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Olivia Cooke is in discussion to play S.W.O.R.D. commander Abigail Brand.

By Nathan Kamal
| Published

Olivia Cooke is in talks with Marvel Studios to play the fan-favorite character Abigail Brand. According to our trusted and proven sources, the House of the Dragon star is being wooed to portray Brand, who is the commander of S.W.O.R.D. in Marvel Comics and has become an increasingly important character since her first appearance in 2004. It has been suspected for some time that Abigail Brand would be making her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon, and it seems like Olivia Cooke will likely be adding Marvel to her resume.

Abigail Brand in Marvel Comics
Olivia Cooke in Ready Player One

Abigail Brand was created by Joss Whedon and John Cassady and acts as the director of the Sentient World Observation and Response Department in Marvel Comics, a branch of the more famous S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. In addition to her profession as a highly-skilled spy operative and commander, the comics version of Abigail Brand is a half-mutant/half-alien, with somewhat undefined powers that appear to be at least partially energy based. Much of the character’s backstory is undefined (including the alien race that she belongs in part to), which will doubtlessly be helpful for Marvel Studios. 

In all likelihood, if Olivia Cooke comes aboard the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play Abigail Brand, the character will be altered significantly. For one thing, the S.W.O.R.D. of the MCU is titled Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division and has less of a mission to monitor extraterrestrial dangers than to fill the void left by the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D. after it was exposed as irrecoverably infiltrated by HYDRA. That version S.W.O.R.D. was founded by Captain Marvel’s former Air Force comrade Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). 

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However, it is unclear in the canon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who is in charge of S.W.O.R.D., so it could very well be revealed to be Olivia Cooke as Abigail Brand. On the other hand, Olivia Cooke could be introduced as a version of Abigail Brand that is initially a rank-and-file operative and climbs the S.W.O.R.D. ladder. It also seems likely that the organization will next appear in the Disney+ series Secret Invasion, which will pivot it back to more extraterrestrial concerns. 

While it is not clear what alien race Abigail Brand belongs to in comics, it would make logical sense for the Olivia Cooke version of her to be at least part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Skrulls. The shape-changing race is set to be a big part of the Secret Invasion storyline, with Skrulls having infiltrated the planet Earth to the degree that anyone could actually be an imposter. Having Abigail Brand being part Skrull and possibly having her loyalties divided between a malevolent faction of aliens and humanity would at the very least be a solid dramatic arc.

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It will also be interesting to see if the potential Olivia Cooke version of Abigail Brand will continue Marvel’s slow introduction of mutants into the MCU. We can only wait and see at this point.

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