The MCU Just Made A Huge Phase 2 Twist 100% Darker

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Marvels.




  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hydra almost succeeded in wiping out its enemies by activating Project Insight after infiltrating SHIELD.
  • SABER’s purpose is to investigate threats to Earth, but Nick Fury’s surveillance operation could easily be infiltrated and used to assassinate important individuals, similarly to Project Insight.
  • Nick Fury’s decision to revive Project Insight, despite its danger, makes SABER even more untrustworthy than SHIELD.

The Marvels subtly revisited a dark part of the MCU’s Infinity Saga, accidentally justifying the villains through Nick Fury’s new job. The Marvels‘ cosmic plot centers around Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan, but Nick Fury also plays a supporting role in the Phase 5 movie, returning to the SABER space station after the events of Secret Invasion. Although The Marvels doesn’t acknowledge Nick Fury’s recent conflict with the Skrulls, it does confirm that Nick Fury is still active at SABER, overseeing all potential threats to Earth.

SABER, which stands for Strategic Aerospace Biophysics and Exolinguistic Response, is a defense system with goals similar to those of SHIELD, which secretly investigated threats to Earth before it was dissolved due to Hydra’s infiltration. Hydra has been neutralized by Phase 4, but that doesn’t mean that SABER has escaped the same fate as SHIELD. In fact, Nick Fury may be opening the door to the tragedy Hydra almost caused in Phase 2, and this time without the influence of a villainous organization. What’s worse, neither Captain Marvel nor her allies seem to realize this issue by the end of The Marvels.

Nick Fury’s Superhero Betrayal Copies Hydra’s Phase 2 StorylineNick Fury on SABER and Project Insight Zola in Captain America The Winter Soldier-1

Captain America: The Winter Soldier revealed that SHIELD was about to activate Project Insight, a secret operation that would use an algorithm created by Red Skull’s right-hand man Arnim Zola to eliminate every person who could oppose Hydra’s goals of world domination. At the time, Hydra pulled the strings behind SHIELD and used its good to make Project Insight seem like a drastic yet altruistic strategy to stop criminals and supervillains. Fortunately, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon were quick enough to expose Hydra’s true plans and deactivate Project Insight mere seconds before it assassinated hundreds of thousands of targets, including Tony Stark and Stephen Strange.

Related: What If HYDRA’s Superhero Plan Had Worked? Why It Could’ve Helped Thanos

More than a decade later, Nick Fury has taken charge of SABER, investigating potential threats to Earth and trying to stop attacks before they happen. To achieve it, Fury spies on every person of interest in the world and around it, monitoring their every move. Luckily for Earth, Nick Fury doesn’t have any ill intentions. However, he should know better than anybody that such an operation can be easily infiltrated, and that the immense amount of knowledge SABER keeps in its possession can be used to assassinate anybody at a moment’s notice.

Why SABER Is Worse Than Project Insight

Project Insight and SABER Space Station in the MCU

Project Insight seemed like a good idea because SHIELD had proved its capabilities for decades. After SHIELD assembled the Avengers, allowing the organization to spy on the world and intervene at their discretion didn’t seem like a bad idea. However, Hydra’s infiltration of SHIELD proved that nobody could be trusted with that kind of power. Now, the fact that Nick Fury himself has revived Project Insight despite witnessing its danger firsthand makes SABER much more untrustworthy than SHIELD ever was, as the idea wasn’t even proposed by Hydra this time. It’s plain and simple ambition that could lead SABER to kill millions of innocent lives any time after The Marvels.

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