In The Avengers (2012), Nick fury wears an eye patch. I did my homework, and Wikipedia gave me one explanation:

Fury's injured left eye, though initially minimally affected by a grenade blast during World War II, has over the decades resulted in a 95% loss of vision in this eye.

However, I doubt Nick Fury from the movie got it for the same reason, he probably did not participate to World War II and he was not in Captain America's frozen luggage.

Also, in several closeups, you can see black veins extending from his eye patch, and 3 parallel scars like he was scratched by claws.

Nick Fury photo of his eyepatch

If we include information from the comic books and other sources, what's the explanation for the loss of his eye and the scars around it we see in the movie?

  • I thought he did participate in WW2 - weren't he and Dum Dum Duggan and someone else part of Cap's team dealing with the Red Skull? hmmm... no, it looks like just Dum Dum and Gabe... – Ward - Reinstate Monica May 20 '12 at 17:09
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    The one clue we have is that it seems to be the result of a betrayal: in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury tells Cap, "the last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye." No details on who that might be, but it's a notable clue. – Nerrolken Dec 1 '14 at 19:32
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    Captain Marvel trailer dropped today. Nick Fury appears with both eyes undamaged. This movie is set in the 1990s. I think there's a high likelihood that this movie will answer the question. – Timbo Sep 18 '18 at 21:14

Nick Fury's background is unknown, at least in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But we can find some answers from the comics.

Originally as treatment for a hand grenade injury (and now for old age) Earth 616 Nick Fury receives regular injections of the infinity formula. This slowed/stopped his aging, allowing him to serve well past the age of 100.

Ultimate Nick Fury, based on Samuel Jackson also received anti-aging treatment as part of Operation Rebirth, another part of the supersoldier Weapon Plus program that created Captain America and several other Marvel heroes. In this timeline he also has increased strength and agility, though far from Cap's.

Anti-aging is a core aspect of Fury's character in two major universes. It seems likely it's also the case in the films. He probably still got it in World War II.

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    In the Ultimate Universe, he got it in a roadside bombing, where Weapon X (the future Wolverine) escaped his adamantium cage (bent, not broken). Logan killed everyone except Fury (the Allied forces were largely already dead), and carried Fury back to friendly lines. It was later revealed that this was a result of them having served in WWII together, during which Logan became the first mutant and Fury was a test subject for the first attempted recreation of the super soldier serum. – Jeff May 27 '12 at 2:08

Spolier for Captain Marvel (2019)

It’s Goose, the Cat/Flerken that scratches Fury right across the eye.

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  • I believe Goose is simply a Flerken; it’s just that Flerkens, to the untrained eye, look very similar to earth’s domestic cat. – Paul D. Waite Mar 9 '19 at 23:06
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    @PaulD.Waite Indeed, but Goose is first introduced as a cat, we only learn later that it's a Flerken. – DavRob60 Mar 10 '19 at 1:38
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    Makes me wonder whether the claw scratches as shown in the question was foreshadowing that scene in Captain Marvel. – yqlim Mar 19 '19 at 1:17
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    That is one hell of a brick joke. +1 to the question for sure, as I had to make sure it was set up so long ago. – Muz Apr 25 '19 at 9:59

In the cartoon series Nick Fury got into a fight with the Grim Reaper and was slashed by the scythe therefore he lost sight and cheated death which is why through the movie when Nick gets hurt those veins protrude and are black.

Also in the Avengers cartoon series after his fight with the reaper Nick's hair goes a bit grey symbolizing death. This may not be correct but I am very observant and this is my conclusion on why Nick Fury has an eye-patch and whatnot.

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    His hair isn't grey, though. Men who begin to go grey typically have their facial hair begin to grey as well. His isn't. Also, which cartoon series? – Jeff Oct 10 '12 at 14:10

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