MCU’s dominance over the past decade has been so massive, that many of its pre-Iron Man era essence has come to perish. Former Marvel star David Hasselhoff was the OG Nicky Fury. While Samuel L. Jackson has emerged to be the popular version of the superspy, it cannot be refuted that Hasselhoff pioneered it on-screen. His version highly resembled the comic books until the new MCU took over.
Hasselhoff’s remarkable portrayal impressed Marvel Comics boss Stan Lee and was promised the character for life. In an interview, the actor revealed how Marvel didn’t stay up to its word and replaced him with Samuel L. Jackson. Hasselhoff never returned to the MCU, besides a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
David Hasselhoff was misled
The 1998’s Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D was a box-office failure. Written by David Goyer, the film still captured the true essence of the tough but campy military hero, a true-to-the-comics version. The book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios unveils Hasselhoff’s side of the story of playing Nick Fury. Very much like the 1990s superhero cult, the character was meant to be parodic and silly. It was a true effort toward entertainment before the MCU got all serious with its heroes. As per the book, David Hasselhoff spoke on the matter saying,
“My Nick Fury was the organic Nick Fury that was written and discussed with Stan Lee before anyone got in there to change it. Nick Fury was written to be tongue-in-cheek, and he had a cigar in his mouth, he was a tough guy—he was cool … Stan Lee said, ‘You’re the ultimate Nick Fury.’ Avi Arad, when [Toy Biz took over Marvel], said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be Nick Fury forever,’ and they lied.”
Interestingly, Samuel L. Jackson’s version of Nick Fury was created in 2002, four years after Hasselhoff’s debut. The comic book series, The Ultimates presented a Nick Fury that resembled Jackson more than Hasselhoff. Hence, his feature in 2008’s Iron Man seemed fitting.
Nicky Fury didn’t live up to its true persona
Creator of Nick Fury, Stan Lee ideated the character as a tongue-in-cheek, lean figure styled with chic spy costumes. Years after Jackson was already signed in the MCU, Hasselhoff teased the discussion of his portrayal of Nick Fury once again. Talking to Bristol Bad Film Club in 2015, the 71-year-old star recalled Stan Lee’s praise for him and claimed that his Nick Fury was superior to the present one.
Hinting at his passion for still playing Nick Fury, Hasselhoff told Bristol Bad Film Club,
“I loved the character, I loved Lisa Rinna and all the cast that were terrific, but very true to the comic book which is very different to Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal. He’s a terrific actor and I love his work and him as a person, but it was a different Nick Fury than what was portrayed in the comic books. So I was happy to pay ode and tribute to the real Nick Fury the way it was written.
Additionally, the Baywatch actor felt that the current generation of superheroes failed to entertain as much as the past ones. The lack of humor and silliness in the superhero genre today restricts them from delivering what true superhero fans expect: fun. While the fun element could be debated, MCU has sought to grip fans on their curiosity for plots.