Spoilers ahead for the Marvel universe! Fans got a nice little surprise at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, when Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury showed up. But that was far from the only surprise! As chaos raged all around, Fury took out a pager and sent a message containing just one symbol. True Marvel fans know whose superhero’s emblem it is, but what’s the significance? And by extension, what does it indicate will happen in the Infinity War sequel?
Infinity War was a crossover event many years in the making. It brought together all of the major Marvel superheroes to fight a terrible threat: the alien warlord Thanos, played by Josh Brolin. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and his Wakandan army – all of them were in there.
Before the film came out, however, it seemed that one notable team member wasn’t going to be included. That was Nick Fury, the badass one-eyed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent played by Samuel L Jackson. In 2017 – while Infinity War was still shooting (and still sometimes being referred to as “Avengers 3” – Jackson was asked by Yahoo! Movies if he was in it.
“I wasn’t in the ‘superhero argument’ movie [Captain America: Civil War], I’m not in Avengers 3 and 4,” Jackson said. “They’re shooting them now, and they haven’t called me yet.” He also confirmed that he wouldn’t appear in Black Panther, which some fans had been wondering about. “They wouldn’t let me go to Black Panther-ville,” he added.
As it was, Jackson wasn’t misleading fans with that one – Black Panther was indeed Jackson-less. His absence certainly didn’t hurt its box office takings at all, though. The movie made hundreds of millions of dollars and is presently the ninth highest-grossing film of all time. Moreover, a sequel will hit theaters in the not-too-distant future, after the Infinity War follow-up, and there seems to be nothing stopping Jackson from appearing in that one.
And not long after that Yahoo! interview was released, it was announced that Jackson would appear in another Marvel movie after all. This was to be Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson as the titular character, Carol Danvers. The film would take place in the ’90s, so Jackson would be playing a slightly younger Nick Fury.
“We wanted to explore a period before Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury had any idea about any of the other heroes and crazy stuff going on in the world,” Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly in March 2018, as Captain Marvel began shooting. “[We want to] really showcase and announce that Carol Danvers was that first hero that Nick came across.”
So, Nick Fury fans would get to spend a whole new movie with their hero after all. Moreover, it turned out that Jackson might have been sneakily misleading fans, or perhaps had just been misinformed, about his role in Infinity War. Because in January 2018 some photographs from the set revealed none other than Jackson in costume as Nick Fury.
With him was Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, another popular character from the Marvel universe. Fans instantly began to gleefully speculate as to what was going on. Were the images in question from a scene for Captain Marvel, or Infinity War, or something else? But if they were from Captain Marvel, surely Maria Hill would be a child at that point in the timeline. Nonetheless, there she was.
The answer came with the release of Infinity War. Nick Fury didn’t show up for most of the movie, but the end-credits scene was his. That was what fans had photographed, it transpired. In the stinger, Fury and Hill witness the destruction caused by Thanos and quickly react. Unfortunately, it seems that they’re too late.
First, Maria Hill turns to dust like so many of her friends had done already. Fury can only watch in shock at the scene before him. Before he’s even able to say “Motherf**ker!” Fury disintegrates, too. But in the moments beforehand, he manages to press a button on a pager (’90s tech!). The camera then focuses in on the pager message: a star symbol.
But what was the meaning of the star shape? Well, it’s the symbol for Captain Marvel! She wears it on her uniform as part of her superhero persona. And she’s also one of the most powerful heroes on the Marvel roster, which is no doubt why Fury decided to contact her in his last moments. So what does that imply for the Infinity War sequel?
Before Avengers 4 even comes out, Captain Marvel will hit cinemas first on March 6, 2019. Perhaps it’s a chance for audiences to get to know Carol Danvers before she flies to present-day Earth to fix the terrible mess there? By the end of her solo movie, the full extent of her powers should be known. And maybe they’ll be instrumental in defeating Thanos.
Marvel movies absolutely love inserting important scenes after the end credits of their movies, making their fans stay just that little bit longer in cinemas. The first one involved Samuel L. Jackson himself, in fact. At the end of Iron Man, Tony Stark is met by Nick Fury, who informs him about something called “the Avengers Initiative.” And this of course laid the groundwork for The Avengers.
After that, it became a tradition for the end-credits scene of a Marvel film to tee up one or more forthcoming movies in the Marvel universe. Iron Man 2 set up Thor, Thor in turn set up Captain America and The Avengers, and so on. Thanos himself was introduced in a pre-credits scene, all the way back in The Avengers.
Captain Marvel looks like it’ll be an exciting movie on its own terms, in fact, even without the Infinity War stinger hyping people up for it. As well as Jackson and Brie Larson, it’ll star Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Gemma Chan and Annette Bening. Some old Marvel favorites are also back: Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser and Djimon Hounsou as Korath.
Whether Captain Marvel will make as much money as Infinity War is another matter. Infinity War grossed a colossal $1.9 billion, becoming the most commercially successful film of 2018 and the fourth highest-grossing movie ever. This is very good news, of course, for all the Marvel actors – both old and new.
Jackson has already made over $20 million from playing Nick Fury, thanks to a slightly odd contract. Back in 2001 Marvel wasn’t anywhere near the powerhouse it is now, and it “rebooted” the long-standing Nick Fury character in its comics by opting to base it on Samuel L. Jackson. When the real Jackson found out, he wasn’t happy. But instead of suing, Jackson made a deal with Marvel. If a movie was ever made featuring Nick Fury, he would receive the first call on playing him. And he did!
The ending of Infinity War almost certainly isn’t the end of Fury’s life, or the lives of the many other characters who also perished. So, no one is likely to be too concerned about their paychecks! Since several of the characters who were seen turning to dust, such as Spider-Man and Black Panther, already have sequels in the works, it stands to reason that all of their deaths might well be undone.
It’s a rollercoaster ride. And so far, the Marvel cinematic universe shows no sign of slowing down – or of bringing in any less money. Its ability to give fans what they want, in cleverly executed increments, is truly impressive. Indeed, there’s seemingly never been a better time to love characters such as Nick Fury and Captain Marvel.