Why Nick Fury Doesn't Wear His Signature Eyepatch In Marvel's Secret Invasion

15 years after recruiting Tony Stark for the Avengers Initiative in the post-credits scene for "Iron Man," Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is finally getting the spotlight to himself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's long overdue for the beloved character, who's been constantly stuck playing second fiddle to Earth's Mightiest Heroes and other major do-gooders in the franchise, most notably Steve Rogers and Carol Danvers. Admittedly, the latter's 2019 solo film, "Captain Marvel," featured Fury as a co-lead opposite Brie Larson as the titular cosmic superhero. Still, for as much as that 1990s-set buddy sci-fi action-comedy throwback plays like a backdoor Nick Fury origin story, its general vibe doesn't really befit the morally grey and ethically flexible older iteration of SLJ's super-spy/agent.

The Fury-led "Secret Invasion" series, on the other hand, may yet fulfill the promise of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" by tapping deeper into the cynical, disillusioned mindset of '70s paranoia thrillers in the vein of "The Conversation" and "Three Days of the Condor." Loosely adapted from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Leinil Francis Yu's 2008 Marvel comic book storyline, the show will pick up with Fury in the aftermath of "Avengers: Endgame," at a point when the grizzled soldier is understandably struggling to process everything that went down in that film. 

"Even Nick Fury can be shaken, you know?" said Jackson, speaking with Vanity Fair as part of the publication's first-look exclusive for the show.

'It's part of his vulnerability now.'

The last time we saw him in "Spider-Man: Far From Home," the real Nick Fury was chilling on a Skrull spaceship while his Skrull buddy Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) pretended to be him back on Earth. "He's up there trying to process what the f**k happened, you know? And what his place in the world is. The death of Iron Man, the death of Black Widow, with that stuff going on he just kind of checked out," Samuel L. Jackson explained.

Fury's vulnerable state of mind is further reflected in his appearance, as "Secret Invasion" finds the character operating without his trademark eyepatch. It's not that the vision in his damaged eye has been restored, either. Where "Captain Marvel" turned his blinded orb into something of a joke that poked fun at Fury's sense of pride (revealing that, contrary to rumors that he lost his eye doing something really macho, the truth is he simply annoyed an irritable Flerken disguised as an adorable orange cat), "Secret Invasion" repurposes it as a symbol of his emotional trauma and uncertainty post-"Endgame." Here's how Jackson put it:

"He just doesn't wear the patch. The patch is part of who the strong Nick Fury was. It's part of his vulnerability now. You can look at it and see he's not this perfectly indestructible person. He doesn't feel like that guy."

Between digging deeper into Fury as a character (including his shadier dealings in the past) and a global conspiracy plotline that involves shape-shifting Skrulls attempting to quietly secure high-ranking positions of power around the world, "Secret Invasion" has the potential to be one of the more compelling MCU entries this side of "Endgame." We'll see how everything shakes out when the show premieres June 21, 2023, on Disney+.