Nick Fury almost suffered a brutal death in Avengers: Endgame, as shown in some newly released concept art for the superhero blockbuster.
Artist Stephen Schirle, who has worked on half a dozen Marvel movies as well as Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, shared a previously unseen image on his Instagram page.
The shot shows Thanos minion Corvus Glaive stabbing Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury through the back and out of his chest.
It’s a similar image to Loki’s grisly murder of Agent Coulson way back in 2012’s The Avengers, which was edited in some versions of the movie to avoid an R-rating.
The image shows that, at one stage, there was a very different direction for the final action scene of Endgame.
In the finished movie, Nick Fury does not join the final battle between the assembled Avengers — thanks, Cap — and Thanos’ army.
He is only seen during Tony Stark’s funeral scene at the very end of the film.
Co-writer Christopher Markus revealed at Comic-Con that there was a very simple reason for Fury’s absence.
He said: “We have such a traffic jam of heroes and so much power that to have a guy who, in combat, would just be firing a gun... it doesn’t come off well for Nick Fury, frankly.”
Fury wasn’t the only other character earmarked for death in Endgame, with Captain America also originally set for the chop.
The cast of Endgame have been willing to lift the lid since the movie debuted, sharing a treasure trove of pictures and videos from the set of the massive blockbuster.
Robert Downey Jr. was one of the most prolific sharers of footage, treating fans to an emotional look at his farewell to the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man.
Avengers: Endgame ultimately managed to surpass Avatar and become the highest-grossing movie of all time.