Robert Downey Jr, perphaps, is the present figure head of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is the force holding The Avengers together, and he may be the force that also drives them apart. But it was Samuel L. Jackson, approaching Downey's Tony Stark in the Iron Man ending credits, who got this MCU underway, and the narrative of how his on screen characterization happened is very enjoyable, if you haven't heard it yet.
Comic book writer Mark Millar is the one to praise for turning SH.I.E.L.D.. manager Nick Fury black - after him being white for many years - and making him look like Samuel L. Jackson in the pages of the Ultimates books. Millar recently told Business Insider he modelled his Fury after Colin Powell, and pictured him as a Blaxploitation hero. As Millar remembers :
Sam is notoriously the most awesome man alive, and both myself and artist Bryan Hitch merely liberally used him without requesting any type of permission. You need to remember, this was 2001 when we were putting this together. The idea that this might eventually be a film seemed preposterous, as Marvel was simply climbing out of bankruptcy at the time.
Clearly, nevertheless, Marvel did get into the movie business, and it was time to bring in Nick Fury as the recruiter or Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Jackson, as it turned out, was an avid comic reader, and was quite familiar with the work that Millar had done. It indirectly led to his hiring for Iron Man, and his involvement in all stages of the MCU. So as Millar recalls it, he recently got to hang out with Jackson on the set of Kingsman: The Secret Service -- yet another adaptation of a Millar story. The writer jokingly apologized for " entirely exploiting " the actor 's image and likeness for a character, and asked if he was annoyed. To which Jackson absolutely reacted :
Fuck no, man! Thanks for the nine-picture contract!
Very few in the MCU have loved the same kind of job security as Samuel L. Jackson, though Robert Downey Jr. is getting close. After kicking off the MCU in this scene:
Sam Jackson has been the connective tissue in movies like Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the first Avengers movie and this month's Age of Ultron. Due to Millar's creative stroke, Samuel L. Jackson has job protection, and vaults filled with cash for the work he has done with Marvel.