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When Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury stepped out from the shadows at the end of 2008’s Iron Man to introduce himself to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, he both set up the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe and established a still ongoing tradition of MCU post-credit scenes. But director Jon Favreau says he originally planned the sequence to just be a treat for hardcore comic fans and had no real inkling of the moment’s ultimate importance.
“That was a bit of a lark.” says Favreau. “I wanted to include Easter eggs that the fans would appreciate and we thought the idea of a post-credit scene it could be fun. It was something that wasn’t really in the script originally. But I thought the idea of Nick Fury being Sam Jackson would be really fun, because when Nick Fury was reimagined in The Ultimates (comic book) they recast him as Sam Jackson, and I thought that that would be a really good nod to the audience. And Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios executive] was way into it, too. Kevin really lit up. We worked on that dialog together. We were very careful how we selected the words. ‘You’re part of a bigger world now, a bigger universe,’ and ‘the Avengers Initiative,’ laid breadcrumbs for what was to come. We had the idea that we would somehow group these characters together, that was part of what would happen, but a lot of things had to go right for that to happen, so we were really just laying out a basic mission statement of purpose, to show our intent, and thinking that the few people who would linger in the theater would be the ones who would appreciate it most.”