There was a time when Marvel Studios was so cheap they were either losing actors or cutting the cord with talent when they got too expensive. Terrence Howard was famously replaced in “Iron Man 2” after he dared to ask for more dough (the cast got more, especially RDJ), Mickey Rourke memorably carped about Marvel’s frugality before signing on to the same “Iron Man” sequel, and back in the day Samuel L. Jackson told journalists “maybe I won’t be Nick Fury” because “there seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world.” Cooler heads prevailed, both Marvel and Jackson got what they wanted and the actor was signed to a whopping nine-film contract, reportedly the longest of all the Marvel deals thus far.
But perhaps because of that contract, and the number of appearances left on it — two films; he’s appeared in two “Iron Man” films, the first “Thor” picture, two “Captain America” adventures, and two ‘Avengers’ blockbusters — Jackson won’t be popping up in the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War.”
“I’m not in ‘Captain America 3,’ ” he told Collider recently. “I can’t figure that out, but I’m not. I guess [Nick Fury is] still out there, trying to figure out what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D. and who these other people are.”
With an upcoming two-part “Avengers: Infinity War” movie in 2019 and 2020, presumably Marvel will be saving his two final contract appearances for those films. Will that be it for Sam Jackson as Nick Fury? Well, like Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. who in recent years suggested that once they’re contracts are over they’re done, only to rethink that because they love playing the characters, Jackson is looking to stay on past 2020.
“Of course [I’m interested in returning]!,” Jackson said when asked about his Marvel future. “I’m looking for a contract extension right now, yeah. I’m looking to re-up.”
Marvel fans will be relieved. But they should also note that ‘Civil War’ is jam packed with characters, like an ‘Avengers 2.5’ movie with Ant-Man, The Vision, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon on top of the usual suspects (don’t believe those dumb Red Hulk and/or Grey Hulk rumors). Perhaps there just wasn’t’ room for Nick Fury. Though his absence does feel odd given the fact that ‘Age Of Ultron’ ends with a new Avengers team and a compound that Fury is running, with ‘Civil War’ picking up not long after the events of that movie.
So see you, Nick Fury in 2019? Most likely.