Nick Fury - Captain America: Winter Soldier

As (former) S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson has been the connective tissue of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he trespassed into Tony Stark’s home at the end of Iron Man. He hasn’t been in all of the standalone MCU films, but has popped up in many, and figured prominently into the plot and character development of both Avengers films and in Captain America: Winter Soldier. So it was surprising to learn from Collider that Jackson has not been invited to reprise Nick Fury in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film.

“I’m not in Captain America [Civil War]. I can’t figure that out, but I’m not. I guess I’m still out there, trying to figure out what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D. and who these other people are,” Jackson said, adding Nick Fury to the list of people who are trying to make sense of all that S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra/Miracles/Infinity Stone stuff and follow a ballooning cast of characters. Take Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue, who was introduced in Age Of Ultron; are we supposed to be tracking him now, too?

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Jackson is contracted for two more Marvel films, so they’re probably reserving those appearances for the Avengers: Infinity Wars movies. Or, put another way, Samuel L. Jackson is a critical part of the franchise and a major Hollywood star; Disney may not want to cut him an enormous check just for popping up in Civil War.

For Jackson’s part, he’s more than happy to extend his contract, saying, “I’m looking for a contract extension right now, yeah. I’m looking to re-up.” It’s entirely possible that Nick Fury could be added into the film later, or that for an increasingly bloated, byzantine cinematic universe, maybe there’s room for one storyline without Col. Nick Fury lecturing Cap, glaring at Thor, and chiding Iron Man. Besides, Fury will have to be done away with at some point, otherwise it’s going to get really confusing when Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet to open a portal and Mace Windu tumbles out, kicking off MCU’s Phase 4.