Captain Marvel: What We Know So Far About Nick Fury's Past

Nick Fury holding gun in The Avengers

After being delayed twice following it being announced as part of the initial Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3 slate, Captain Marvel is finally hitting theaters next year, giving audiences one last self-contained Marvel movie before Avengers 4 wraps up this era of the franchise two months later. Obviously Captain Marvel's primary purpose is to introduce Brie Larson's Carol Danvers, who was teased in the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene, but the movie is also a big deal for longtime MCU player and former S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury, as we'll learn what he was like in the 1990s, long before he was neck-deep in the world of superheroics. Fury hasn't talked about his past that much on the big screen, but enough details have been revealed over the last decade that we figured it'd be a good time to go over what we know about his past, before he sneaked into Tony Stark mansion in the Iron Man post-credits scene.

Unlike his comic book counterparts, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury didn't fight in World War II and has not been kept alive for over a century by the Infinity Formula. However, he still has been an integral member of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a long time. Fury joined the army as a young man, eventually rising to the rank of colonel, and after spending some time in the CIA, he was recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 1980s, which was led by Alexander Pierce at the time (who we now know was secretly serving HYDRA). Fury eventually became the Deputy Chief of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Bogota station, and it was there that he proved his leadership mettle. When Colombian rebels took several political officers hostages at the country's embassy, including Pierce's daughter, Fury came up with a plan to get the hostages out. Pierce nixed the idea, preferring to negotiate with the rebels, but Fury ignored those orders and implemented his plan anyway.Fortunately, all the hostages were freed, and despite being disobeyed, Pierce was impressed with how Fury handled the crisis and promoted him to Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. when he stepped down to take a spot on the World Security Council.

Following this promotion, Nick Fury's life is a little hazier, but there are a few spots we can fill in. Thanks to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, we know that part of Fury's job included looking for and securing dangerous artifacts around the world, like the mystical Darkhold book. Fury also recruited and/or trained a number of prominent S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including Phil Coulson, John Garrett (who, like Alexander Pierce, ended up serving HYDRA) and Clint Barton, the latter of whom brought Natasha Romanoff into the spy organization despite Fury originally ordering him to take her out. At some point, Fury also lost his eye due to putting misplaced trust in someone, hence why he wears the eyepatch and is hesitant to share too much information with people. But arguably Fury's biggest accomplishment was putting together the Avengers Initiative, which would bring together enhanced and other special individuals to protect humanity from global threats. As we now know, Fury had the right idea.

Nick Fury gazing intently in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Which brings us to Captain Marvel, which takes place approximately a little over a decade before Nick Fury approached Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative. At this stage of his life, Fury still has two functional eyes, but according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, he believes the best years of his career are over due to the Cold War concluding. Fury hasn't had any experience with superheroes or aliens when Captain Marvel starts, but that will change when he crosses paths with Carol Danvers, the Kree and the Skrulls. To no one's surprise, Marvel is keeping Captain Marvel plot details close to the proverbial chest, so outside of some leaked set photos of Samuel L. Jackson interacting with Brie Larson, we have no idea what specifically is in store for Fury in this movie. However, I can provide a few educated guesses.

First off, it's a good bet that during Captain Marvel, we will see Nick Fury lose his eye, and I suspect a Skrull will be responsible. Remember, the Skrulls are shapeshifters, so rather than being legitimately betrayed by someone he knew, maybe a Skrull disguised itself as said individual, and when Fury learns what's happened, a fight breaks out and Fury loses his 20/20 vision in the process. But more importantly, Fury's time with Carol is almost certainly what will be the catalyst for him starting the Avengers Initiative. After seeing what she's capable of, Fury will realize that Earth will one day need other superheroes to defend it when mankind isn't up to the the task.

I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention the pager that Nick Fury activated in the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene before he turned to dust as a result of the Thanos snap. The pager displayed the Captain Marvel insignia, so we can presume that Carol or someone connected to her will give the device to him in Captain Marvel. As for why Fury activated the pager in Infinity War and not during the Chitauri invasion or Ultron's attack on Sokovia, there's an Avengers 4 theory online suggesting that in Captain Marvel, Fury either sees or learns details about the future and knew about Thanos' endgame ahead of time, hence why he looked more focused than shocked upon seeing Maria Hill disappear. This is also the reason why he's been so invested in Tony Stark realizing his full potential; he knew that Tony would be key to saving the universe. Whether this theory is true or not, make no mistake, Captain Marvel will be important when it comes to further understanding Fury and his motives, so if you're a fan of the character, you won't want to miss the penultimate Phase 3 movie.

We'll find out what Captain Marvel has in store for Nick Fury when the movies flies into theaters on March 8, 2019. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage, and don't forget to look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what else the MCU has in development.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.