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Marvel's Nick Fury: How to watch Samuel L. Jackson's MCU super-spy in release and chronological order

Want to get started on watching the MCU’s Nick Fury? Here’s how to do it?

Nick Fury
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Nick Fury may not have any special abilities, but he’s probably the most powerful person in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The superspy is one step ahead of the world’s greatest heroes and villains, as he manipulates events from behind the scenes. While heroes like Captain America and Iron Man stand in the spotlight, Nick Fury saves the world from the shadows.

But last week, Nick Fury began stepping into the spotlight by starring in the Disney+ live-action series Secret Invasion.

Samuel L. Jackson has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since it began in 2008. Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury has spanned multiple movies, television shows, and has even crossed over to animation. If you’re looking to follow Jackson’s career as Nick Fury, then Popverse has you covered. This dossier will tell you everything you need to know to enjoy Nick Fury’s cinematic career.

How to watch the MCU’s Nick Fury in release order

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Image credit: Marvel Studios

If you want to follow Nick Fury’s story in release order, here is how you would do it. Please note, this watch list only covers movies that Nick Fury appears in. For a complete MCU watch order, please refer to this link.

How to watch the MCU’s Nick Fury in chronological order

Secret Invasion
Image credit: Disney+

If you would prefer going in chronological order, here is how you would do it. Please note the placement of Captain America: The First Avenger. Although most of the movie is set during World War II, Nick Fury’s scene at the end takes place in the 21st century, shortly after his appearance in Thor. Because this chronological list focuses on Nick Fury’s story, we’re placing Captain America: The First Avenger between Thor and The Avengers, as that’s where Fury’s scene is set chronologically.

Alternate realities

Samuel L. Jackson reprised his role as Nick Fury for a few episodes of the What If…? animated series. While these episodes are a part of the MCU, they don’t take place in the mainstream reality. Essentially, What If…? explores alternate realities in the MCU multiverse, where iconic events played out differently. Since these aren’t set in the main timeline, we’ve separated the What If…? episodes from the rest of the chronological watch order. If you want to watch Nick Fury’s What If…? appearances, here is how you would do it.

  • What If…? season 1, episode 1
  • What If…? season 1, episode 3
  • What If…? season 1, episode 7
  • What If…? season 1, episode 9

Is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. canon?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. poster
Image credit: Marvel Television

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a television spy drama that aired for seven seasons on ABC. The series focused on Phil Coulson and a supporting cast of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Nick Fury appeared in two episodes, which is why the series is being discussed here.

The series was marketed as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but its canon status has been disputed. The series regularly referenced the events of the MCU films, and even had guest stars from the movies stop by, such as Jaime Alexander’s Lady Sif. However, while the series regularly referenced the MCU films, the movies never acknowledged the events of the series.

In addition, later MCU productions seemed to contradict events depicted in the show. For example, the Darkhold seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was different than the one seen in WandaVision. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn added to the confusion by stating that none of the Marvel television shows produced before WandaVision are canon to the MCU.

In various interviews, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has stated that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is canon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Disney+ series Loki introduced the idea of alternate timelines, and it’s possible that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is part of one of those branches. That would explain the discrepancy between Feige and Gunn’s comments.

For now, our watch order will treat Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as canon. If any new information comes to light, we will update this article.

When does Nick Fury get his eyepatch?

Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Some of you might be wondering why Nick Fury wears an eyepatch. It’s been an iconic part of his character design in the comics since Strange Tales #135 (1965). In the comics, Fury wears an eyepatch due to a wartime injury (as seen in Sgt. Fury #27). In the MCU, the reason he wore the eyepatch was a mystery for over a decade.

In the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier Fury hinted at the events which led to him losing the use of his eye. “The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye,” Fury told Captain America. When the circumstances behind his injury were finally revealed in Captain Marvel (2019), they were less dramatic, and more embarrassing. Fury had been playing with a Flerken named Goose, an alien which resembled a housecat. The Flerken got aggressive, and scratched Fury on the eye. Feeling embarrassed, Fury lied and told his colleagues that he had been injured battling the alien race known as the Kree.

Why did the MCU change Nick Fury from the comics?

Nick Fury from The Ultimates
Image credit: Marvel Comics

In many ways, Samuel L. Jackson can thank Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch for casting him as Nick Fury. In 2002 Marvel published The Ultimates, a limited series which reimagined the Avengers for Marvel’s Ultimate imprint. The purpose of the Ultimate imprint was to modernize Marvel’s classic characters for the 21st century.

Writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch approached The Ultimates as if it was a comics adaptation to a non-existent movie. This meant “casting” certain actors as the various Marvel characters. As such, Nick Fury was drawn to look like Samuel L. Jackson. When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008, it took a lot of cues from the Ultimate imprint, which led to Samuel L. Jackson being officially cast as Nick Fury in Iron Man.

Jackson’s portrayal of the character has become so iconic that Marvel has brought his version into the mainstream 616 universe. The 2011 mini-series Battle Scars introduced Nick Fury’s son, Nick Fury Jr., who happened to look just like Samuel L. Jackson. Fury Jr. has become the prominent Fury in the Marvel Universe, and Marvel has recently retired the original character, sending him to another reality.

Where else can I follow Nick Fury’s story?

Iron Man 2 - Nick Fury: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Image credit: Marvel Comics

If you want to follow Nick Fury’s complete story in the MCU, you will need to look beyond movies and television. Marvel Comics has released a series of tie-in comics set within the MCU. These comics expand on the story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bridging the gap between the movies. Some of these comics have been contradicted by latter movies, which is the nature of tie-in stories. Despite this, Marvel promotes these books as official parts of the MCU canon, and they should be treated as such, until something within them is contradicted by a movie or television series.

Here is a complete list of the MCU tie-in comics Fury has appeared in.

  • Iron Man: Security Measures (2008) – This comic expands on the events of the original Iron Man film, with new scenes told from Fury’s point of view.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files (2008) – Details what Fury was doing during The Incredible Hulk film.
  • Nick Fury: Spies Among Us (2009) – Original story detailing a Nick Fury adventure set in the Cold War. This issue is most likely not canon, as some details about Fury’s backstory were contradicted by later films such as Captain Marvel.
  • Iron Man: I Am Iron Man (2010) – Adaptation of the 2008 Iron Man film with new scenes expanding the story.
  • Iron Man 2 – Nick Fury: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2010) – A comic detailing the early days of Fury’s partnership with Iron Man.
  • Iron Man 2: Public Identity (2010) – A comic that bridges the gap between Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
  • Iron Man 2 – Phil Coulson: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2010) – A story focusing on Phil Coulson’s actions between Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
  • Iron Man 2 – Black Widow: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2010) – A prequel to Iron Man 2, focusing on Black Widow.
  • The Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week (2012) – A prequel to the Avengers movie focusing on Nick Fury.
  • The Avengers Prelude: Black Widow Strikes (2012) – A prequel to the Avengers movie focusing on Black Widow.
  • The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative (2012) – A prequel to the Avengers movie focusing on Hawkeye.
  • Iron Man 2 (2012) – An adaptation of the 2010 film Iron Man 2. For some reason this was published two years after the movie was released.
  • Thor: The Dark World Prelude (2013) – A comic expanding on Thor’s activities after The Avengers film.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2013) – A comic adaptation of the 2011 film. For some reason it was published two years after the film was released.
  • The Avengers (2014) – A comic adaptation of the Avengers film. Once again, this was published two years after the movie’s release.
  • Captain America: Civil War Prelude (2015) – A prequel to the film Captain America: Civil War.
  • Captain Marvel Prelude (2019) – A comic detailing Nick Fury’s activities between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Black Widow Prelude (2020) – A prequel to the film Black Widow.

What about the David Hasselhoff Nick Fury movie?

David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury
Image credit: 20th Century Fox Television

Years before Samuel L. Jackson donned the iconic eyepatch, David Hasselhoff played Nick Fury in a 1998 television movie. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. focused on a conflict with the terrorist organization HYDRA. The film was written by David Goyer, a screenwriter known for penning iconic comic book films. This was not one of them.

The movie served as a pilot for a potential television series. However, the film bombed in the ratings, so the television series never came to fruition. According to the Nielson ratings, reruns on competing channels got more ratings than the film. The movie has no connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but feel free to watch it for fun. It’s currently available to view for free on YouTube.

Where can I watch the MCU’s Nick Fury?

Secret Invasion
Image credit: Marvel Studios

All of Nick Fury’s MCU appearances are available to buy or rent digitally on a variety of video-on-demand platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play. If you’re subscribed to the Disney+ streaming service, then you’re all set. Disney+ has all the movies and television shows available to stream. If you’re already a subscriber, then you don’t need to pay an extra fee.

With all that in mind, enjoy your Nick Fury viewing journey!

Go deeper with our guide to all of the MCU.

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