When Nick Fury (who is officially dead just like Coulson) made Coulson director of S.H.I.E.L.D., it looked like he gave Coulson every internal official power he had. Also, Director Coulson does everything all by himself without any collaboration with Nick Fury. I understand Nick Fury is on a special mission (and he is expensive for a TV show), but so far there's not even a single mention of Nick Fury in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Coulson became director.

I thought Mr. Jackson dumped Marvel Studios and they promoted Coulson to cover and fix things up. But then Nick Fury made his appearance in the Avengers: Age of Ultron official trailer.

Is Nick Fury still a director in S.H.I.E.L.D.? Or is his position different, maybe higher? Or is Nick Fury out of S.H.I.E.L.D. and working independently?

  • 1
    Does this signal a split between movie and TV versions of the Marvel Universe?
    – Anthony X
    Nov 8, 2014 at 16:50
  • Fury is still the head of SHIELD in 'Ultimate Spider Man'
    – Valorum
    Nov 8, 2014 at 17:02
  • 6
    Nick Fury showed up at the end of season 1 of Agents of SHIELD.
    – phantom42
    Nov 8, 2014 at 18:34
  • 7
    You said that no mention of him had been made. Not only has he been mentioned repeatedly, he's physically shown up since The Winter Soldier.
    – phantom42
    Nov 9, 2014 at 3:07
  • 1
    @AnthonyX There is no split on movie and TV version of the Marvel Universe.
    – Jash Jacob
    Jan 24, 2015 at 1:43

5 Answers 5


Nick Fury is dead. That's his "position". In reality he's out there hiding…

That's as much as we know. Nothing else has been stated thus far in the MCU.

  • 1
    Position inside S.H.I.E.L.D. has nothing to do with external reports. S.H.I.E.L.D. is a complex organization.
    – user931
    Nov 9, 2014 at 2:23
  • 3
    @SachinShekhar: Fury being alive was a secret even from the majority of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Within the organisation (what's left of it) he's officially dead. Nov 9, 2014 at 2:35
  • 1
    Coulson being alive was also a secret, but yet he was officially a level 8 agent. I told you, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a complex organization.
    – user931
    Nov 9, 2014 at 2:44
  • 8
    @SachinShekhar: Then, at best, this is entirely unanswerable because Fury's hypothetical non-dead position has not been stated. Nov 9, 2014 at 12:44

Nick Fury is out. He's not a part of SHIELD anymore.

When Coulson died and was brought back he was "officially" dead, but still registered as a SHIELD agent for those who were in on the secret, like Fury and Maria Hill. He still took orders, received equipment, went out on missions, etc.

When Nick Fury "died," he cut all ties to SHIELD. Coulson was made Director at the end of the first season of AoS, and while he knows Fury is alive, Fury isn't (to the best of our knowledge) working with him or even in contact. Even in the Season 1 finale, Fury showed up to help in more of a "favor for a friend" sort of way, not as an official operative.

So, until Age of Ultron or some other MCU story says different, we have to assume that Nick Fury has cut all ties to SHIELD, is officially dead in the public record, and is "disavowed" or completely disassociated with Coulson.

EDIT: There seems to be some confusion about the timing of my answer. According to my understanding, there are four phases of SHIELD's recent leadership, and I've elaborated Nick Fury's "current position in SHIELD" for each:

  • Before Winter Soldier - SHIELD is strong, Nick Fury is in command and everyone knows it.
  • During Winter Soldier - SHIELD is in utter disarray. Nick Fury is believed dead, so the official Director is whatever next-level officer was in line to succeed him, but Nick Fury is still pulling the strings and commanding certain elements within SHIELD.
  • Winter Soldier to AoS Season 1 Finale - SHIELD officially still exists but has been branded a terrorist organization. The official Director is unknown (likely changing or in dispute between several SHIELD and HYDRA agents), and the chaos is so great that there is no "practical" leader of SHIELD at all. Nick Fury is still alive, but seems to have cut ties with SHIELD and is no longer maintaining contact with any SHIELD agents or operations.
  • After AoS Season 1 - Nick Fury resurfaces for long enough to give Coulson the intel and resources he'll need to rebuild SHIELD, then disappears again. We see no further indications of him contacting or working with Coulson, May, Hill, Romanov, or any other SHIELD or ex-SHIELD elements. It's unlikely he "made it official" when he named Coulson as Director (since he's supposed to be dead and thus doesn't get a vote), but with the resources he gave Coulson, it wouldn't be hard for Coulson to assert authority over any rival leadership that had sprung up during the interregnum. Thus, the "official" Director of SHIELD was probably in flux for a while, and simply settled on Coulson eventually.

