One forgotten character from Marvel Television’s Agents of SHIELD could be reinvented for the MCU’s upcoming film, Armor Wars. Not much is known about Marvel Studios’ Armor Wars project other than the fact that the story will pick up after the events of Phase 5’s Secret Invasion series, following James “Rhodey” Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine, on a mission to ensure Tony Stark’s technology stays out of the wrong hands. While Marvel Studios are keeping the details of the film very close to their chest, it’s assumed that several armored characters will be appearing, including one obscure Marvel Comics character that could spell the return of an Agents of SHIELD villain.
Agents of SHIELD ran on ABC between 2013 and 2020 as a partner show to the MCU, filling in the gaps between early Marvel Studios films by focusing on the inner workings of SHIELD. The series saw the return of Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson after his MCU death and project TAHITI rebirth, along with an elite team of SHIELD specialists. Several characters from Agents of SHIELD went on to become characters in Marvel Comics, though their stories in either medium differed greatly. One such character could see a return in Armor Wars, since his Marvel Comics storyline saw him become an armored villain.
How Can Grant Ward Return In Armor Wars? Iron Thief Explained
Grant Ward, portrayed by Brett Dalton, was introduced in the first season of Agents of SHIELD as a SHIELD operative who is soon outed as a double agent working for HYDRA. After being killed by Coulson, Ward’s body is inhabited by the Hive, an ancient Inhuman. While Ward saw a bitter end on Agents of SHIELD, the opportunity is there for the character to be revisited during Armor Wars, since Ward’s Marvel Comics arc saw him don a Stark-inspired Iron Man suit and operate briefly as the Iron Thief.
Debuting in 2016’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, the comics showed Grant Ward’s gradual alienation against SHIELD after having been tasked with infiltrating HYDRA from the inside but realizing he agreed with their ideologies. After the designs of Iron Man’s suits were leaked, Ward became the Iron Thief, using his suit of armor to steal a Quantum Drive, a device that contained a comprehensive list of countermeasures that could be used against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Even though he didn’t operate as the Iron Thief for very long, this narrative would make Grant Ward the perfect fit for Marvel Studios’ upcoming Armor Wars project.
Could Iron Thief Be Agents Of SHIELD’s Ward’s Variant?
Since the end of the Infinity Saga, Marvel Studios has been delving deep into the concept of the multiverse, which could provide the answer to how Grant Ward can make his way to the MCU proper. While the canonicity of the Marvel television shows has yet to be confirmed, the fact that Agents of SHIELD veered away from the overarching storyline of the MCU suggests that it took place in another reality in the multiverse. This could mean that if Ward appears as the Iron Thief in Armor Wars, this could be a variant of the Ward audiences are already familiar with.
Characters such as Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) have already made their way into various MCU Phase 4 projects, and both have noticeable differences from their previous Marvel Television counterparts, including new costumes and enhanced abilities. Marvel Studios could be using the multiverse to make these now-defunct series’ canon without actually trying to interweave their storylines into the already-established world of the MCU. This creates the perfect opportunity for Grant Ward and other Agents of SHIELD characters to return in future MCU projects.
Which Other Armored Characters Will Appear In Armor Wars?
Originally billed as a limited series for Disney+, Marvel Studios confirmed that Armor Wars will be reworked into a feature-length film, causing many to speculate that a multitude of big-name characters will appear in the project. Aside from Don Cheadle reprising his role of War Machine for the film, it’s possible that Armor Wars could include armored characters from previous MCU projects, including the likes of Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, and potentially Pepper Potts in her Rescue armor. With Kang the Conqueror being built up as the Multiverse Saga’s major villain, it also wouldn’t be surprising to see the debut of his younger self, Nathaniel Richards, a.k.a. Iron Lad.
Marvel Comics’ Armor Wars run features Tony Stark compiling a list of armored criminals, including the likes of Shockwave, Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, and even Doctor Doom, so the live-action project could see a variety of obscure armored villains make their way to the MCU. Many have also theorized that Sam Rockwell could return as Justin Hammer, Stark’s business rival, after being absent since Iron Man 2 and the Marvel One-Shot, All Hail the King. Armor Wars will certainly feature a plethora of armored heroes and villains, so the door is open for Grant Ward to be the next character to make a move from Marvel Television to Marvel Studios.
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