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Marvel Studios had a grand ambition of binding together various franchises into one intersecting mega-narrative. While such a thing is easily and often done in comics, in movies it proves much trickier, what with the wrangling of talent, and different visions from different directors risking a disconnect. But Marvel has been dedicated and meticulous in allowing individual films a unique vision, while binding them together with recurring characters. Chief among these is Nick Fury, played pitch-perfectly by Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackon's Fury first appeared in 2008's Iron Man, and has since popped up in every successive Marvel venture, from Thor to Captain America: The First Avenger and as a full-fledged force in The Avengers. Considering this track record, we sort of assumed Jackson would also reprise his role in Marvel Studios upcoming slate of sequels, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, Jackson himself recently ripped away these illusions, telling Total Film (via Examiner):
"I think my next time as Nick Fury is in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because I’m not in Iron Man 3. None of the Avengers are in Iron Man 3. It’s a standalone Iron Man movie."
While Jackson doesn't comment on Thor: The Dark World directly, the statement above implies he won't appear in that movie either, since it is set to debut about five months before Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There's been a lot of speculation about how Marvel will manage individual character narratives now that the Avengers members have been introduced; this soundbite suggests it will be by isolating them almost entirely. The trailer for Iron Man 3 shows Tony Stark facing a major shakeup, and ends with him being all alone, dragging what seems to be a broken Iron Man suit. No wonder Nick Fury won't be popping by.
While it's a bummer that Jackson's chronically cool badass won't be a part of Iron Man 3, the fact that the rest of the Avengers will also be out of the film seems a good sign since Iron Man 2 was overloaded with characters. While they'll be missed, it seems like Marvel producers have their eyes on the big picture, which should prove more satisfying for us moviegoers in the long run.