How Nick Fury lost his eye in the MCU has finally been revealed in Captain Marvel, but it was quite different to the comics. Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal as Nick Fury has become an integral part of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the creator of the Avengers Initiative, Fury remains as the cornerstone to the extended universe in the fight against otherworldly threats.
The hard-nosed Fury made his MCU debut in Iron Man's post-credits scene. Since then, he's brought together the universe's mightiest heroes. Despite appearing in nine movies so far, much of his past was left unknown until Captain Marvel. The film serves as an origin story for the titular character played by Brie Larson as well as a young Nick Fury portrayed by a de-aged Jackson. Viewers quickly learn more about Fury's past prior to his job as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and, more importantly, the reasoning for his iconic eyepatch.
During Captain Marvel, Fury reveals himself as a softy when it comes to Goose the cat. During his adventure alongside Carol Danvers, Goose is never too far behind. The four-legged feline is later revealed to be a Flerken, an alien species that strongly resembles a typical housecat. Goose plays a major role in the fight against Starforce thanks in part to his ability to sprout gigantic tentacles. Talos tries to warn Fury not to get too close to the alien but he's too enamored by the seemingly innocent furball. After the fight in Mar-Vell's secret laboratory, Fury picks up Goose and she scratches him across the eye; this is the wound that necessitates the eyepatch.
The story behind Fury's eye in the movie is far different than his character's comic book origin. Nick Fury first appeared in Marvel's Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 in 1963. The WWII series focused on Fury as a cigar-smoking, Nazi-killing machine and the leader of an elite Army unit. A later issue revealed that Fury sports an eyepatch because he took shrapnel in one eye while saving his men from a grenade blast. He didn't completely lose the eye but his sight started to diminish. Fury decided to wear an eyepatch and forego the surgery to remove his eye so he could remain with his men.
This isn't the only time Fury's eye took focus in Marvel Comics. In the Ultimate Universe, Nick Fury (who had been redesigned to look more like Samuel L. Jackson) served in the Gulf War and was a member of a military unit transporting Weapon X, aka Wolverine. Their convoy was attacked and an explosion severely injured Fury's eye before Wolverine carried him from the wreckage. Another comic book miniseries, Battle Scars, pays homage to Nick Fury's look, but this time his son Marcus Johnson is at the center of the story; Johnson's left eye is cut out to match his father after the pair are captured.
In the context of the MCU, it's understandable why Fury would want to keep the truth about his eye a secret to his colleagues; when questioned by Agent Coulson, Fury lets him believe that the Kree damaged the eye because he wouldn't give up the Tesseract, while he makes the event sound more traumatic to Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Lying not only protects his own pride, it also keeps Goose's alien identity a secret.
That said, viewers might question why the movie changed the events from the comics. Practically, it makes sense for it to happen connected to a banner hero rather than in a nondescript mission while, of course, having Fury's eye scratched out by a cat is silly and thus quite funny, but there is some more important significance. Captain Marvel is just the beginning of Fury's encounters with alien lifeforms; he still has a lot to learn and the Flerken reminded him of that. His eye might have been incidental to the life-changing mission but it serves as a visual reminder of it. Fury is lackadaisical when it comes to the injury, probably understanding that he too easily let his guard down with his new four-legged friend. The last time he trusted someone he lost an eye and he certainly never forgets that fact.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019