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Marvel is about to delve into unprecedented territory with Ryan Coogler's Black Panther. As the first Marvel Cinematic Universe outing with a predominately black cast, the film will break some significant racial barriers in the superhero genre, and offer up an army of characters that we have never seen before. However, now MCU veteran Samuel L. Jackson has admitted he wished Nick Fury could've appeared in the film, as well. The actor spoke out while promoting the release of The Hitman's Bodyguard and said:
They wouldn't let me go to Black Panther-ville, so it's kinda like how you gonna make a black Marvel movie and not let Nick Fury show up in it?
It's hard not to see the logic in Samuel L. Jackson's comments. In front of the camera, and behind it, Black Panther is a movie defined by its racial and cultural focus. It has assembled the largest black ensemble in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it has enlisted Marvel's first black director in the form of Creed's Ryan Coogler. Nick Fury is one of Marvel's only black heroes to predate Phase 3 (aside from War Machine and Falcon), so his inclusion could've easily fit within the core thesis of the film.
Beyond that, Black Panther simply would've been the easiest way to check in with Nick Fury/Samuel L. Jackson, as we have not seen him on the silver screen since the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The odds of him showing up in Thor: Ragnarok seem minimal, and as of right now it looks like he will not appear in either of the upcoming Avengers movies. Black Panther arguably would've been the easiest Earth-based Phase 3 movie to include him in before we go back in time for Captain Marvel, so it's surprising to see that the studio has kept this fan-favorite character on the back burner for so long.
On the other side of Samuel L. Jackson's recent comments to Yahoo Movies, one could make an equally compelling argument that there's no real place for Nick Fury in Black Panther's story. The reason the cast of the film is predominately black is that the movie primarily takes place in the secretive African nation of Wakanda. Nick Fury is black, but he is not Wakandan, which means T'Challa and his people would be just as likely to keep the former S.H.I.E.L.D. director at arm's length as anyone else from the American side of the MCU.
Black Panther will premiere in theaters (sans Nick Fury) next year on February 16, 2018. The Avengers will assemble to face off against Thanos in The Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, 2018, and Nick Fury's next confirmed appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently set for Captain Marvel's debut the following year on March 8, 2019.