For 10 years, Marvel has kept a lot of secrets completely under wraps, but one in particular is about to be revealed. The franchise is finally spilling the tea in Captain Marvel: how did Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) get his eyepatch? Inquiring minds will finally learn the origin story of perhaps Marvel's most beloved and mysterious accessory when Captain Marvel arrives in theaters Mar. 8, as Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) teams up with a two-eyed Fury during his early days as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the '90s-set film.
On a visit to the Captain Marvel set last summer, executive producer Jonathan Schwartz revealed to Bustle and other outlets that for the first time ever in a Marvel film, Nick Fury will be a main character — not just a supporting face or one-scene cameo.
"It’s been amazing to have Sam Jackson on set for this long because in the past Marvel movies, it’s been a pop here or a pop there and they haven’t really been Nick Fury-centric," Schwartz says. "And this really, for a lot of the movie, is a two-hander between Captain Marvel and Nick Fury and a version of Nick Fury we haven’t seen before, which is super exciting."
While Captain Marvel is definitely Carol Danvers' story, Schwartz is excited to finally get to dive deeper into Fury's origin as her partner throughout the movie. He meets her and learns about the existence of aliens right at a crucial moment in his life. "It’s the story of him reaching a point in his S.H.I.E.L.D. career where he’s more or less disillusioned," Schwartz adds. "In a post-Cold War era, there’s not a lot for S.H.I.E.L.D. to be doing. [Carol] comes down from the sky [which] opens his eyes to a bigger universe. Before he showed up at Tony Stark’s house [at the end of Iron Man] saying, 'There’s a great big universe out there, you just don’t know it yet,' someone had to teach him that."
During this interview, Jackson reclines in a chair next to one of the alien spaceship sets, sporting motion-capture dots on his face for the de-aging special effects to bring him back to the '90s. "The truth is, we don’t have to do that much because Sam looks amazing," Schwartz says with a laugh. "But we have done the de-aging. The truth is, he looks really good."
How Jackson looks as Fury is directly at odds with how the character feels, though. Turning back the clock means taking Fury to a point in his life where he lacked passion and purpose as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. "I've been riding the desk at S.H.I.E.L.D. and trying to figure out where the next threat will be coming from and dealing with NSA and all these other people, never thinking that there were extraterrestrials," Jackson says. "This is the first time that I encountered them and form a belief that those people are out there and those things are out there. And that there are people who have extraordinary abilities that can help us."
Watching Fury meet Carol when she's already a fully-formed superhero is definitely going to be entertaining, because Fury is "not as cynical yet" as he was in previous Marvel films, the actor adds. "There are times when he actually humanly reacts to things with fear and awe, instead of the stone face that he normally has before he learns to control his emotions in another way," Jackson says.
And he's not exaggerating: we later witness Jackson filming a scene with Larson and soon-to-be breakout star Goose. "I'm going to pick you up now," Jackson whispers to the cat, who plays an alien called a Flerken. "I'm trusting you not to eat me." Fury's wide-eyed wonder at all things alien, including that cute-but-deadly ET in the form of a house pet, should delight fans.
"Things are changing," Jackson says. "The world is changing for him: how he views it in terms of who we are and respect to the rest of the galaxy and that there is a much greater thing out there than who we are and what we are and that they pose a greater threat than anyone even knows, and that we literally have no defenses against them."
But about that eyepatch... while both Jackson and Schwartz are remaining tight-lipped for now about how Fury loses an eye, they do confirm that Captain Marvel will finally pull back the curtain on where the agent came from. "You'll see specifically the origin of what happened to his eye, possibly," Jackson teases. "You'll find out that he does have family... there's backstory we haven't talked about before: where he's from, what he's done. We get more of what turns him into this person that you originally meet in Iron Man."
While Jackson always had a rough idea of Fury's history to go off of for his portrayal in earlier films, even he learned some new things about his character in Captain Marvel. Specifically: "Everybody calls him Fury, even his mother," he says with a laugh. File that under the Least Shocking and yet Most Delightful Fury fact ever.