Seven years after HYDRA’s supposed defeat in The Winter Soldier, Phase 4 is still alluding to the organization. Why is HYDRA still defining the MCU?
Seven years after Captain America: The Winter Soldier revealed that HYDRA had been secretly revived inside of S.H.I.E.L.D. and 6 years after Avengers: Age of Ultron weeded out most of its key members, HYDRA still seems to have its talons buried in the storylines of the MCU. Recent storylines from Phase 4 like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Marvel’s What If…? have alluded to the parasitic terrorist organization, even though it has been largely wiped out.
After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, HYDRA was essentially a threat defeated (though, of course, many have thought that before). The Avengers were called together at the beginning of Age of Ultron to seek out and destroy any hidden HYDRA agents, namely Baron Von Strucker. Ultron kills Strucker, and when Phase 3 shifts to more severe alien threats, HYDRA is pushed to the backburner. However, “if a head is cut off, two more shall take its place,” and with HYDRA references starting to make their way back into the MCU after the defeat of Thanos, there is every chance that the organization still slumbers.