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Captain Marvel Finally Solves Major Iron Man Mystery

Contains major spoilers for Captain Marvel

If only someone had given Nick Fury the same kind of warning Santa Claus gave Ralphie Parker. 

Ever since Samuel L. Jackson, who has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he first portrayed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury in 2008's Iron Man, revealed in January 2018 that Captain Marvel would feature Fury without his signature eyepatch, fans everywhere wondered the same thing: would the newest MCU entry explain how he lost his eye? 

Jackson and the whole Captain Marvel team, including star Brie Larson and co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, kept quiet about that particular element of the film — but now we know the truth. Captain Marvel does indeed see Fury sustaining the injury that ultimately costs him his eye. In doing so, the film answers a mystery that's gone unsolved for 11 years, since the debut of Iron Man and the start of the MCU as we know it today. 

For those wanting to go into Captain Marvel completely blind (that isn't a vision-related pun, here, gang — we're genuinely looking out for you in the spoiler department), turn your attention away now. All others who either don't care about spoilers or have already seen Captain Marvel, come along with us as we break things down for you. 

So, here's what happens with Fury and his infamous eye in Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers' best friend and fellow Air Force pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) boards a ship with Fury after evading the Kree Starforce, who – mega spoiler alert – are actually the bad guys of the film. Unbeknownst to Maria and Fury, Goose, the fuzzy orange cat Fury often cuddled with and cooed at throughout the duration of Captain Marvel, is in tow as well. 

When he realizes the feline had made his way onto the ship, Fury scoops Goose up and thanks him for helping them on their mission to save Earth, protect the shape-shifting Skrulls (who aren't sinister villains but victims in the Kree race's plans to seize as much power over the universe as they can), and retrieve the Tesseract (the energy-core that contains the Space Stone) that the Kree scientist Mar-Vell, also known as Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening), created. 

As Fury delivers baby-talk to Goose, the cat takes a swipe at his face, leaving several scratch marks across Fury's eyebrow and eyelid. Fury and Maria — and the people watching Captain Marvel — assume that the scratch is nothing major, but the injury only gets worse as the film wraps up. 

Sitting at the dinner table with Maria, her daughter Monica (Akira Akbar), Carol, the Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), and his wife at Maria's home in Louisiana, Fury holds an ice pack over his eye, which is visibly swollen and causing his eyelid to droop down and block his vision. By the very end of the movie, we see Fury wearing a metallic-looking cover over the injured eye — now missing entirely. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) steps into Fury's office, hands him a case full of fake eyes, and jokes that he has a big decision to make. He then asks if it's true that the Kree burned Fury's eye out, a rumor Fury neither confirms nor denies, signaling that he's learned to stay cautious of everyone around him after his life-changing adventures with Captain Marvel, the Kree, and the Skrulls. 

The injury Fury suffered in Captain Marvel that left him without one of his eyes is evidence of him trusting someone and it coming back to very literally hurt him — and it connects to the only explicit statement Fury has given about his eye in the MCU thus far. We've wondered what happened to Fury's eye since we first met him in Iron Man, but he's made only one direct mention of it: in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when he tells Captain America (Chris Evans) that he lost his eye after giving away trust too easily. 

"The last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye," Fury says in the film. 

Though the someone Fury trusted is really a something, the mystery is finally solved: Fury trusted Goose to be a friendly companion, thanked him for his role in completing the mission, and eventually needs to wear an eyepatch for the rest of his life because of it. 

But wait, how could a few cat scratches be so harmful that Fury would lose an eye because of them? And why would Fury thank Goose? 

Well, Goose isn't a cat — he's a Flerken, an alien creature who only looks like a cat. And he played a big part in getting Fury and co. to safety. 

In the final battle sequence of Captain Marvel, when the titular hero and the Kree are fighting against one another and Maria and Fury are trying to escape the Kree, Goose opens his mouth and extends several octopus-like arms out to grab the Tesseract and swallow it whole. Where normal cats would have a heart and lungs and a stomach, Goose has a pocket dimension in which he's able to "store entire universes" and "a great many of things" he can access at will. Definitely surprised that Goose isn't an average domesticated kitty with a cute name, Fury believes that Goose wouldn't hurt him, that he's on their side. As we now know, that was a mighty naive assumption to make. 

A cat-like alien probably isn't the untrustworthy entity fans were thinking of when Fury first spoke about losing his eye, but it's now officially canon in the MCU — and just another reason why dogs are superior to cats. (Hey, when was the last time a pup turned an agent into a cyclops in a Marvel movie? Case in point.)