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How Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits reveal could shape the future of the MCU

Spider-Man: Far From Home raises questions about Nick Fury.

Nick Fury and Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Spider-Man: Far From Home’s bombshell moment comes at the last possible second of the movie. After Spider-Man single-handedly saves London, after Mysterio’s death and defeat, after the mid-credits scene about J. Jonah Jameson, there’s a massive reveal nestled into the dust after all the credits have rolled: As the movie’s second credits scene reveals, the Skrulls are thriving. Talos and Soren are impersonating Maria Hill and Nick Fury on Earth, and the real Nick Fury is on what looks to be a Skrull spaceship.

In an instant, everything we thought we knew about the movie is flipped on its head, and the scene invites us to call into question everything we think we know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Like, just how long has Fury been on that spaceship? What would have happened if Mysterio defeated Spider-Man? Is this the first instance in which Fury swapped places with the Skrulls? Have the Skrulls been impersonating other people all this time?

The first time we ever saw the Skrulls onscreen in the MCU was in Captain Marvel, which is set in 1995. So the nearly 25-year gap between that film and the present-set Avengers: Infinity War and the present-set and 2024/2025-set (there’s a five-year time jump) Endgame in Marvel Cinematic History, combined with Fury’s secrecy, leaves open the possibility for all kinds of Skrull hijinks.

Which means that Marvel could spend its next few movies unraveling the mystery behind Fury and the Skrulls. Here’s how:

What have the Skrulls been doing for the past 20 years?

This past March, Captain Marvel brought the Skrulls from the pages of Marvel’s comic books to the big screen. Initially, they were introduced as shape-shifting villains, but then, as the movie unfurled, we learned that they are actually shape-shifting refugees whom the Kree have been hunting down. At the end of the movie, Carol Danvers decided she needed to help them find a home — and then went off into space for 20-something years before returning to Earth in Endgame, in the aftermath of Thanos’s snap.

Spider-Man: Far From Home, which takes place after the events of Endgame, showed us in one of its credits scenes that the Skrulls are now thriving.

The scene opens with Fury on what appears to be a Skrull spaceship, using a high-tech holographic simulator to pretend he’s on vacation. Then, as the scene unfolds, the camera zooms out to show us that he’s on a very impressive spaceship (think Star Trek’s Enterprise or a Star Wars ship before it’s inevitably blown up) that may look familiar to comic book fans. Lots of Skrulls are milling about and presumably doing important and exciting space adventure things.

What we don’t see is what exactly happened between Iron Man’s sacrifice in Endgame, Nick Fury (and everyone else who had been snapped away) coming back, and Fury’s decision to go on vacation with the Skrulls. Presumably — if Fury and the Skrulls hadn’t made contact since the ’90s, and Fury hadn’t used the amped-up pager that Danvers made for him between the events of Captain Marvel and the end-credits of Avengers: Infinity War — Fury and the Skrulls met up sometime after or at Tony Stark’s funeral (as Far From Home director Jon Watts has theorized), with Danvers updating him on the latest at that time.

But why Fury trusted Talos and Soren to take care of Earth while he was away isn’t explained.

And while there’s no definitive answer, the simplest one is that after the events of 2014’s Captain America: Winter Soldier in which Hydra’s infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., he had no one left to trust but Maria Hill and the Avengers. Trusting Talos and Soren, who were grateful for Danvers’s help and have no ties to Hydra or any Earthling affairs, might have been Fury’s safest bet.

And now, with the reintroduction of Fury and his Skrull allies in Far From Home’s credits scene, the future of Marvel will involve explaining just what Fury is going to do next. I’d assume that Danvers, the Avenger who can zip around the galaxy the fastest and easiest, will play a role in his plans. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel is laying the foundation with some existing concepts from the comic books.

The Skrulls might be integral to S.W.O.R.D. and Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion story arc

Though we saw Nick Fury using the Skrull ship’s simulator to go on “vacation,” he probably didn’t travel across the galaxy and board the ship just to get some R&R. He could have traveled somewhere discreet on Earth, or gone to New Asgard or wherever. It seems reasonable to assume that he’s in space with the Skrulls to do some work. And that work might involve cobbling together a new organization called the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, or S.W.O.R.D.

In Marvel’s comic books, S.W.O.R.D. is an organization that was originally commandeered by a green-haired woman named Abigail Brand. Brand has a slightly adversarial and competitive relationship with Nick Fury — a different Nick Fury than the one we know onscreen from the MCU, because comic books and movies are often divergent in their storytelling. It is basically S.H.I.E.L.D., but for intergalactic and universe-level threats, while S.H.I.E.L.D. focuses on what’s happening on Earth:

Astonishing X-Men No. 6.

In Endgame, Captain Marvel said that Thanos’s snap affected all kinds of worlds and galaxies far away and that those places weren’t lucky enough to have the Avengers help pick up the pieces.

S.W.O.R.D. could be just the type of organization to help handle such scenarios going forward. And in the comics, S.W.O.R.D. operates from a spacecraft called “the Peak,” which looks a lot like the spacecraft Fury and the Skrulls were on in Far From Home’s end-credits scene:

The Peak!

Though S.W.O.R.D. first appeared in an X-Men comic, I’d guess that Marvel Studios would streamline its MCU origin story to Fury creating a new organization, with the help of the Skrulls, to create SWORD to fend off galactic threats and possibly find some new heroes (maybe The Eternals?).

If this Far From Home credits scene indeed signaled that S.W.O.R.D. is happening onscreen and the Skrulls are a big part of it, the organization’s arrival in the MCU also opens up the future of Marvel movies to include a 2008 comic book event called Secret Invasion. In the comic books, the Skrulls aren’t the helpless and kind heroes they are in the movies, and in Secret Invasion we learn that they’ve been using their shape-shifting abilities to impersonate heroes, sow distrust, and prepare Earth for a Skrull onslaught.

Impersonating and infiltrating S.W.O.R.D. would be one of the first important agenda items if one were a Skrull with malicious intent.

The Avengers take on the Skrulls in Secret Invasion.
Leinil Francis Yu/Marvel

Visually, Secret Invasion would likely play out onscreen in similar fashion to the way Maria Hill and Nick Fury were revealed to be Skrulls. I heard gasps during my screening of Far From Home; imagine the sounds of jaws dropping and all the inner (and possibly exterior) screaming that will occur if audiences ever get the chance to find out that Spidey or Carol or Ant-Man is actually a nefarious Skrull.

Marvel hasn’t even introduced the idea of a Skrull who might be bad, let alone a supervillain. And on that note, Marvel hasn’t, beyond Far From Home’s end-credits scenes, let us know what films it has coming down the pike (we will probably find out more during San Diego Comic-Con this week and the D23 expo in August). But we also shouldn’t be surprised if the Skrulls, S.W.O.R.D., and Fury become major players in the future of Marvel.