2021 and 2022 were packed with new Marvel Cinematic Universe shows on Disney+. But now, the deluge has slowed down a bit. The last episode of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law aired back in October 2022. But we’re about to get a new fix of weekly episodes. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury will headline his own series – Secret Invasion – which will see him take on the shape-shifting Skrulls. The six-episode series kicks off on June 21.

Fury has made several appearances in the MCU, but sometimes it’s just for a brief moment or two in a film’s post-credit scene. Here, we’ll track his storyline and also add appearances by a few other characters who we’ll see in Secret Invasion, including Don Cheadle’s James “Rhodey” Rhodes (who we’ll see in his own War Machine film, Armor Wars) and Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross. Here are the movies and shows you should check out before Secret Invasion kicks off.

  • Captain Marvel (2019)

    Yeah, Fury appeared in several other MCU films before this one. But Captain Marvel takes place in the ‘90s, and it’s a much younger Nick Fury who we meet here (thanks to some de-aging digital filters). This is also the beginning of the story of the Skrulls, so if you watch just one MCU film before Secret Invasion, make it this one. By the way, we think Secret Invasion will lead into The Marvels, due out in November, which will also feature Teyonah Parris’s Monica Rambeau, who we met as a child in Captain Marvel. (The origin of her superpowers is told in the first Disney+ series, Wandavision). Keep in mind that one of the post-credits scenes, the one with the Avengers, jumps decades into the future. It takes place between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But this film introduces us to the Skrulls, an alien race of shapeshifters, including Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos. Sharon Blynn plays Soren, Talos’ wife.

  • Iron Man (2008)

    The film that kicked off the MCU. We learn about S.H.I.E.L.D., via Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. Fury makes a cameo in the post-credit scene, telling Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark that he’s “not the only superhero in the world” and that he wants to discuss the “Avengers Initiative” with him. We also meet James “Rhodey” Rhodes in this film. Back then, he was played by Terrance Howard.

  • Iron Man 2 (2010)

    This was the first MCU film to feature Jackson as a main cast member. This is also where Don Cheadle took over the role of James “Rhodey” Rhodes. We also meet Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow. At the beginning of the film, she’s spying on Tony Stark, per Fury’s orders. At the end of the film, Agent Coulson reports about the discovery of a “hammer” in the desert in New Mexico. Which leads right into…

  • Thor (2011)

    Like in the first Iron Man film, Agent Coulson gets a lot of screen time here, representing S.H.I.E.L.D., and Fury just shows up in a post-credit scene. But Thor is a crucial film if you want to see The Avengers, as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is introduced here. Loki is the main villain in that film. But before we get to that…

  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

    Chronologically, this comes before the other films; the story takes place during World War II. But Fury shows up at the end of the film, which takes place in the (then) present day, and he tells Chris Evans’ Steve (Captain America) Rogers that he’s been asleep for nearly 70 years.

  • The Avengers (2012)

    Nick Fury and Agent Coulson were the connective tissue that tied the MCU together. In The 2012’s The Avengers, we saw both of them putting together the MCU’s first super team, which included Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce (Hulk) Banner and Jeremy Renner’s Clint (Hawkeye) Barton. The team members don’t really trust Fury – or each other – but that’s part of what made it so interesting. This is also where we meet another important S.H.I.E.L.D. agent: Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, who we’ll see more of in Secret Invasion.

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

    In which Nick Fury dies. Well, we were meant to think that he was dead after being wounded by Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan). Agent Hill recovers his body and we later learn that he’s still alive. S.H.I.E.L.D., however, is not: it’s been infiltrated by Hydra, and this has been exposed to the world. Fury allows the world to think that he’s dead.

  • The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

     

    In a story that has aged well and feels a bit too on-the-nose, here the Avengers take on Ultron. It is basically a story of A.I. gone horribly wrong. Nick Fury comes out of hiding to help the Avengers, along with Maria Hill and Janes Rhodes.

  • The Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

    The story that all of the Marvel films had been leading up to. The interstellar being called Thanos had been on a quest to acquire all of the Infinity Stones. In this film, he was successful, giving him the power to “snap” out half of the creatures in existence. Including, as we learn in the post-credits scene, both Fury and Agent Hill (in their only appearance in the film). But not before Fury uses his beeper to summon Captain Marvel.

  • The Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    The heart-pounding conclusion to the previous film. Fury and Hill don’t show up until the end when they pay tribute to one of the MCU’s greatest heroes at a private funeral.

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

    After cameos in two Avengers films, it was fun to have both Fury and Hill back as cast members in the MCU. Fury is apparently trying to reach Spider-Man, but Peter Parker is more interested in his school trip and blows him off. Fury, of course, isn’t one to take “no” for an answer, and he and Hill draw Spidey into a new adventure. But in the post-credit scene, we learn that Fury and Hill are actually Talos and Soren, and the “real” Fury is in space on a Skrull ship. We don’t see the “real” Maria Hill, and we’re left wondering: how long has Talos been impersonating Fury on Earth? This is the last we’ve seen of Fury until Secret Invasion.

  • BONUS: Iron Man 3 (2013)

    It’s not quite an essential film, and it’s one of the weaker films in the MCU. Neither Fury nor Hill is in it, but Rhodes is. The film had later implications for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and it might also influence Armor Wars, which will focus on Cheadle’s Rhodes.

  • BONUS: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

    Neither Fury nor Hill is in this film, but Rhodes is, and it explains how he lost the use of his legs. It also introduced Martin Freeman’s CIA agent Everett K. Ross, who will also appear in Secret Invasion. The film did a lot of heavy lifting: besides having a compelling story that saw the Avengers being torn apart, it also introduced Spider-Man and Black Panther to the MCU and welcomed Ant-Man (who had debuted in his own film in 2015).

  • BONUS: Black Panther (2018)

    Again, no Fury nor Hill here, but this film continues Agent Ross’s story. Here, he joins forces with Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa to save the world from Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger and Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue (whom we first met in Avengers Age Of Ultron).

  • BONUS: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

    The film is the last time we see Agent Ross, who teamed up with the Wakandans again. This upsets Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’s Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, the head of the CIA, who – we also learn – is Agent Ross’s ex-wife. (She was first introduced in the 2021 series Falcon and the Winter Solider, which also featured a Cheadle cameo).

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