Iron Man (2008)

The cameo by Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury at the end of Jon Faverau's Iron Man in 2008 was the first taste of the ambitious cinematic plan that Marvel Studios had for translating Marvel Comic characters unto the big screen. Tying in perfectly with the Ultimates line of comics where Nick Fury is clearly drawn after the likeness of Jackson, the post-credits scene established the tradition for the Marvel movies to have a short teaser for the next film and established the Ultimates comics as the main inspiration for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Also introduced in this film is agent Phil Coulson. An original SHIELD agent to the Marvel Cinematic stories, Coulson, as played by Clark Gregg occupied the role typically seen of Dum Dum Dugan but with the mannerisms of Jasper Sitwell. Aside from Coulson, we see very little of SHIELD; just some guys in nondescript suits during the film's finale. A running joke between Pepper Potts and Coulson is made of what the SHIELD acronym stands for.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Samuel Jackson's involvement in Iron Man 2 initially hit a financial snag as evidenced by the clip below..

Once the pay issue was resolved, Jackson was set once again to play Fury, this time expanding his cameo to a supporting part for a small section of the film where he explains to Stark, Howard Stark's connections to SHIELD. Fury also drops a hint at what could be a cure for Stark's worsening condition. Jackson's role in Iron Man 2 establishes Fury as a practically minded character who is accustomed to taking charge and is not without some humor. Jackson's delivery of "I've got my eye on you." and "Sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to exit the donut." showcase the dry wit typically associated with the actor, dating back to his role in Pulp Fiction. This distinguishes the Cinematic Fury from the classic Nick Fury who bore a much rougher, tough-guy sense of humor, if any at all.

The Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, is introduced in this film as an agent of SHIELD. Although in the comics her association with SHIELD is much looser, depending on the situation, here the Widow is clearly in the employ of Nick Fury (her trademark black uniform bears a SHIELD logo). This is in keeping with the Ultimates version of Black Widow (at least at first). Agent Coulson also returns, rounding out the SHIELD cast in the film. Once again, aside from these character, we see very little of the world of SHIELD.

Thor (2010)

Nick Fury was back to post-credits teaser mode in Kenneth Braughn's adaption of the Thor comic, although the short scene was directed by Avengers director, Joss Whedon.

Agent Coulson held up the SHIELD portion of the film and the audience got a good glimpse of the SHIELD agency for the first time in this film, albeit still keeping a low profile. SHIELD shows off very little of the cutting edge tech it's known for in the comics and instead looks like any standard government agency with allot of guys in dark suits. Adding to the SHIELD cast is Maximiliano Hernandez as agent Jasper Sitwell. Jeremey Renner as Hawkeye joins the SHIELD cast, again a cue from the Ultimate comics. Like Black Widow, Hawkeye operates as a high level operative with a uniform unique to his skills.

A pair of shorts accompanied the promotion of Thor focusing on agents Coulson and Sitwell.


Further comic book adventures with the MCU Howling Commandos can be found in:

  • Captain America: First Vengeance #1-4

Again, Nick Fury appears only in a short cameo, this time the final few moments of the film, delivering the news to Steve Rogers that he's awaken 70 years later. We see a SHIELD at work in the modern-day bookends of the film as a SHIELD team discovers Captain America trapped in the ice and later we see Rogers break out of a holding facility.

Despite the scarcity of SHIELD in the film, there is plenty for Nick Fury fans in the big screen debut of the Howling Commandos and Hydra. Neal McDonough plays 'Dum Dum' Dugan and utters the infamous "WA-HOO!" line in the movie. Derek Luke plays Gabe Jones and Bruno Ricci plays Jaques Rennier, aka 'Frenchie' from the early issues of Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos. J. J. Field plays James Montgomery Falsworth but his appearance is clearly that of Pinky Pinkerton (without the bumbershoot) with the beret and the fact that he is English. Kenneth Choi rounds out the Howlers as Jim Morita, a supporting character in a few issues of Sgt. Fury as well.

Hydra, long the main adversary of SHIELD in comics, makes it's big screen debut in the movie. The movie version eschews the green uniforms and takes on a design that resembles the modified uniforms seen in SHIELD V.2. Instead of Baron Von Strucker, the film uses the Red Skull as the head of Hydra, keeping continuity with early issues of Captain America and leaving the door open for Von Strucker to appear in a later film having picked up the pieces of Hydra after the death of Skull. The Hydra in this film resembles that of the comics with a cadre of advanced weapons.

Nick Fury and SHIELD finally takes center stage with the the first appearence of of many SHIELD elements and Fury's role expanded as the mastermind of the Avengers.

The SHIELD helicarrier makes it's debut bearing a stronger similarity to the version seen in The Ultimates comics then the original Kirby design. Much of the film takes place aboard the helicarrier including a sequence where helicarrier lifts off from the ocean into the skies, an attack on it led by a possesed Hawkeye and Loki's forces, and the Hulk running loose aboard the ship and wrecking havoc. The dseign of the helicarrier command center does incorperate the idea of large glass window looking out toward the front of the ship, however it is not as tall. The design in this movie follows along the aircraft carrier mentality seen in the 1997 FOX tv movie.

Agent Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders, joins the SHIELD supporting cast. Her character was introduced as a replacement and foil for Nick Fury in the Secret War miniseries and has been more readily associated with Iron Man in the comics then Nick Fury. Interviews and text from The Art of Marvel's The Avengers allude to a tensions between her and Fury. Deleted scenes on The Avengers Bluray might showcase this.

Agent Coulson and Sitwell make return appearances and the uniforms worn by SHIELD agents aboard the helicarrier come closer to the comic book versions seen in the SHIELD comics. Concept designs pointed towards attempts to bring Fury more in line in terms of uniform to his comic book appearances, but artist Andy Park ultimately dropped the idea in favor of something more in keeping with what Jackson has worn before in previous films (and Shaft). The SHIELD oversight council also makes a surprising appearance in the film. Jackson's scenes with the council (whose number include actors Powers Booth and Jenny Agutter) echo sequences found in Nick Fury Vs SHIELD where he is at odds with what the council wants him to do. Thier inclusion in the film might point the way towards a Nick Fury solo film, perhaps built around a variation on the Vs SHIELD miniseries..

The Marvel Cinematic Universe have had a few comics that expand on thier stories. Nick Fury appears in the comics below:

  • Fury's Big Week #1-8
  • The Avengers Initiative