We've seen our fair share of surprises in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean, did you ever really believe you'd see a successful Ant-Man movie? Did you ever expect to be watching Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix? Rumors are building that another unexpected superhero - a character called the Sentry - is soon to debut in the MCU - so here's all you need to know about him!
JUST WHO IS THE SENTRY?
The Sentry is perhaps one of the strangest ideas Marvel Comics has ever played with. Paul Jenkins and Rick Veitch came up with the idea of a superhero the world had forgotten, one who was woven into the history of the Marvel Universe. The character was designed to feel like a Golden Age concept - right down to the real name 'Robert Reynolds' - but this was also cleverly subverted. His origin was as a drug addict who stumbled upon a serum that granted power beyond anything else in the Marvel Universe.
Let me give you a sense of the scale of his power: Spider-Man recalls him fighting Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, to a stalemate. Not with scientific gizmos, as is usually the case with the Fantastic Four, but by virtue of his own might. His powerset - which includes energy manipulation, teleportation, reality manipulation, flight, and general superhuman strength, speed, and resistance to injury - appears to be unlimited. Check out this scene from World War Hulk.
But here's the catch. The Sentry's sanity is, well, let's say 'questionable'. Robert Reynolds manifests two superhuman personas, the Sentry and the Void, and all the good that the Sentry does is balanced out by the havoc wreaked by the Void. As the Void, Reynolds realized that he posed a threat to the very planet, and had all memory of his existence erased from human consciousness - even his own memories were taken.
In 2005, Brian Bendis reintroduced the Sentry and made him a member of his New Avengers team. The Sentry was soon standing in the spotlight, and was celebrated as a superhero; but that all began to change when he fell under the sway of Norman Osborn. At the time, Osborn had taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. (or, rather, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s successor, H.A.M.M.E.R.). The darkness of Osborn's faux-Avengers initiative led the Sentry to despair, and - as his insanity worsened - the Void persona grew in power. The death of Reynolds's wife Lindy was the final straw.
Ultimately, in 2010's Siege miniseries the Sentry was unleashed as a weapon against Asgard itself. He literally tore fellow Avenger Ares in half, before going on a rampage that destroyed Asgard. With the Void manifesting full-force, and the entire world threatened, the Avengers rallied against him. He was only defeated as the Sentry persona once again took over; seeing what he had done, the Sentry wished to be killed, and allowed Thor to strike the death-blow.
SO IS THE SENTRY COMING TO THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE?
Maybe. There's some evidence to indicate that Justin Kucsulain, of Walking Dead fame, is doing research into the character. My fellow Creator Adonis Gonzalez has looked at the evidence - ranging from the original Instagram post to the hashtags Kucsulain used. It's worth checking out his thoughts!
HOW COULD THE SENTRY BE ADDED TO THE MCU?
Let's face facts: this is a left-field idea. The Sentry is hardly popular; although he was resurrected in Rick Remender's Uncanny Avengers a couple of years back, no writer has shown any interest in using him since. Although Marvel has tried a couple of series featuring the Sentry, he's just never seemed to have enough fan appeal to become an A-lister.
For all that, though, there's something fascinating about the concept. Many Marvel supervillains are essentially mirror-images of Marvel superheroes; Iron Man fights the Iron Monger, Ant-Man takes on Yellowjacket, the Red Skull is the Nazi supersoldier to face Captain America. The Sentry, though, is in truth the yin to his own yang; for all the good he does, it's balanced out in evil. That's an absolutely fascinating philosophical concept, and it would be really interesting to see that kind of character explored.
One possibility is that the Sentry will somehow be tied to Doctor Strange. In the comics, the Sorcerer Supreme was the one who banished all memory of the Sentry, and so it would make sense for the two concepts to be linked in some way. That said, the timing seems odd; Kucsulain is researching the Sentry after Doctor Strange has finished filming. I also can't see how the character would fit in to the rest of Marvel's Phase Three, and we're too soon for Marvel to be casting for Doctor Strange 2.
Another possibility, though, is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, which has been moved to a later timeslot in order to allow for darker stories. The Sentry's story is very, very dark, incorporating substance abuse, multiple personality disorder, and some extremely dangerous abilities. The character's powerset would probably need to be toned down a little, but I can't help thinking that the countless moral and ethical issues imposed by the Sentry would be better explored in a series.
The MCU has been running since 2008, and yet it still has the power to surprise me. The Sentry is a character I truly never expected to make it into the MCU, and yet it's now looking likely that he will. Marvel clearly has something unexpected in the works, and I can't wait to see what part the Sentry plays in it!