"SHIELD was created to take stock of the world as it is, not necessarily how we'd like it to be. And the world is one scary place, Cap. If we're not ready for that, then what the hell are we doing?"Nicholas J. Fury was born in 1959 in New York City. His mother, barely out of high school, had gotten pregnant due to a one night stand with an older man. Due to his mother's age and his father's lack of work, he was primarily raised by his grandparents. Nick would later remark that his grandfather Gabriel, one of the famed Howling Commandos, had a profound impact on his life, particularly in imparting a sense of duty and a healthy degree of paranoia in him. His grandfather imparted his favorite saying to his grandson, "The only way secrets stay secret is if no one else knows them...except for you." This wisdom would later be recounted between Fury and Steve Rogers, Gabriel's former commanding officer.
In 1977, with very few job prospects in Harlem, Fury enlisted in the United States Army. However his inability to follow the rules earned him a court martial and a dishonorable discharge, along with 90 days in solitary. It was here that Fury was recruited by SHIELD agent Alexander Pierce. Fury quickly rose through the ranks of SHIELD, in part because of familial connections (two of the founders of SHIELD, Howard Stark and Peggy Carter, had been a good friend of his grandfather) and in part because of his skill. He would be promoted to be an assistant director of SHIELD shortly after Howard Stark's death, serving first under Carter and then later under Wolfgang von Strucker. At some point in the next few years, Fury lost left eye under as of yet unknown circumstances.
In 1999, Fury was overseeing the operation to bring down known criminal mastermind Taskmaster, as well as his assassin/spy the Black Widow. To this end, Fury recruited Army Rangers Clint Barton and Barbara Morse to serve within SHIELD. Upon completing their training, the two were assigned to escort a team of weapons experts to a cache of biological weapons in the old Soviet Union. Widow attempted to steal the weapons, and in the process she was captured by Barton (while Morse was captured by Taskmaster). Fury eventually handled the interrogation of Natasha Romanoff personally, explaining to her that it was likely that Taskmaster had set her up. At the same time Romanoff seemed to clue in Fury to the fact that Strucker was working with Taskmaster. Upon further investigation by Fury and Barton (as well as rescuing Morse from Taskmaster), this was confirmed and Fury helped chase Strucker out of SHIELD. He was then named the new director of SHIELD by the World Security Council, and granted amnesty to the Black Widow in exchange for her service to the cause.
Over the next several years, Fury would operate SHIELD in the shadows of world politics and the war on terror, keeping a close eye on situations ranging from the death of Richard and Mary Parker, to the experiments of Bruce Banner, to the dealings of Tony Stark. He also made contact with the race of Inhumans in the city of Attilan on the Moon, establishing unofficial diplomatic relations with them. Fury would not engage the world properly again until Stark's sudden pronouncement of him being Iron Man, preferring to work through his top deputy, Phil Coulson. When Stark made this declaration though, Fury spoke to him directly, telling him about the Avengers Initiative.
Fury would continue to monitor situations throughout the world. He dispatched Natasha Romanoff to Calcutta to keep an eye on Bruce Banner, ensuring he would be kept off of Thunderbolt Ross' radar. He sent Phil Coulson to New Mexico when an unidentified object appeared in the deserts near Tucumcari. He also supervised and authorized the retrieval of Steve Rogers from the Arctic ice of Greenland. Most importantly, perhaps, he helped Tony Stark by giving him information his father had left behind, allowing Stark to come up with a cure for his palladium poisoning. However, Fury was also asked to engage in something referred to as "Phase 2", namely employing Dr. Erik Selvig to study the Tesseract that SHIELD had retrieved years ago and find a way to reverse engineer the HYDRA weaponry from World War II. Fury reluctantly went along with his orders, placing SHIELD agents Clint Barton and Maria Hill in the Dark Energy Research Facility to monitor Selvig's work. Things went south, though, when the escaped Taskmaster reappeared and used the Tesseract to bring Loki to Earth. After the battle at the facility ended in defeat, Fury ordered the Avengers Initiative put into motion, bringing together Banner, Stark, Romanoff, Barton and Rogers into a single team (later joined by Thor). After capturing Loki in Germany, Fury takes the demigod back to the SHIELD Helicarrier and has the team continue searching for the Tesseract. However, the reasons behind SHIELD's interest in the cube is exposed, leading to a volatile argument just before Taskmaster and a group of super villains attack, freeing Loki and nearly crashing the Helicarrier. Fury successfully handled the crisis, killing the villain Whiplash in the process, but simultaneously losing Loki and SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson (temporarily.)
