Some Marvel movies spoilers follow, if you've been saving Avengers: Endgame for a rainy day.
Tony Stark and Natasha Romanov didn't make it out of Avengers: Endgame alive, but otherwise the body count in the last Avengers movie was relatively low – probably because Infinity War gave us an overload of deaths at once. Newly-unearthed concept art for the movie, though, as spotted by our colleagues at GamesRadar, show Nick Fury taking a fatal hit from one of Thanos' minions.
Stephen Schirle, who produced concept art for both Infinity War and Endgame as well as Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp, shared the art on his Instagram page. It shows Corvus Glaive putting his blade through Fury's back, almost certainly slicing through his heart:
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Anyway, he didn't die
Movies change a lot in preproduction, of course. Recently, art from Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars movie surfaced, offering us an alternative glimpse at what could've been in that film – and it was entirely different, in some shocking ways.
Given that Fury doesn't return in Avengers: Endgame until Tony's funeral, returning to existence after Hulk's first snap with the Infinity Gauntlet, we can guess this sequence was likely planned for the battle at the end of the movie.
But, it's just as likely this piece was made for fun. Co-screenwriter Christopher Markus suggested Fury was never in that final battle back at SDCC 2019. "It was [because] 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."
To speculate, the character was a major part of the plot in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and it's likely Marvel wanted to keep Fury alive for that. He's also the only Avengers character with strong ties to Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel. With Captain Marvel 2 in the works, taking him off the table means she'd have fewer connections on Earth – and their interactions were among the strongest parts of that movie.
It's unclear when we'll see Samuel L Jackson reprise the role again, but the end of Far From Home suggests it'll probably be in Captain Marvel 2, given that he lives on a space station now.