The first photos from Marvel’s next big superhero epic — Captain Marvel — have emerged, and though people are excited about Brie Larson’s cool new super suit, the real news is the digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Because Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s (remember that ’90s pager Nick Fury used at the end of Infinity War?) the movie will play out like a loose prequel to pretty much the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are even some rumors that time travel from the ’90s in this movie could help to re-write history and save the Avengers from all those crazy deaths in Infinity War. But, even if this doesn’t happen, Captain Marvel has already rewritten history in one very specific way: Samuel L. Jackson didn’t look this young even in the real ’90s.
On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly shared exclusive photos of from the next big Marvel movie, Captain Marvel. And the big news was easily the de-aged Samuel L. Jackson, appearing chronically, as the earliest version of Nick Fury we’ve ever seen in these movies. The big news? He doesn’t have the eyepatch yet. The bigger news? This looks like a version of Samuel L. Jackson from the ’80s or ’70s rather than the ’90s. And that’s because this de-aged Samuel L. Jackson looks younger than Samuel L. Jackson really looked in the real 1990s.
The effect is pretty impressive, but does this remind us of the actual ’90s?
For comparison, here’s a photo of Samuel L. Jackson in the 1996 movie, A Time To Kill.
Now, for decades, it has seemed like Samuel L. Jackson was an ageless man, something that seems to be true when you go back in time, look at his old movies and realize he looks almost exactly the same now as he did then. This isn’t a diss. This is a huge compliment and part of why he’s so great. But, when Marvel realized this fact, they must have had a hard choice. On the one hand, they could have had the younger Nick Fury reflect reality and just let Jackson play the character with zero digital effects, and maybe a wig. This would be kind of like what Back to the Future did with the characters of Doc and the Principle Strickland; just make a subtle joke that these guys always looked that way, even twenty years prior. In Back to the Future, this method was a movie trick. But with Samuel L. Jackson, it’s like Marvel had to use movie magic to fight the reality of his agelessness. And that reality is simple: Samuel L. Jackson is some kind of immortal.
But, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a line has been drawn between Nick Fury and Samuel L. Jackson. In this version of the ’90s, Nick Fury looks way younger than Jackson did in the real ’90s. And that’s okay. It’s just good for everyone to remember that in this case, digital de-aging probably wasn’t needed. Samuel L. has always looked pretty, pretty smooth.
-Captain Marvel is out in wide release on March 8, 2019.-
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