Fury motivated the remaining Avengers to New York to begin fighting the Chitauri invasion, but couldn't provide a convincing argument to the World Security Council to not shoot a nuclear warhead towards the battle. Thankfully, Iron Man was able to steer the nuke through the portal created by the Tesseract, averting disaster. Fury then allowed the Avengers to temporarily disband, feeling they "earned the break." Following the incident involving AIM, though, Fury was part of a group of individuals brought together by Dr. Strange to deal with the problem of the Hulk, bringing Inhuman King Black Bolt to the group as well. Fury would also introduce the world at large to the Inhumans following their battles with the Puppet Master and the Fantastic Four.
In 2014, as Project Insight was getting underway under the guidance of Fury's mentor Alexander Pierce, the director began to take notice of certain datapoints that didn't add up. He secretly dispatched Natasha Romanoff to tag along with Captain America to find out why Jasper Sitwell was on the cargo ship the Lumerian Star, a mission that was ultimately only partially successful given Brock Rumlow's killing of the mercenary Batroc. Fury explained Project Insight to Steve Rogers, arguing about its merits. He seemingly convinced Pierce to hold off on the launch of the new Helicarriers while the data was decrypted, but Fury was then attacked by assassins led by the Winter Soldier en route to a safe house. Fury was seriously wounded and went underground, finding himself in Steve Rogers apartment. After handing over the data to Captain America, Fury was supposedly mortally wounded by a sniper's bullet. He was taken to a local medical facility, where he was pronounced dead. In reality, however, he was taken to a secure location by SHIELD agent Maria Hill and the retired Barbara Morse-Barton. After the two also rescue Romanoff and Rogers (along with Sam Wilson) Fury reveals his duplicity, also admitting to Rogers that he knew of the Winter Soldier's identity. Fury orchestrates the destruction of the Helicarriers before they are able to reach lethal altitude, and through Jasper Sitwell is able to flush out the remnants of HYDRA within SHIELD, as well as find the body of the real Alexander Pierce, who had been replaced by a Life Model Decoy some time earlier.
Fury enlisted the help of the Avengers in trying to defeat the remnants of HYDRA, helping them find the Red Skull and former SHIELD director Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in the process. However, when Ultron stole the Red Skull's staff and began trying to unlock nuclear codes among other malfeasance, Fury felt he had no other choice but to enlist the help of the Red Skull and the remnants of HYDRA to try and take out the rogue AI. Fury never trusted Red Skull, however, and was ready for him when the HYDRA leader attempted to hijack the Helicarrier during the Battle of Sokovia, using War Machine, Wonder Man and Falcon (as well as a transformed Bruce Banner) to take out the HYDRA leader, although he ultimately escaped. These actions, no matter that they helped win the day, would also be his undoing at SHIELD, as the World Security Council summarily replaced him with former General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross.
Fury became a freelance consultant. He was visually upset at the forced use of the final option on the Hulk situation, consuling Tony Stark when the decision was made. He, however, also supported Captain America and his faction during the Avengers Civil War, directly recruiting Scott Lang to their side. Ultimately Fury would decline returning as SHIELD's director after Ross was ousted following the Mandarin incident, instead deferring to Stark. He then aided the director in confronting the returning Hulk and the Warbound Clan, freeing the Fantastic Four and Black Bolt from the Hulk's ship before watching the final confrontation with the Sakaaran lord and Earth's Heroes. He retains his official title as a freelance consultant to this day.
Powers & Abilities
- Expert Marksman: Nick Fury was an especially skilled marksman, given his handicap of only one working eye. He has been seen to especially be proficient with small arms fire, though it is presumed this extends to long range weaponry as well.
- Basic Combat Training: Fury has above-average combat skills for a man of his age and strength.
- High Level Intelligence: Being the former director of SHIELD, Fury had access to top level military intelligence and was able to successfully act on that intelligence more often than not. Presumably he still maintains some level of security clearance.
His greatest physical weakness was his disabled left eye, which was injured in an unknown incident that took place sometime before 1999, when he was named director of SHIELD. Philosophically, Fury was very paranoid and difficult to deal out trust. He believed in keeping secrets out of habit, following a trait he learned from his grandfather.
Nick Fury appears in the following films in the Earth-11584 continuity. In all cases, he is played by actor Samuel L. Jackson.
- Iron Man (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Black Widow (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- The Fantastic Four (2014)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- The Incredible Hulk 2 (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Iron Man 4 (2016)
- World War Hulk (2017)