There's a lot of speculation and theories about how Nick Fury lost his eye in the MCU (Marvel Comic Universe) based off of just the bare minimum knowledge that we have right now.
Maybe there's a big final battle scene at the end of Captain Marvel that causes lots of damage. Maybe they fight each other, and that's why she isn't around in the MCU right now. But in the Marvel comics, Carol Danvers has nothing to do with how Nick Fury lost his eyeball and neither do the Skrulls.
Nick Fury debuted in SGT. FURY and His Howling Commandos #1 from 1963. We couldn't figure out how he lost his eye until about 13 years later in Marvel Spotlight number 31 from 1976. Nick Fury was a sergeant in World War II, and he was eluding Nazi patrol when he stumbled into a French landmine field. Unfortunately, one of the mines exploded, severely injuring Nick Fury. Including irreparable damage to his eye. He was taken in by a Doctor Sternberg, who patched him up as best as he could. But he also saw Fury as a really good test subject for something called the Infinity Formula.
An immortality drug
This is how Nick Fury was able to survive in the Marvel comic book universe from World War II onward without ageing like crazy. Although the caveat with the Infinity Formula is that you would have to take it every so often, or you would rapidly age overnight. It's a little bit of different story over for ultimate Nick Fury. The one that actually looks like Samuel L. Jackson. This version of Nick Fury also fought during World War II and was a test subject of Project Rebirth. He was injected with a serum that gave him superstrength, slowed his ageing, all that good stuff. And it also allowed him to escape. He was later a part of SHIELD and assigned to the Weapon X program. He was transporting Wolverine when they were ambushed, and he lost his eye in the explosion. But Wolverine carried him off to safety.
Neither of these two explanations seems like something that we're gonna get in the MCU. Very likely he's gonna lose his eye due to, not just a random explosion, but a very personal attack. As he explains in Winter Soldier, he lost his eye because he trusted someone that should not have been trusted.
Before The SHIELD
Before we get to that, there is one last comic book. It's a tie-in comic to the MCU, so already we're questioning the canon of these things. But, the comic book features a story about Nick Fury before any Avengers stuff. Before Iron Man, before Hulk, before any of that. We don't have a specific date for when this story takes place, but we do have a vague understanding that it takes place during the final years of the Cold War. So, around the late '80s, early '90s.
It's a pretty standard spy story featuring twists and double-crosses, but what's interesting here is that Nick Fury was simply a CIA agent during this time in history. He was not a SHIELD operative, not yet. And what's also interesting is that in this story, he already has his eye patch. Meaning he lost his eye before SHIELD. So that raises the question could the Nick Fury that we see in the Captain Marvel film be a pre-SHIELD agent Nick Fury? Someone who's just a spy for the CIA perhaps. And his encounter with Captain Marvel and the Skrulls leads him down a path to becoming the director of SHIELD.
So, in Captain America Winter Soldier, Alexander Pierce tells a story of how he and Fury met. Nick Fury was a deputy chief of a SHIELD station in Bogota when rebels attacked an embassy there, taking political hostages, including Pierce's own daughter. Pierce wanted to wait and negotiate with the rebels. But Nick Fury instead performed a covert mission to get all of the hostages out safely. The mission was, thankfully, a success. Nick Fury got all of the hostages out, and Pierce was so grateful that he honoured Nick Fury for his bravery in a photograph. That picture was taken five years after that mission.
We don't have a solid date for it, but we can safely assume it's no later than the early '90s. Thanks to that photograph later on in the film, we can see that Alexander Pierce was at least director of SHIELD until '92. But the exact date
doesn't really matter. All we need to know is that Nick Fury was working for SHIELD, and in that picture, had both of his eyeballs. Unfortunately, this doesn't make sense in the timeline of the MCU.
Nick Fury should not have had an eye patch before he joined SHIELD based off of what we learned in Winter Soldier. But what this means is that in the Captain Marvel movie, we might see a Nick Fury who's still working under Alexander Pierce. And with the added element of the Skrulls being shapeshifting aliens, that could impersonate even your closest allies, that would only lend itself to some amazing foreshadowing.
Captain Marvel versus the Skrulls could have easily been a story told entirely in outer space, outside of Earth. Much like the Guardians movies. But Fury's involvement means that the Skrulls do invade Earth in some capacity. Probably small factions in secret. And the fact that it's never been mentioned in the MCU up until this point means that it's very likely a SHIELD government cover-up. Fury is one of the only people who know that the Skrulls not only exist but came to Earth and very likely impersonated other human beings. Probably, someone, he was very close to, which goes back to this line -
- "Last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye."
Maybe it was a Skrull who impersonated Captain Marvel herself who attacked Fury when he was least expecting it.
Nick Fury is a spy. He's the spy.
He should be used for double-crosses and betrayals. That's kind of a trope of spy life. Whoever scarred his eye would have to be someone so close to him, someone, that he would never expect, that it would cause him to never trust a single human being ever again.
We don't know much about Nick Fury's family, but we do know that at the time he and Alexander Pierce met, his mother was still alive.
-Pierce: "1435 Elmhurst Drive. When I first met Nick, his mother lived at 1437."
And since that potentially takes place around the same timeframe as the Captain Marvel movie.
So the Mama Fury Skrull theory, a shapeshifting alien disguised as a beloved family member attacking him would not only scar him for life physically but potentially emotionally. Forcing him to adopt the mindset of permanent distrust
of everyone around him. That, if you were him and you knew that the Skrulls existed and could take the form of anyone, even those closest to you, then, you'd probably keep everyone at a great distance.