The newest Spider-Man movie solves a lot of mysteries — most of them about No Way Home itself — but the biggest mystery of all has nothing to do with Peter Parker. Instead, a single throwaway line early in the film answers a burning question about Nick Fury.
Warning! Spoilers for the beginning of Spider-Man: No Way Home ahead.
Spider-Man and Nick Fury
Spider-Man: No Way Home begins where Far From Home left off. Peter Parker’s secret identity has been revealed, and a video released by J. Jonah Jameson makes it look like Spidey brutally murdered the heroic Mysterio. It doesn’t take long before the authorities show up to take Peter and all his friends and associates in for questioning.
In the subsequence scene, a federal agent played by Arian Moayed (yes, that’s Stewie from Succession), accuses Parker of a laundry list of crimes. Peter responds by saying he’s innocent and Nick Fury can back up his story. Moayed responds with a sentence that blows Peter’s mind: "Nick Fury's been off-world for a year."
For the audience, this isn’t a huge surprise. Thanks to Far From Home and WandaVision, we already know Nick Fury is hanging out up in space while a shapeshifting Skrull fills in for him on Earth. But Spider-Man: Far From Home still answers a crucial question: How long exactly has Nick Fury been a Skrull in disguise?
Nick Fury and Secret Invasion
According to No Way Home, the answer is clear: one year. But is it really that simple? As fans have pointed out, it’s possible Fury could be a Skrull in disguise at any point after Captain Marvel, which pretty much covers the entire MCU. One popular theory even argues that the way he eats a sandwich in Avengers: Age of Ultron reveals he’s actually an alien shapeshifter in that film.
As brilliant a retcon as that might be, it seems unlikely that Nick Fury has been a Skrull for roughly half of his appearances in Marvel movies. It makes a lot more sense than Arian Moayed’s character in No Way Home is right and Fury’s only been off-world for about a year.
If that’s the case, then after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Fury decided to leave the Earth and set up shop in space. It’s even possible that after he Blipped back into existence, Nick realized a secret alien invasion had already begun, which is why he went off-world in the first place.
Thankfully, we should get a definitive answer once Secret Invasion comes out in 2022. But until then, we’ll take Arian Moayed’s word for it.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.