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This Is How Nick Fury Lost His Eye

There are a few things that Nick Fury, as portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, is known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is/was the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he was instrumental in the founding of the Avengers, and he rocks an eyepatch like no other. But the story of how Nick Fury lost his eye isn't nearly the badass tale you might expect. In fact, to be honest, it's a little embarrassing for a super spy who is capable of intimidating the likes of Spider-Man and other heroes. 

For the bulk of Fury's history in the MCU, which began in 2008, the source of his famous eye injury remained a mystery. It wasn't until 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier that we got our first major hint about the injury's origin. During a scene in the movie, Fury gets into an argument with Captain America (Chris Evans). Cap is upset that Fury didn't brief him on the full details of his mission, making the point that he needs to trust the people with whom he's working. Fury counters Cap's argument by forcefully stating, "Last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye." It's an intense scene, and it sure makes it seem as if Fury lost his eye in some sort of mission gone wrong. Did a fellow agent turn on him during an assignment, resulting in Fury's gruesome injury and serious trust issues?

Not exactly. 

The cause of Fury's missing eye was finally revealed in 2019's Captain Marvel, and it showed that the S.H.I.E.L.D. director was being more than a little overly dramatic with the description of the event he gave in Winter Soldier

Jackson appears as Fury in both Captain Marvel and 2008's Iron Man, the first film in the entire MCU. But even though Captain Marvel hit theaters 11 years after Iron Man, its story takes place several years before the events of that film. As a result, Captain Marvel famously used digital de-aging techniques to make Jackson appear decades younger, showing fans what Fury looked like in the 1990s. As it turns out, the younger Fury had more hair, fewer wrinkles, and a whopping two eyes. By the end of the film, though, the number of eyes in Fury's head is reduced by half. Here's how it happened.

In the film, Fury and Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), end up with a new furry friend named Goose. The "cat" previously belonged to Danvers' now-deceased friend and colleague, Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening). Lawson was, in actuality, a Kree alien scientist named Mar-Vell, so naturally, she had a pet that was not of this planet. Although Goose looks like a common house cat, she's actually an alien creature known as a Flerken. Flerkens are considered extremely dangerous and have the ability to shoot large tentacles from their mouths. They use these tentacles to grab and swallow objects, which they can then store in the pocket dimensions inside their stomachs. 

As you may have guessed by now, it was Goose who caused Nick Fury to lose his eye, but it wasn't because of any Flerken shenanigans. Goose simply got annoyed with Fury and scratched his left eye like any mean ol' cat would, causing an infection that, by the film's end, had cost Fury his eye.

To keep up appearances and maintain his superior level of intimidation, Fury didn't admit that he lost his eye due to a highly unusual case of cat scratch fever. Instead, the espionage expert told colleagues that he lost it during a battle with the Kree — which, let's face it, is a far more appropriate story for a character of Fury's calibre. 

Had Fury actually lost his eye in a battle, his on-screen injury would also be more in line with his comic book counterpart. The original comic book version of the character goes back a long way. He debuted as a U.S. Army sergeant fighting in World War II in the pages of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, which debuted in 1963. The character had both eyes, but just two years later he was reimagined as an eyepatch-wearing international spy and introduced to the modern Marvel Comics Universe of the 1960s as Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. This one-eyed version of the character proved quite popular, so a backstory for how he lost his eye was published in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #27. In the issue, a bit of shrapnel from an exploding Nazi grenade strikes Fury's eye, eventually causing him to lose his sight after he foregoes treatment to continue fighting alongside his men. You could see how a story like that is just a smidgen more impressive than being scratched by a feisty feline — even an alien one.

Regardless of how Nick Fury lost his eye, the experience doesn't seem to have affected him all that much. He's just as gruff and intimidating with one eye as he was with two. Though, if we're being honest, the eyepatch does up Fury's cool factor just a bit — so long as you don't think about why he has to wear it.