Avengers 4 looks set to bring time travel to the MCU, but has Nick Fury been seeing the future all along? A new theory suggests that Captain Marvel will dabble in time travel too in a bid to explain the S.H.I.E.L.D. Director's sometimes preternatural degree of foreknowledge in the MCU.
This theory (started by a user on Reddit) suggests that, in Captain Marvel, Nick Fury will somehow experience the future of the MCU. While he won't know all the details, he'll know enough to realize that he needs to rise through the ranks and take charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Avengers Initiative will become his focus simply because he's foreseen how important Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be to protecting the planet. And, crucially, he'll also be warned of the cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War - a single catastrophic moment when half the life in the universe is obliterated in seconds.
While it's a madcap idea, Fury's foreknowledge would neatly explain so many aspects of confusion in the MCU, from why he chose not to summon Captain Marvel until Thanos, to why the Avengers exist in the first place.
- This Page: The Nick Fury Time Travel Theory
- Page 2: Would a Time Travel Nick Fury Work in Avengers 4?
Could Nick Fury Learn of the Future in Captain Marvel?
It's generally believed that, in the MCU, time travel will be possible by entering into the Quantum Realm. The Quantum Realm is actually inspired by real-world scientific theories; that if you shrink beneath a certain level, the fundamental laws of time and space begin to break down. As such, time travel would theoretically be possible. Supporting this theory, leaked toy box art has shown the Avengers wearing containment units very much reminiscent of Hank Pym's Quantum Realm suits in Ant-Man & the Wasp.
The Quantum Realm has already been confirmed to feature in Captain Marvel in some capacity, although how has yet to be revealed. One theory is that the MCU version of Captain Marvel will gain her powers through exposure to the Quantum Realm - certainly, the flare of energy that engulfs Carol is very much reminiscent to the Quantum Realm explosion in Ant-Man & the Wasp - or that she'll end the movie trapped in the microverse ahead of Avengers 4. But, with time travel coming to the MCU, could we end up getting a tease of that concept?
Concept art for Ant-Man & the Wasp revealed that Marvel considered developing what they called "a quantum memory palace", a mysterious nexus where people could experience their own memories and potentially rewrite history. Given the laws of time break down within this dimension, it's theoretically possible that people exposed to its energies could catch visions of the future rather than the past. If the Quantum Realm has a more active role in the film, it's been theorized that Nick Fury will get a glimpse of the future, gaining selective knowledge of things yet to happen and a sense of just what needed to be done in order to undo or avert Thanos's victory. That would explain why one official Japanese Disney site has suggested that Captain Marvel is the story of "the birth of the Avengers."
How Time Travel Explains Nick Fury's Knowledge In The MCU
This may well explain many of Nick Fury's actions in the MCU to date. When Fury approached Tony Stark in the post-credits of Iron Man, he told him that he had "just become part of a bigger universe - you just don't know it yet." This statement sounds cool but doesn't hold up to scrutiny; while Fury knew of other superhumans, such as Ant-Man or Ghost, he doesn't seem to have considered any of them for membership of the Avengers Initiative. The "bigger universe" he intended Tony Stark to operate in was really one featuring other characters who Fury had yet to meet.
Over the next few years, the pieces of Fury's Avengers Initiative began to fall into place in very curious ways. Fury insisted on tracking down Captain America's body, for example; the official tie-in comic Fury's Big Week, it's implied Fury believed Steve Rogers was still alive, fighting to recover the body long before it's found. Then, in The Avengers, Fury seemed absolutely, unshakably convinced that the Avengers Initiative was the one approach that could save the world. In the end scenes, when confronted by the World Council about what he had just started by letting the Avengers loose, Fury seemed strangely relaxed, then when questioned by Maria Hill whether the Avengers could ever reassemble, he gave a confident response: "They'll come back. Because we'll need them to."
All this fits with the idea of Fury experiencing a vision of the future: he knew that Tony Stark was destined to be part of "a bigger universe"; he knew that Steve Rogers was alive; and he knew that the Avengers would indeed return. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, it's Fury who turns up to motivate the team on the course that will lead to the creation of Vision.
Of course, Fury's knowledge couldn't be perfect - he wasn't aware of Hydra's infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D., after all - but that makes sense; if he experienced just a brief vision of the future, it would involve select moments. The question of this theory, though, looks to the future: how does this impact Thanos & Avengers 4?
Page 2 of 2: Would a Time Travel Fury Work in Avengers 4?
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019