‘Captain Marvel’ Is an Origin Story for a Completely Different Nick Fury

Marvel Studios’ ‘90s-set Captain Marvel will explore a near-unrecognizable Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who will be far removed from the badass super-spy S.H.I.E.L.D. director familiar to Marvel Cinematic Universe moviegoers.

“I’ll read something, and I’ll read it as present Nick Fury, and I’ll go, ‘He would never do this.’ And I go, ‘Oh, wait a minute. He’s not in that place yet,’” Jackson told EW, who debuted the first official look at star Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers suited up as cosmic superhero Captain Marvel just days ago.

A decade after first stepping out as a modern spin on the famed Marvel Comics character in 2008’s Iron Man, where he invited then-green superhero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) into a larger world, Jackson said the new film explores Fury as he was in the mid-‘90s: as a desk jockey with both eyes and unfamiliar with a world filled with off-planet threats.

“The Nick Fury we meet is sort of a bureaucrat in an interesting sort of way,” Jackson said. “He hadn’t become jaded or a slave to the cynicism that we normally see. He sort of respects the people that are above him, more so than the Nick Fury that people are used to.”

The 69-year-old star was de-aged through makeup both practical and digital, and his new look comes with a different — and lighter — personality, especially when bringing to screen Fury’s first-ever meeting with rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). “He has a greater sense of humor in this than anything I’ve done before,” Jackson said.

Meeting half-Kree, half-human superhero Carol Danvers comes as a “mind-changing, attitude-changing moment for him that leads him to become the person that we know,” Jackson explained.

“He [now] understands that there are these other things out there. He understands that they’re not all enemies, and we do need to find allies who have specific kinds of skills that humans don’t have. And trying to convince people above him is a difficult task because they haven’t seen it or experienced it.”

That attitude change could be helped along by donning his iconic eyepatch. “The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye,” the now-jaded Fury says in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, possibly setting the stage for a reveal that could see audiences learn Fury misplaced his trust in the wrong person — like one of the shape-shifting, deceptive Skrulls, the alien race acting as the primary threat in Captain Marvel.

Of its leading lady, Jackson said Larson, in her franchise debut, is a fitting and timely choice as the super-powerful superheroine — the first in Marvel’s ten-year history to headline her own movie.

“She’s got the strength of the character,” Jackson explained. “She’s an interestingly iconic figure in the world of Me Too and women’s strength and everything that’s going on in the world right now. She’s a pivotal figure in that. And to put her in this position in this particular role in a film like this that is driven by feminism in a very interesting way… it’s just the right choice.”

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Audiences will soon find out why Fury paged a presumably off-planet Danvers in the final moments of Avengers: Infinity War, which saw the now-veteran agent send a distress signal calling for Captain Marvel just before he was dusted by the Infinity Stone-powered snap of Thanos (Josh Brolin) that erased half of all life in the universe.

Jackson next returns as Fury in Captain Marvel, out March 8, before encountering Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: Far From Home, out July 5, 2019.