Summary

  • Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury is crucial to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Both Secret Invasion and The Marvels have been disappointing projects for Jackson in 2023.
  • Despite these setbacks, Jackson’s iconic character, Nick Fury, is likely to make a comeback in future Marvel films.


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One iconic Marvel actor who has been key in establishing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has now been involved in two of the franchise’s biggest failures. Samuel L. Jackson was first introduced to the MCU in Iron Man as Nick Fury, the director of SHIELD and founder of the Avengers. Considering that he was responsible for the franchise’s main hero group coming together, it’s safe to say that the MCU wouldn’t be what it is without Jackson’s portrayal of Fury. He has made plenty of MCU appearances since then, but the MCU’s 2023 projects were some of Jackson’s biggest yet.

Jackson was first involved in Secret Invasion, a Disney+ series that would be Fury’s first-ever solo project after over a decade in the MCU. He then played a supporting role in The Marvels, the sequel to Captain Marvel. Despite appearing in two Marvel projects this year, with one even specifically dedicated to him, Jackson’s 2023 MCU legacy unfortunately does not have a great track record. Though to no fault of Jackson’s own, Secret Invasion and The Marvels have been two of the MCU’s biggest failures so far.

Related: Every Upcoming Marvel Movie: Full MCU Phase 5 & 6 List (& Beyond)


The Marvels Is The MCU’s Biggest Box Office Bomb

Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury in The Marvels

The Marvels

Release Date
November 10, 2023

Cast
Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Park Seo-joon, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Samuel L. Jackson

Genres
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Superhero

2019’s Captain Marvel crossed the one billion mark at the box office, which set the expectations unrealistically high for its sequel. With a reported production budget of $270 million, The Marvels has the fourth-highest budget for an MCU film and the most expensive budget for a non-Avengers film. With such a high budget, it made the chances of the film turning a profit very bleak from the get-go. The Marvels would have to make at least $450 million at the box office to be considered a success, and its numbers have tracked nowhere near those figures.

The Marvels broke the record for the MCU’s lowest opening weekend since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, making only $110 million worldwide with $47 million domestically. The film’s second weekend in theaters was no better, in fact boasting the worst second-weekend drop for any comic book film. Only earning $10.2 million at the domestic box office, the numbers are a 79% drop from its opening weekend. Though the film itself actually received some neutral reviews and a decent audience score, The Marvels was ultimately the victim of unfortunate timing with the SAG-AFTRA strike and some audience bias.

Secret Invasion Was A Critical Low Point For The MCU

Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury in Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion

Release Date
June 21, 2023

Cast
Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Emilia Clarke, Cobie Smulders, Olivia Colman, Christopher McDonald, Carmen Ejogo, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Martin Freeman, Don Cheadle

Seasons
1

Before The Marvels, Jackson was involved with another MCU project earlier in the year. When Secret Invasion was first announced as a Fury solo project, there was plenty of anticipation as to where the franchise would take the character. The character has been an MCU staple since Phase 1, but he has never really been in the spotlight. Unfortunately, Secret Invasion failed to satisfy most viewers, which is reflected in its low Rotten Tomatoes score.

The biggest criticism of Secret Invasion seems to be its extremely slow pace. With a lack of exciting action sequences and the mismanagement of new characters, it made the supposed slow burn too much for some viewers to bear. Considering that nothing truly feels resolved by Secret Invasion’s finale, it makes the series feel almost pointless. There are plenty of unsatisfactory plot points, too, such as the death of Maria Hill in episode one and the introduction of an overpowered Super Skrull. Though most reviews don’t have a problem with Jackson’s actual performance, he could only do so much with the material he was given.

What’s Next For Nick Fury In The MCU?

Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury for Secret Invasion

It’s unknown exactly where Fury is after the events of The Marvels. Considering that SABER had to be evacuated and Kamala Khan has taken up the task of assembling the Young Avengers on her own, Fury’s future in the MCU is up in the air. However, he is too iconic of a character for the franchise to just forget about. Earth’s war on the Skrulls has just begun, and Fury should definitely be back to deal with the issue, or he could focus on trying to locate where Monica Rambeau is. He could also appear in the two upcoming Avengers films.

Samuel L. Jackson’s legacy as Nick Fury in the MCU is indisputable, but his 2023 track record has unfortunately been marred by two of Marvel Studios’ biggest failures. Between the disappointing box office of The Marvels and the critically negative reviews of Secret Invasion, both of Jackson’s MCU appearances this year have been overshadowed by no real fault of his own. Though Fury’s whereabouts are currently unknown there are still plenty of opportunities for Jackson to return in the future Marvel Cinematic Universe and put this year behind him.

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