In terms of both longevity and the sheer volume of appearances, nobody’s going to deny that Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s definitive supporting player. In fact, along with Jon Favreau and Paul Bettany he’s the only actor to have appeared in the franchise’s opening movie that’s still an active part of the roster, even if the latter’s first four appearances were all voice-only as JARVIS.
Today’s episode of Marvel’s What If…? signals Jackson’s debut in the Disney Plus animated series, re-telling the events of Iron Man 2, Thor and The Incredible Hulk from an entirely different and shocking perspective, in what marks his twelfth different MCU project, putting him miles ahead of the competition.
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As well as brief cameos in Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, Fury played larger supporting roles in Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home, and while it isn’t strictly regarded as canon anymore, he also showed up in two Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes, so in total What If…? is his thirteenth time donning the eye patch.
If that still wasn’t enough, Jackson is currently shooting The Marvels in the United Kingdom before jumping straight into streaming exclusive Secret Invasion, in what will be the first time he’s ever taken top billing in the MCU. Clearly, the Academy Award nominated star has no intention of ending his lengthy and fruitful partnership with Marvel Studios, and it all started with a shocking post-credits cameo in Iron Man that took audiences completely by surprise.