The latest episode of She-Hulk, Attorney at Law has premiered not too long ago and introduced (or rather re-introduced) Iintelligencia into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We first learn about them through a simple mention on Ulysses Klaue’s portfolio confirming he was once a member but we never really find out who exactly they are. As it turns out, it’s pretty much the MCU’s equivalent to a Reddit server with obvious connections to modern political discourse. On top of it all, they seem to have their own operation eyeing Jennifer Walter’s blood for some nefarious purpose.
There’s been a curious trend of She-Hulk openly calling out or rather predicting quite correctly how certain sub-groups of the Internet react to these projects. We’ve seen it time and time again since Captain Marvel’s release in 2019 and it continued to fester to this day. “Fandom Menace” has become a rather depressing word used for a subset of fans putting a lot of pressure on these projects, and it’s not too surprising to see a project reflect that as well.
These reactions aren’t exclusive to female-led projects as showcased with the discussions surrounding Anthony Mackie‘s Sam Wilson taking on the role of Captain America. Thee entire of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier explored the weight of that shield placed upon an African-American, which has been continuously highlighted to still being denied even after we took time to explore his journey of accepting that title. Yet, there are still statements like “Steve Rogers is Captain America” being floated around each time it comes up.
In a way, it seems safe to say that the set-up for Intelligencia in She-Hulk was made to lead to Captain America: New World Order. Any Captain America project didn’t shy away from exploring political discussions in the United States and given the current climate, Sam Wilson’s own struggle makes for the best set-up to explore the current climate left in a post-Trump and Qanon world. Hell, one could make the argument that the latter is potentially being echoed to some extent. It’s even in the title as many were concerned given its ties to conspiracy theories online from white supremacists that used those three words to spread anti-semitic topics across the web.
The confirmed return of Tim Blake Nelson as the Samuel Sterns, who is better known as the Leader, also potentially leads to how they’re setting up his return. We don’t know how they’ll tackle his design or even return, but when we first met him back in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, the character was communicating through chat rooms. So, it seems fitting if his time is hidden away in SHIELD’s prisons he’s been using a different strategy to build his own empire. His goal is very likely still to get his hands on Hulk and he’ll use any means necessary.
As much as commentaries on “woke” Hollywood have scattered across the web, they are politically stirred on every side and it makes sense for the new Captain America to explore that very divide. Steve Rogers had a similar challenge when it came to standing up for what is right, and we know that Wilson has been a mediator for most of his pre-heroic career. So, there’s something fitting for him to take on that very role, he’s not a super soldier but has his own strengths to stand by what he believes is right.
Intelligencia and the white supremacist ties of NWO could be the way Marvel introduces the Serpent Society; the once joke title for Civil War. A modern twist on that group would be fitting and further pull into the backlash we see in the real world over a fictional character. You don’t look far for those kinds of discussions like with The Little Mermaid remake, which became the focus of its own online drama. And all these reactions to fictional characters are also reflections of real-world issues; something we’ve been continuously reminded of throughout the last few years.
There likely won’t be an end to such backlash and if they further explore Intelligencia in that project, there’s likely going to be even more reactionary tales for this entry. As highlighted by She-Hulk, there’s a certain predictability to the online chatter and further exploring the dark corners of the world in a project with a lead that reflects the lived experiences creates a strong meta-commentary. It’s no longer a man from World War One stuck who is stuck in a different time. This is someone whose lived experience is very different in a modern context. As such, his threats are fittingly going to be more modern and reflect the current political climate.