Captain Marvel Begs The Question: How Old Is Nick Fury, Actually?

Photo: courtesy of Marvel Pictures.
Warning: Spoilers from Captain Marvel are ahead. As Marvel nears the end of the MCU’s Phase 3 of films with Avengers: Endgame, there are so many questions still left to answer. How will the remaining Avengers restore balance to the universe? How will they defeat the all-powerful, Infinity Stone-wielding Thanos? How much of a part is Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel going to play in the final battle? If and when they do fix the universe-shaking snap, which heroes will be left standing? Will some of the original Avengers die, and if so, who will take over their mantles to honor their legacy and continue to keep the world safe? These are all valid and extremely important questions, and ones that will be answered definitively in Avengers: Endgame. But there’s one question that’s been plaguing Marvel fans for decades, and it’s one that might never be answered: How old is Nick Fury?
So, We Really Don't Know Fury's Age?
Nope. Samuel L. Jackson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has been the common thread holding all the Avengers together over the past decade. Fury is the one who created the Avenger Initiative in the first place (inspired by Captain Marvel!). He spent 25 years finding and recruiting heroes to be Earth’s defenders against cosmic threats after discovering that the universe holds more threats than he could have ever imagined. He’s fought in wars, been a spy, made friends and even more enemies in his long and storied career. But we’ve never actually learned how old Nick Fury is.
There's Not Even A Single Clue?
The MCU has long kept his age a secret, even going so far as partially obscuring his gravestone in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to hide his birth year. The only numbers visible were the one and nine in the year nineteen-whoknows.
So he's definitely a guy born in the 20th century, but that hardly narrows it down.
What Do We Learn About Nick Fury In Captain Marvel?
Captain Marvel finally adds a little more color to the picture of Fury’s past, as a younger and more naive Fury becomes BFFs with Carol Danvers. He’s not as cynical or serious as we’ve seen Fury in other MCU films, and it’s clear that learning about alien threats not only changed his career moving forward, but it also took a toll on his personality. But in the ‘90s-set Captain Marvel, he revealed some details about his past in an attempt to not only bond with Carol but also prove to her that he wasn’t a shapeshifting Skrull impersonating a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. We don't get his age, but we do learn that his full name is Nicholas Joseph Fury; he’s totally a cat person (as evidenced by his love of Goose); his first pet’s name was Mr. Snoofers; he was born in Huntsville, Alabama; and his own mother calls him Fury (as does everyone else).
Does The Movie Betray Any Dates In Fury's Past?
But as for his age, Fury never gives specific dates or years when regaling Carol with his resume. He vaguely mentions fighting in a war before becoming a spy in the Cold War — which technically spans 1947-1991, so that doesn’t really help narrow it down. But he does reveal that he’s spent six years at S.H.I.E.L.D. before meeting Captain Marvel in 1995, which means he began his tenure at S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1989.
OK, But There Has To Be Something In The Comics, Right?
Looking to the comics only further confuses our investigation into Fury’s age, because he’s been around for quite a long time. He fought with the Howling Commandos in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam War. WWII was fought from 1939-1945, and Fury would have had to have been at least 17-years-old (with parental consent, otherwise 18-years-old voluntarily) to enlist. That puts his birthday around the late 1910s or early 1920s, making him around 70-80 in Captain Marvel, which would be impressive but is definitely not the case for the onscreen character. But the secret in the comics is that Nick Fury is essentially immortal thanks to the Infinity Formula which saved his life after he was severely injured by a mine during the war. His aging has been slowed almost to the point of stopping altogether, which explains his youthful appearance.
So What Do We Know About His Origins?
And while his eyepatch is explained away in the comics as covering 95 percent vision loss in one eye due to shrapnel from a grenade blast during WWII, the MCU gave him a much more exciting (and hilarious) origin story for his eyepatch in Captain Marvel. After one fake-out scene in the beginning of the movie in which a car crash injured his eye, he was totally fine! He just sported a cut above that eye for the rest of movie as fans anxiously awaited the fateful moment where he actually lost an eye. That didn’t come until the very end of the movie when Goose, the dangerous alien Flerken that looks like a normal cat, scratched Fury's eye on the flight back to Earth from Mar-Vell’s space lab.
Fury brushed it off, thinking that it was just a regular scratch, but the Skrull leader Talos knew better along with the entire MCU fandom – the scratches will never heal. But Fury never let anyone on Earth know the truth about what happened to his eye; he just helped fuel rumors that he lost his eye in a big battle with the Kree and Skrulls, and neither confirms nor denies the truth. And instead of choosing a fake eyeball, he decided to wear an eyepatch. It was the right call, if we do say so ourselves.
So while we may never know Fury’s actual age in the MCU, at least we can finally rest easy knowing that his eyepatch is pretty much just the result of an angry cat. The payoff was definitely worth the decade of waiting.

More from Movies

R29 Original Series