Update: It's now been confirmed — Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury will be playing a major role in 2019's Captain Marvel. The rumors have been building since February, when Jackson dropped a hint while doing a press tour for Kong: Skull Island. Now, Deadline has revealed that he will indeed be "making an appearance" in the movie.
Here's the interesting thing, though; that comes hot on the heels of another announcement by Omega Underground. They tweeted that Jackson is likely to play a major role!
Nick Fury has been missing in the MCU ever since 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, and there have been strong rumors that he'll play a role in next year's Avengers: Infinity War. We can assume the next Avengers film will bring Nick Fury back into action in a big way.
How Could Nick Fury Fit Into Captain Marvel's Origin Story?
Infinity War will completely change the #MCU's status quo. So far, set photos have indicated an alien invasion on a scale that would put Independence Day to shame, led by Thanos's Black Order. Most fans are expecting the film to end with a number of Earth's heroes heading off-world in pursuit of the Mad Titan, leaving Earth relatively undefended.
It's a good time for Nick Fury to return, and in the comics, Carol Danvers was introduced as a military figure long before she ever got super-powers. If Fury is set to co-star in Captain Marvel, we envision Fury and Carol Danvers standing in the world's defence; it's possible that they'll be tied to S.W.O.R.D., an organization in the comics dedicated to defending Earth from alien threats.
Nick Fury has been an important secondary character in the MCU to date, but if Omega Underground is correct, Captain Marvel will see him step up. Amusingly enough, it's an approach Jon Watts originally planned to use for Spider-Man: Homecoming, but from a narrative point of view, it made more sense to use Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark than Fury.
There's a sense in which this arc would bring Nick Fury's character full circle. Fury launched the MCU when he stepped into Tony Stark's life and introduced him to a "bigger universe" of heroes and villains. The Avengers Initiative was Fury's idea; a chance to unite Earth's Mightiest Heroes as a defence against threats no one hero could defeat. Infinity War will see the Avengers playing that role on a scale we've never seen before, and then we're expecting the core Avengers to head off into space. They'll leave only a few isolated defenders behind — characters like Ant-Man (whose own solo film in set between Infinity War and Avengers 4) and Carol Danvers.
With the Earth relatively undefended, it makes sense that Fury would step up. And what a way to do so; by presumably acting as a mentor or commanding officer to Captain Marvel, who #KevinFeige has described as the MCU's most powerful hero of all.
So now we know; the rumors are true, and Nick Fury will indeed play a role in Captain Marvel. From a narrative perspective, it makes perfect sense; what's more, it suggests that Brie Larson's Captain Marvel is moving to the forefront of the MCU. After all, Fury has only ever shown interest in the characters who proved to have real potential — and with a "changing of the guard" after Avengers: Infinity War, now is the perfect time for Captain Marvel to step up.