Captain Marvel Will Contradict Nick Fury's Timeline In Winter Soldier
Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is instantly recognizable, mainly because he wears an eye patch over his ruined eye. Coupled with his baldness, scarring, and goatee, Fury has looked the same in nearly all of his MCU appearances, from Iron Man through to Avengers: Infinity War. But prior to Captain Marvel, The Winter Soldier has briefly showcased Fury in a different manner.
As fans will recall, during the course of The Winter Soldier, Fury appears to "die" after he's targeted by the eponymous assassin, a.k.a. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Soon after this, Alexander Pierce questions Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) about Fury’s supposedly traitorous activities. In their conversation, Pierce shows Captain America a photograph of him and Nick Fury, where the latter is taking an oath. Given that this is the type of ceremony that FBI directors engage in when they assume office, it's highly likely that this is when Fury is succeeding Pierce and being sworn in as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Pierce recalls that he met Fury when the latter was S.H.I.E.L.D.’s station deputy of their Bogotá facility. Aside from Pierce saying that the photo was taken five years after this event, The Winter Soldier doesn’t specify when this occurred within the MCU’s timeline. Yet this scene confirms that, at this pivotal part of Nick Fury’s life, both of his eyes were healthy and whole.
On first inspection, the youthful Nick Fury in Captain Marvel seems to complement this depiction. Aside from having more hair in Captain Marvel than in The Winter Soldier’s photograph, the new movie similarly shows Fury with two undamaged eyes. But this is where things break down; Captain America: The Winter Soldier depicts Nick Fury becoming both Deputy Chief of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Bogotá station and Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. with both eyes intact. If Fury’s fateful betrayal occurs in Captain Marvel when he’s only a desk jockey, then the new movie will create a plot hole. After all, how can Fury have both eyes when he's being sworn in as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., when he lost his left eye years earlier in Captain Marvel?
By choosing to portray compelling moments like this, the MCU risks contradicting itself as it expands. Unfortunately, these are the kinds of pitfalls that occur with shared universes. As fictional worlds become increasingly embellished, it becomes more difficult for storytellers to negotiate the interwoven narrative – and visual – threads. The plot holes that can inevitably result may bug the more obsessive fans, but ultimately the story must always come first in filmmaking. Captain Marvel has yet to be released, but it stands to reason that the loss of Fury’s eye could be a harrowing, impactful moment within the context of the movie. If it's done well, we can probably forgive the minor plot hole it creates.
- 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