It’s been five years since long-term Marvel villains, the Skrull, first jumped to the big screen. There are a few key differences between the Skrull of the comics and those in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, namely that they’re not really villains at all, but displaced (and distrusted) refugees searching for a new planet to call home. Their introduction in Captain Marvel also helped evolve one key character: Nick Fury.
Fury is one of the Skrulls’ closest allies. It was Fury who vowed to help them find a new home, and that promise has become a big part of his role. The MCU projects that followed worked hard to fill in 30 years of context: since Captain Marvel took place in the early ‘90s, Fury’s MO shifted drastically after forming the Avengers.
Films like Spider-Man: Far From Home saw Fury take up his task in earnest and search for a planet for the Skrull to colonize. While Fury was in space, Skrull general Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) assumed his identity on Earth. This apparently only happened on one occasion that we know of — Far From Home claims that Fury had only been off-world for a year — but one viral theory suggests that Fury has been in space for much longer than we thought.
The introduction of Skrull to the MCU now means that anyone, at any time, could be an alien in disguise. This was a key aspect of Captain Marvel, and one of the initial hurdles in Nick Fury’s partnership with its hero, Carol Danvers. Before they teamed up to uncover their own Skrull conspiracy, Danvers asks Fury to prove his identity. Fury responds with a detail “so bizarre not even a Skrull could fabricate it.” Fury, apparently, is very particular about his toast: if it’s cut in diagonal slices, he won’t eat it. Maybe the Captain Marvel writers used this little tidbit as a throwaway joke, but it’s actually a direct contradiction to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In Ultron, Fury makes himself a sandwich while meeting Tony Stark. Nothing seems out of the ordinary until he cuts the bread and picks it up to reveal… a diagonal slice! If we’re going by Captain Marvel’s logic, this means Ultron’s Fury wasn’t the real deal. Was Talos filling in for him during the Avengers’ big conflict, or did the MCU forget that little tidbit? Age of Ultron was released four years before Captain Marvel, so maybe this moment didn’t register on anyone’s radar. But if it was a conscious choice, then it forces us to wonder how long Fury was actually off-world with the Skrulls.
Marvel’s latest series, Secret Invasion, sees Fury return to Earth to stop a violent Skrull faction from conquering the planet. The Skrull are frustrated by Fury’s inaction, though it seems like Fury really did try his best to find them a new home. Given his closeness with Talos and his fractured relationship with Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), the Skrull’s new leader, it seems like he was working with them for much longer than other MCU projects have suggested. Hopefully, the new series will help fill in the blanks that Captain Marvel and Age of Ultron left behind, but if not then we can probably assume that Fury got over his aversion to triangular bread.