WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters now.
Most Marvel Cinematic Universe films feature at least one post-credits sequence. Many of them even feature two. Although Avengers: Endgame broke with that tradition, Spider-Man: Far From Home resumes it with two absolutely game-changing stingers.
While the mid-credits sequence may make the bigger immediate splash, the second will no doubt have a greater impact on the MCU as it begins its next phase. The post-credits scene reveals Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who is central to the events of Far From Home, has actually been off-planet the entire time.
The characters everyone believed to be Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury throughout Far From Home are, in reality, imposters: the shape-shifting Skrulls Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and his wife Soren (Sharon Blynn), introduced in Captain Marvel. The alliance they began in the 1990s with Carol Danvers and Fury continues into the present.
Contacting Fury, Talos recaps the events of the film, sounding like an employee attempting not to reveal too much about his slipshod work. Appearing to be relaxing on a beach, Fury shuts off the phone and stands up, which terminates the relaxation hologram. He's then revealed to be aboard a massive space station; spaceships fly by, and a number of aliens (including Skrulls) walk the halls. Some of them appear to be wearing the same uniform, suggesting they're members of a single organization. That may very well be a version of S.W.O.R.D., which in the comics is a S.H.I.E.L.D. counterpart devoted to cosmic threats.
Where Is Fury?
The space station certainly evokes the Peak, the orbital headquarters of the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, or S.W.O.R.D. Introduced in Marvel's Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, the organization is the planet's first, and last line, of defense against intergalactic threats. The agency was initially commanded by Abigail Brand, Fury's half-human/half-alien counterpart.
The Peak has become more prevalent in recent years, and served as a base of operations for the new incarnation of Alpha Flight, which answered directly to Captain Marvel. The appearance of the space station, even if it's not necessarily the Peak, suggests Fury & Co. are turning their eyes toward the cosmos.
A Not-So-Secret Invasion?
When Marvel Studios announced the Skrulls, classic comic book villains, were to be introduced in Captain Marvel, many fans (understandably) assumed the MCU was poised for its own Secret Invasion. In that 2008 crossover, it was revealed the alien shapeshifters had staged a long-term infiltration of Earth, during which they replaced many of the planet's superheroes with imposters.
However, the revelation in Captain Marvel that the Skrulls weren't the antagonists, but instead the victims of a genocidal crusade by the Kree, seemingly dashed any hopes for a Phase Four "Secret Invasion." Still, it's impossible to ignore the overtones in the Far From Home post-credits scene, even if Talos and Soren are actually working with Fury. It also raises the question of who else in the MCU might be a Skrull in disguise.
How Long Has Talos Been Filling in For Fury?
The biggest question about the scene isn't about S.W.O.R.D. or the Peak, but instead how long Talos and Soren have been impersonating Fury and Hill. We might infer from the beach hologram that Fury is merely enjoying an off-world vacation, but that doesn't sound like him. So, we're left to reexamine recent events in the MCU.
Was it Fury and Hill, or Talos and Soren, who turned to dust in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Endgame? Considering Fury has been aware of the Skrulls since the mid-1990s, have there been other times, between 2008's Iron Man and Far From Home, that the S.H.I.E.L.D. director has been a doppelganger. And why?
If we dismiss the notion that Fury is merely taking a break, in space, then we have to ask why he's left a post-Blip Earth, now without Iron Man and Black Widow, and with Captain Marvel and Thor apparently occupied elsewhere. It may suggest he's making preparations for a greater, cosmic menace.
Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film is in theaters now.