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Warning: spoilers for Captain Marvel are in play. If you still haven’t seen the film, you may want to come back once you’re current.
Acting as the ‘90s throwback that it was set up to be, Captain Marvel set the table for a lot of different things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has -- and will -- engage in during its thematic course of events. One such moment was, naturally, how Nick Fury lost vision in one of his eyes, something that had been alluded to previously but never explicitly shown onscreen before Captain Marvel.
While Captain Marvel gave us a definitive answer, we almost got an entirely different scenario altogether. One that would have seen Nick Fury losing an eye during a fight with some angry Skrulls.
During a recent interview for the home video release of Captain Marvel, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were on hand to provide some insight into their big ticket MCU hit. And when it came to how Fury’s accident originally happened, Fleck provided the following commentary on how it was originally supposed to happen:
There were definitely a lot of discussions and that was not the first idea on the table. You're probably going to ask me what some of the other ideas were and I don't know if I can tell you that, not because I'm hiding anything, but because there were just so many absurd ideas we had. There was a strong contender for a while that a fight with the Skrulls seemed like the most obvious choice, but then the more we thought about it, it just became too obvious.
The scenario that the Captain Marvel team eventually landed on was not only a surprising turn of events, but also the most Samuel L. Jackson moment the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever included. During the action of the film’s third act finale, Fury casually gets his eye scratched by Goose, the cat co-star of Captain Marvel that has stolen the hearts of the world. This leads to him shouting a very PG-13 friendly, “Mother-Flerkin!”
It’s certainly that elusive surprise that Ryan Fleck seemed to be looking for when talking out the thought process behind plotting Captain Marvel’s reveal of just how Nick Fury got his memorable look. He continued to discuss that point in greater detail during his interview alongside Anna Boden for CBM:
Since this is just as much Nick Fury's origin story as Captain Marvel's, we thought that it would be a fun piece of his backstory that moving forward, he was creative a new narrative for himself that he didn't really talk about but he was fine with people wanting to muse about a potentially more serious way he could have lost his eye.
No one can blame Nick Fury for not wanting to talk about losing his eye to an intergalactic creature that had taken the form of a cat. It’s not an easy story that you could tell to just anyone, as there are a lot of other details that’d need to be involved in the telling. But losing an eye to mysterious circumstances involving the last person you trusted? That’s a total super-spy story, and that would probably get you at least one round on the house when going out for drinks.
Keeping the Marvel Cinematic Universe fresh is something that definitely takes a lot of work, and outside-the-box thinking. Changing Nick Fury’s pivotal, eye-destroying moment was one of those instances where the process worked out in everyone’s favor.
As we move into the future of the MCU, it’s that type of thinking that should propel the series into its next story arc. So if you see a cute animal on screen at any point in the future, think twice before holding it too close to your face.