WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel, in theaters now.
How Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury lost his eye has long been a subject of speculation among fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. has kept much of his past a mystery, so much so that we know virtually nothing about the architect of the Avengers Initiative. But Captain Marvel pulls the curtain back on this central figure, by taking us back to the 1990s, and to a Fury who's still earning his stripes as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
On top of finding out how Fury first came into contact with aliens and superhumans, we also finally learn how he lost the use of his left eye. Was it in an epic battle, or the result of a betrayal?
We've known for some time that Goose, inspired by Carol Danvers' cat Chewie from the comics, would play an important role in the film. And, just as in the source material, it's revealed he's not a furry feline, but instead a Flerken, an alien creature that possesses tentacles, not to mention pocket dimensions within its body. Still, Goose is one of the good guys, and he proves invaluable in the final confrontation against the alien Kree.
Along the way, Fury develops a bond with Goose, and the two become unlikely partners in the fight against the Kree. But Goose is still a
cat Flerken, and he can be temperamental. Once the fight is over, Fury gets too close to Goose and, in a humorous moment, the cat scratches his eye out, finally explaining the three scars around the eye of the super-spy.
While this may not be the answer some fans expected, it ties back to to Fury's line in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when he says the last time he trusted someone, he lost an eye: Moments before Goose attacks in Captain Marvel, Fury grabs hold of the cat, and says he is putting trust in him.
The great thing is that Fury isn't even mad about it, and doesn't hold the attack against Goose. But he does see it as an opportunity to build his legend. During an exchange at the end of the film, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) asks if it's true that he lost his eye during an interrogation with a Kree. Fury, of course, coyly answers that he can neither confirm nor deny anything.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as the commander of Starforce, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, McKenna Grace as a young Carol Danvers and Annette Bening as Mar-Vell/the Supreme Intelligence.