What the Mysterious Nick Fury Post-Credits Scene in 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Means
This post contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, including a discussion of the ending.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is the second "solo" Spider-Man movie co-produced as part of a deal between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios to share the character. Tom Holland has appeared as Peter Parker in five MCU movies, including Far From Home, but this year's most valuable player of the Cinematic Universe might very well be Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. Fury had a co-starring role in Captain Marvel, set in the 1990s, thanks to the power of CGI de-aging. Fury popped up at the end of Avengers: Endgame to attend Tony Stark’s funeral, then he shows up in Far From Home to recruit Peter to join Mysterio's battle against the Elementals.
... except that it wasn't really Nick Fury, as we learn in the second and final post-credits sequence of the movie. Instead, Nick and his partner Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) have been replaced by Talos (Ben Medndelshon) and his wife -- both shape-shifting Skrulls! After reverting to their original forms inside the secrecy of a car with tinted windows, they FaceTime with the real Nick Fury, who is seemingly on vacation. Talos mentions that he doesn’t know how to answer the question everyone always seems to be asking Fake Fury: "Where are the Avengers?"
The scene then transitions to Fury’s side of the conversation, and it looks like he's on a tropical beach enjoying a cocktail... but he's not! The beach and horizon fade away: It was a hologram all along (this movie has a staggering number of hologram reveals and fake identities in the main plot that extend all the way through both credits sequences). We pull back to see that Fury is on a large spaceship and some of the crew members are Skrulls. He tells everyone it's "time to get to work." and we're out of the movie. So many questions! Where is Fury? Where are the Avengers? Why is Talos being trusted as Fake Fury on Earth, and when did Talos get back? What does this final post-credits scene really mean?
If you skipped Captain Marvel or forgot how it ended sometime during the three-hour runtime of Endgame, here's what you need to remember: Talos was the leader of a refugee group of Skrulls that were hiding on a hidden space station orbiting Earth to avoid being killed by another group of aliens, The Kree (some of whom are blue-skinned like Lee Pace, others just look like Annette Bening). Captain Marvel ran off the Kree from Earth and flew back into space with the Skrulls to find a new settlement. That was at the end of the 1990s-set plotline, and we know Carol Danvers shows up in Endgame to answer Fury’s page (from the end of Infinity War). At some point between the two movies, the Skrulls returned to Earth, maybe in that big spaceship.
Historically, the Skrulls have been villains in the Marvel comics, but Captain Marvel positioned them as allies of Nick Fury and Carol Danvers. In the MCU, they're basically good guys. That's why it seems unlikely that we're moving toward the Marvel comic book crossover event "Secret Invasion," where almost half of the Earth's heroes are replaced by Skrulls in secret, though that doesn’t mean Earth is safe from the alien invasion everyone is worried about in Far From Home. Fake Fury does mention "Kree sleeper cells" to Maria Hill as a side-comment in this Spider-Man movie.
Back to one-eyed Nick: Why is Fury on the big ship at the end of Far From Home, and what sort of work is he getting to? That's where the speculation gets more interesting. We know Fury was snapped away -- or dusted in the Blip, depending on which movie's slang we're using -- and was absent for five years. During that time period, Carol Danvers was part of Black Widow's loosely run Avengers, with characters like Rhodey, Rocket Raccoon, and Okoye keeping an eye on different parts of the world. Five years before that, when the Avengers beheaded Thanos, Carol mentions that most worlds aren't lucky enough to have a group of Avengers protecting them. What if, after the Blip, Nick Fury keeps Carol off-world? What if Fury is thinking about some sort of space-based Avengers?
If you were a reader of comic books, specifically Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, in the mid-2000s, you're picking up what I'm laying down: What if the big space ship we see Nick Fury on is actually the Peak, the space base of S.W.O.R.D.? If you're not a comic book reader, you might be wondering "What is S.W.O.R.D.? Is it anything like S.H.I.E.L.D.?" The answer is "yes." While S.H.I.E.L.D. protects the Earth from super-powered threats on planet, S.W.O.R.D. protects people from super-powered threats in space, or on other, alien planets.
Talos says he can't answer honestly when people ask where the Avengers are, but we don’t know why, exactly. Now that Earth's Mightiest Heroes have been credited with restoring half of the entire universe's population five years after they all turned into dust, there's probably just as much clean-up to be done in space as there is in Queens, where Aunt May's charity for those displaced by the Blip operates. What if what’s left of the Avengers (specifically Captain Marvel, Thor, and Doctor Strange, who all get name drops in this movie) are busy in space setting things right after Thanos' galactic reign of terror? It would serve as a good excuse to have some of the more powerful Avengers off-world (where maybe they’ll run into some Eternals?) while we make room on Earth for friendly neighborhood heroes, like Spider-Man and Shang Chi in his upcoming movie.
We don't know anything about how the Eternals will be adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- if, in fact, it's among the slate for the Phase 4 films. There have been rumors that Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, and Salma Hayek have been cast as the main characters, but there's no official announcement as to where these characters are going to show up. In the comics, the Eternals are an offshoot of humanity that was created by the Celestials to defend the Earth as its super-powered protectors, but that obviously hasn't worked out on screen. It's likely that the Eternals have already taken to space; in the comics, there are Eternal off-shoots that have made colonies on Titan (one of Saturn's moons, not the planet Thanos is from) and Uranus, which... sure, let's take Captain Marvel to Uranus, there are no jokes to be made there.
It's possible that Nick Fury (not Talos-version) and the Avengers have been mobilized to deal with this new super-powered group that has made themselves known post-Blip, and that Earth needs to deal with its own problems for a while. We'll most likely learn more about the Eternals and when to expect them when Marvel presents at San Diego Comic-Con toward the end of July.