Looking back, it’s easy to see where Captain America: The Winter Soldier became the linchpin of the MCU. What began as a simple sequel grew into a game-changing entry that saw the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D., revealed long hidden secrets, and caused a ripple throughout the MCU that is felt to this day. And yet, perhaps the most shocking moment was the forced retirement of Nick Fury.
Samuel L. Jackson has been a presence in the MCU from the very beginning, starting with a brief cameo in Iron Man. His “death” in The Winder Soldier was a game changer for the universe in which he resides. S.H.I.E.L.D. is an outlaw organization, The Avengers have let infighting tear them apart, and seemingly no one is paying attention to what’s going in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s not difficult to imagine that none of this would’ve happened under Fury’s watch, and that maybe everyone would be better off if he was back in play. The question is: will that happen?
According to a recent interview with Coming Soon, Jackson hints that yes, his character will absolutely make a return to the MCU at some point. While the actor was coy about when and where that might be, it seems likely that both Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. could play a role in the upcoming The Avengers: Infinity War. When asked if that was the case, Jackson said:
“Yeah! For sure, definitely. Why wouldn’t there be? There’s some way of fixing what they created, and hopefully somebody has that going on or Nick Fury is out there — wherever he is, probably hanging out with Jules and walking the world — figuring out what happened and how it got to that particular place. Maybe they’ll find out that all that was part of a ruse to get to something else also. That would be great. They’ll bring me back somehow, some way, for some reason. I mean, they didn’t have me around to referee the kids when they didn’t go to their rooms and got in this big old fight. We’ll see what happens.”
While it would be easy to dismiss that as a cute answer to a breezy question, especially with his tongue-in-cheek reference to his Pulp Fiction character, Jackson’s attitude reflects a lot about what’s happened in the installments since Fury left the scene. Even with Marvel’s reluctance to crossover film and television these days, having Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. take part in reinstating Fury and helping out where they can with regard to Thanos and the upcoming Infinity War does sound appealing. That’s a tall order, but regardless of how they go about it, having S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fury return to the MCU is an exciting prospect, and one that also makes sense from a narrative standpoint.
While there’s not much in the way of real information at the moment, it seems impossible for Marvel to keep Fury hidden forever. Now more than ever, it seems to be a question of when Fury will return to S.H.I.E.L.D., not if.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.