCU eventually. There was a motion comic film Spider-Woman Agent of S.W.O.R.D. which focused on Drew tasked by Brand to help track-down aliens on Earth. Spider-Woman to me feels to me like a strong candidate for the Phase Four lineup, and planting seeds wouldn’t be such a terrible thing.
Gyrich is fixated on getting aliens off Earth and stopping any further conflicts with them, the group is setup to prevent skirmishes and act very hostile towards non-humans. I’m curious if this how the government might react to the discovery of Inhumans within the population, seeing them as a threat and wanting some sort of government oversight on the mutant stand-ins.
What do you think about this potential for Martin Freeman’s overall role within the cinematic universe?