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After aiding Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Age of Ultron and helping the superhero team set up their new base in upstate New York, former S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury disappeared from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for three years, and there was no official indication when we would next see him in the present day. Both he and Maria Hill finally returned earlier this year in the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene, though their appearances were short-lived due to Thanos snapping his Infinity Stones-powered fingers. Before being erased from existence, Fry successfully activated a spruced-up pager displaying the Captain Marvel insignia, foreshadowing Carol Danvers' arrival to the MCU. Regarding why Fury rushed to do this, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says it's because he knows Carol's incredible power will be needed. As Feige explained:
She is more powerful than any character we've introduced thus far. So that alone tells you that there's a reason Nick hit that button at the end [of Infinity War], when he realized that they were up against something far bigger than they had ever been up against before. And having her on your side is hopefully going to change the balance of power in a way that they desperately need.
We'll have to wait and see how Nick Fury meeting Carol Danvers and stepping into the world of superheroes and aliens went down in Captain Marvel, but needless to say that Fury will see in the movie just how powerful Carol is and realize that there will come a day when he'll need her help again. That day finally came in Avengers: Infinity War, because while Fury likely didn't know why people were suddenly turning to dust all around him, he knows that a crisis like that calls for a heavy-hitter, and thankfully he managed to activate that pager before also disappearing. Heroes like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor made it out of Infinity War intact, but as Kevin Feige told EW, having Carol on their side will help tip the scales in their favor in Avengers 4, though it will be rough going.
Of course, it's worth remembering that Nick Fury has dealt with plenty of crises over the last two decades, chief among them being Loki and the Chitarui invading New York in The Avengers and Ultron's attack on Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Which begs the question of why Fury didn't activate the pager during those events. One fan theory posits that during Captain Marvel, Fury somehow obtains knowledge of the future and knows that the pager should only be broken out for a specific event, hence why it could be interpreted that Fury looked more determined than shocked in the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene. Whether this is true or not, Fury made the right call alerting Carol Danvers, and hopefully she'll prove to be the ace in the hole in Avengers 4.
Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8, 2019, and she'll return for Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019. As for what else the MCU has in development, check out our Marvel movies guide.