Pretty much every character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is making an appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Iron Man, Captain America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Black Panther, Ant-Man, are all set to star. Heck, even Spider-Man and General Ross are part of the cast. But, there’s one major character who is conspicuously absent: Nick Fury. Even star Samuel L. Jackson has no idea why he’s not in the movie.

It makes sense why two of the Avengers — Thor and Hulk — won’t be in Captain America: Civil War; Thor went back to Asgard and Hulk is off in parts unknown. It makes a little less sense why Nick Fury, a major part of the last Captain America film, won’t be around for the next sequel. It turns out he originally was supposed to be in the movie. Jackson told IGN:

 

I was surprised I wasn't in Civil War, because the Russo Brothers told me I was. I don't know what's going on.

 

Jackson continued, while talking to Collider:

 

I’m not in Captain America 3. I can’t figure that out, but I’m not. I guess I’m still out there, trying to figure out what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D. and who these other people are.

 

So, Sam Jackson was told he was going to be in Civil War and then all the sudden he’s not? How do you have General Ross, a character from a film that Marvel has all but tried to erase out of MCU continuity, but not Nick Fury, a major player in the series? The answer may be contractually.

Jackson admits he only has two films left on his original nine-picture deal with Marvel, and it’s possible those may be the two-part Avengers: Infinity War movie. Jackson did say to Collider that he was currently working to renegotiate his contract (“I’m looking for a contract extension right now, yeah. I’m looking to re-up.”), so maybe this was just a precaution on Marvel’s part in case a deal couldn’t be worked out. Or, maybe this is actually Jackson’s agents playing hardball and telling Marvel, “Sam’s not coming to work until he gets a new deal.”

Of course, the possibility remains is that Jackson is just playing the media, similar to how Anthony Mackie told everyone he wasn’t in Avengers: Age of Ultron, until suddenly he was.

We’ll all find out together when Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters on May 6, 2016.

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