In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos ripped the Mind Stone out of Vision’s head, killing him; however, what happened to his body was a mystery until WandaVision Episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…” Between Infinity War and WandaVision, S.W.O.R.D. came into possession of Vision’s corpse, and this can explain the sudden shift in the organization’s mission.
After Monica Rambeau returns to work in Episode 4, “We Interrupt This Program,” she’s reintroduced to S.W.O.R.D. by the new director, Tyler Hayward. While Monica grew up with S.W.O.R.D., much has changed with the organization in light of the Snap and Blip. While officially dubbed the Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division, it appears S.W.O.R.D. is taking a more active role by making its own sentient weapons.
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“The Program hasn’t been the same since you’ve been up there, Rambeau,” Hayward says as he takes her through S.W.O.R.D.’s base. “Shifted away from manned missions and refocused on robotics, nanotech, AI. Sentient weapons, like it says on the door.”
This makes sense after the Snap. Prior to Infinity War, the Avengers dealt with some alien threats, like Loki and the Chitauri, but most of these incidents were restricted to a singular location, like New York. Furthermore, while these attacks did lead to collateral damage, injuries and death, compared to the events of Infinity War, these were minor. Half of Earth’s population was taken out in the span of minutes thanks to Thanos, and the chaos that ensued led to more damage.
S.W.O.R.D. could no longer be passive, so the organization decided to not just be a response team. Now, it is actively trying to get ahead of other worldly threats by creating its own sentient weapons. Prior to Infinity War, one of the best sentient weapons Earth had was Vision, even though he was adamant about not being used as a weapon, as seen in his will. Because of this, in theory, Vision became the best resource for S.W.O.R.D., with the organization able to examine him to better develop its own sentient weapons.
As seen in Episode 5, when Wanda flies in to steal Vision, the synthezoid’s body is dissected into pieces, and several scientists are busy at work. Thanos only damaged his head when he took the Mind Stone, and it seems unlikely that the Avengers would do something like this to a fellow hero. However, S.W.O.R.D., especially given its new purpose, seems like the kind of organization that would do just this, so when S.W.O.R.D. somehow obtained Vision’s body, it’s highly likely the organization’s scientists took him apart to develop new, more efficient weapons.
While he actively wants to protect humanity, Vision’s abilities make him a powerful weapon, as he was able to best Ultron at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Sentient weapons based off of Vision could be Earth’s best offense and defense, especially since human heroes failed against a villain like Thanos the first time, and in the face of powerful, celestial objects like the Infinity Stones, humans proved to be too easily expendable.
Sentient weapons lower the chance of human error and casualties. Plus, as Hayward points out, many of his personnel “lost their nerve” after the events of Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but the chances of a sentient weapon abandoning its job are much slimmer. Furthermore, sentient weapons are, in theory, more efficient than human heroes, being able to understand the probability of a situation in a matter of seconds.
AI comes with its own risks too, as seen in Age of Ultron when Ultron goes against his creators and attempts to destroy humanity in order to protect the Earth. Advanced technology could also be hijacked by diabolical forces, like Hydra did with Project Insight in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Furthermore, AI could also develop emotions and desires, and these qualities make them more prone to error, like with Vision in Captain America: Civil War.
Despite these clear risks, S.W.O.R.D. likely believes the pros outweigh the cons. While human agents and AI are both flawed, sentient weapons are easier to control, more efficient and can be rebuilt if they’re destroyed in battle. Humans, on the other hand, are more often unpredictable, weaker and less powerful, especially in the face of celestial threats. Earth can’t afford another Snap, so S.W.O.R.D. is searching for the best plan of action, and Vision may hold the answers the organization is looking for, even if it’s at the cost of his dying wish.
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. New episodes air Fridays on Disney+.
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