So, to answer your question, the "current" position of Nick Fury during Season 2 of AoS could be stated as "Officially dead, Effectively retired/discharged." To the best of our knowledge, he has no more ties to SHIELD than a retired General does to the Army. He's out, both officially and practically.

  • 3
    Coulson was made director by Fury at the end of AoS Season 1 finale. At that point, he was still "director" to those who were a high enough level of the crumbling SHIELD to know that (only a handful of people). The better idea is that there was no "SHIELD" during the finale due to the events of Winter Soldier.
    – krillgar
    Nov 11, 2014 at 19:34
  • @krillgar Unless I'm forgetting, we never see SHIELD get legally disbanded, it simply broke apart when HYDRA split from it. So officially it DID exist after Winter Soldier, and since Fury died weeks before the events of the AoS finale, there would have been a legally-discernable "highest ranking officer" among its shattered remnants (perhaps Maria Hill). The idea that there "was no SHIELD" is true in practical terms, but officially it did exist, and many (such as the Congressional committee in Cap2) would have someone that they considered to be the "Director." Fury would not be it.
    – Nerrolken
    Nov 11, 2014 at 19:51
  • 3
    Maria Hill was shown before the credits of WS to be applying at Stark Industries. Coulson: "You want me to start over? Rebuild SHIELD?" Fury: "From SCRATCH." youtube.com/watch?v=f0uQNr8nQCg With all of SHIELD's secrets being exposed to the public, and Hydra's deep infestation and split, there was nothing left. The current SHIELD is a whole new entity.
    – krillgar
    Nov 11, 2014 at 20:34
  • 2
    @krillgar Again, I agree that SHIELD was essentially over. Their infrastructure was taken or destroyed, their agents were gone, etc. In effect, Coulson did need to rebuild it from scratch. But officially, legally, SHIELD was never dissolved. Coulson was taking over a pre-existing organization, and completely reshaping it. But OP's question is about Nick Fury's official position within SHIELD, apart from common knowledge (that he's dead) or casual understanding (that he helps out from time to time), and I'm saying officially he seems to have cut ties with SHIELD as it exists in Season 2.
    – Nerrolken
    Nov 11, 2014 at 20:40
  • I'm editing my answer to clarify the timeline.
    – Nerrolken
    Nov 11, 2014 at 20:47

I think Fury had to come on Age of Ultron Because the avengers still thinks that Coulson is dead. I mean Coulson could come to save that city on Age of Ultron. But Fury had to come because if Coulson came The Avengers would know that Fury lied to them. I think Fury is just doing a favor to a friend.


One can compare Fury to a one-man World Security Council . . . but without the backing of the U.S. government. Coulson's position as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is just as tenuous.


Only a handful of high level S.H.I.E.L.D. agents know that Fury is alive. He went on an undercover mission at the end of The Winter Soldier, and as such, can't hold the position of director. Captain America also knows and it is insinuated in the show that either Coulson or Agent Mae may also know.

In any case when Fury returns he will resume his position as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson wouldn't have it an other way as he is too loyal and committed to the cause!

  • When Fury appeared in the season finale, that was after the events of Winter Soldier, so he was already considered "dead" to the majority of the world. At that time, he gave up all control of SHIELD, and gave Coulson the "keys" to the agency, allowing him to be Director.
    – krillgar
    Nov 11, 2014 at 19:33

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