What brings together the top superheroes in the universe? It’s not the good of humanity, nor is it a common enemy. What actually brought Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America together for the most successful superhero movie of the last two centuries was SHIELD, the mysterious organization represented in all pre-Avengers superhero flicks by Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Who is SHIELD, in the comic book and in The Avengers film?
SHIELD was developed in the 1960s by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and thought up as a hybrid of an espionage and secret military organization. It was considered a law enforcement agency and specialized in containing and controlling superhuman threats to the planet.
SHIELD stands for Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate, or Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division, depending on how far back you go. Of course, if you only know The Avengers movie then you may know SHIELD as the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Who’s This Nick Fury Dude?
One thing’s for sure—it’s S.H.I.E.L.D.! So who is Nick Fury, the guy who always manages to appear at the end of a Marvel flick and tries to sell the “Avengers initiative?” Nick Fury was originally devised as a former CIA agent turned spy and who then took over SHIELD as the leading agent. Eventually he stepped down and served as an intermediary. He also looks suspiciously young for his experience…a plot to be revealed soon? (Of course, comic book fans are way ahead of you.)
Now don’t get your Nick Fury’s all mixed up. There are actually several “universes” to consider, starting with the official Marvel continuity, and then the movie The Avengers (otherwise known as the Marvel cinema universe) that does make slight alterations. Most notably, Nick Fury is turned from an older white man in a ridiculous blue spandex jump suit to uber-cool Samuel L. Jackson in a smart leather-jacket … good move!
There is also the Nick Fury played by, of all people, David Hasselhoff, in a 1998 TV movie. Yeah, we don’t really count that one either.
SHIELD and “The Avengers” Initiative
Since the launch of Marvel’s Avengers project, the Jackson version of Fury has appeared in all of the major films, from the Iron Man 1movies to Thor to Captain America to The Avengers, where his role as leader came to fruition. Even though The Incredible Hulk film starring Edward Norton doesn’t have a notable Samuel L. Jackson cameo, his name can clearly be seen on some important papers.
It’s a good thing we all like the universally cool Samuel L. Jackson, because we are going to have him in Marvel films for quite some time. He signed a nine picture deal with Marvel in 2009 and is playing Nick Fury until further notice. While a SHIELD movie starring Samuel L. Jackson is still up in the air, he is certain to appear in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier follow up.
In addition to Jackson, we have also learnt of other SHIELD agents over the last five films, including Maria Hill, Deputy Director, agent Phil Coulson as well as undercover agent Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow, who went from Soviet Spy to US Citizen to SHIELD agent.
You had to know that with so many superhuman beings running around, there had to be some type of organizing effort, right? Be sure to catch all of your favorite Marvel costumes just in time for Halloween!
For more information on SHIELD, the characters from the hit movie and Avengers costumes, check out Avengerscostume.net. You’ll certainly see Nick, Natasha, Tony, Bruce, Thor and every other superhero yelling trick or treat at your door this year!