Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury

Captain America: Civil War may not technically have been an Avengers movie, but it did bring together nearly every hero in the Marvel universe to date, with few exceptions. Thor and Hulk being gone makes sense, considering the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron — and besides, we know the really reason they sat this one out was so they could go on a buddy road trip next year. But what about Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury, the man who originally brought all these superpowered beings together? Where was he in all of this?

In a recent interview, Captain America: Civil War screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus addressed Fury’s absence, and revealed whether the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. might return for the next big Marvel team-up, the two-part Avengers: Infinity War

Markus explained to LAT Hero Complex why Fury wasn’t in Civil War:

We called him, but he let the line blink. Primarily it felt like one too many possible opinions. We didn’t want him to take one side or the other, because that’s not his place in the universe. And then we didn’t want another, “Is he still with the government? Is he opposed to the government but supporting the government?” It got to be the potential for a lot more polemic discussion that the movie did not have room for.

He’s the guy who put it together. He’s been the sort of parent figure to the Avengers. Let the parent go away, and see if the kids can handle this. See if the kids can be who they’re supposed to be without that governing voice. Um… and they didn’t do that good of a job.

Speaking from a practical, real-world standpoint, that makes sense. Civil War already has enough going on without Fury’s complicated relationship with the government coming into play, and his being gone let the individual Avengers come to their own conclusions without an authority figure to guide or protect them. And while Nick Fury was the connective tissue linking the various Marvel superheroes early on, the universe has become interconnected enough that they don’t really need him to bind everyone together anymore.

Within the context of the MCU, though, it still seems odd that Fury, who’s been pulling the strings for years, wouldn’t want to weigh in on an issue that has the potential to destroy the team he so painstakingly created. That being said, I can’t say I really missed him (did you?) so it’s hard to complain too much.

In any case, although Fury opted not to get involved with the Civil War, he might find himself back in the muck for the Infinity War. Asked if the character would appear in the next two Avengers movies, the screenwriters all but confirmed we would.

McFeely: I would think.

Markus: It’s probably all hands on deck.

McFeely: Don’t you assume you’ll see everybody in the “Infinity Wars?”

Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now, and Avengers: Infinity War opens in two parts on May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019 (although the filmmakers would really like for us to stop thinking of it as a two-part movie).

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