If Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D becomes a hit-- and it's already well on its way-- we can expect cameos from the members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team who earn the big-screen paychecks. And the first one has already arrived, with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury popping up at the very end of last night's episode, just as he popped up at the very end of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Except this time, as you can see in the clip above, he took the time to give Coulson a serious dressing-down about what happened on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s very expensive plane.
Of course, Nick Fury's cameo could have been a surprise, but ABC wanted to make sure that people actually stuck around to catch it-- and dropped a pretty obvious nod to the guy in their promo for this week's episode. See the eyepatch on that eagle?
As the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. who doesn't have any of his own superpowers that might merit an extra few million in the budget, Nick Fury makes perfect sense as a character from the cinematic Marvel universe to pop up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. first. The show's producers haven't made any promises about which other characters might show up as well, but given that Thor: The Dark World comes to theaters in a month, I imagine Chris Hemsworth and maybe even Tom Hiddleston have either suited up already or are on their way there. And even though Robert Downey Jr. manages to get an insane amount of money from Marvel for his continued services as Iron Man, his appearance in an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode would be an irresistible ratings boon for sweeps week-- if the show continues to be popular, I'd bet on him showing up before the first season is through.
This is likely some of what Marvel had in mind when they started signing people like Jackson to crazy nine-picture contracts, which in a way turned Marvel into one of those Old Hollywood studios, in which they completely owned an actor and could shove them into any project they wanted. It's not quite so drastic for Jackson or Scarlett Johansson or other non-Downey cast members… but if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the ratings to merit the cash it takes to bring these people in for a cameo, they're gonna do it. Place your bets on the next Nick Fury-style cameo in the comments.
Read more about last night's episode here!