This is the lists of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters that appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
films. For the characters which mainly appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
, see the character page for that series
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Director Nicholas J. "Nick" Fury
S.H.I.E.L.D. Director/Colonel Nicholas J. "Nick" Fury
"Last time I trusted someone I lost an eye."
The Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
, a 'Level 10' agent, and campaigner for the Avengers Initiative. He comes to each of the heroes one by one, urging them to join S.H.I.E.L.D. in assembling a team to protect the world from its approaching threats. Despite being personally involved in recruiting them, though, he's a busy man and has many urgent responsibilities to juggle, including
dealing with his superiors, the World Security Council. Consequently, he can't always be trusted, though he can be counted on to do what he feels is right.
- Adaptational Heroism: While he's still cunning and manipulative, he's definitely not as much of an asshole or as morally ambiguous as the version he's based on.
- Anti-Hero: He's a practical, levelheaded man who's ultimately fighting for the good side, but he's also a pragmatic manipulator and isn't above deceiving or lying to The Avengers to achieve his goals, such as when the team discovers that he was keeping secrets about using the Tesseract to develop weapons of mass destruction. Even Captain America became appalled with him. This drives a lot of the conflict with him - he'll keep secrets, lie to the heroes' faces, and feel no shame whatever about it.
- Badass: As we see in The Avengers, he earned his position in S.H.E.I.L.D by being the most toughest MF without powers around, who can also manipulate you into chasing your tail.
- Badass Normal: Gods, aliens, a man with "breathtaking anger management issues"... all nothing he can't handle.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Aside from the obvious he's a type I leader; the mastermind behind the Avengers Initiative.
- Bald of Awesome: As Ultimate Nick Fury was based off of Samuel L. Jackson, he sports his actor's own bald dome.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Fury had no problem rushing outside to the Helicarrier to stop the jet carrying the World Security Council's nuclear payload from hitting New York City whilst it had been at high altitude. Presumably the Helicarrier's earlier issues lowered its altitude considerably from the previously-stated 30,000'.
- Big Damn Heroes: In his second Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appearance he pulls two - first helicoptering in to pull Fitz-Simmons out of the ocean at the last possible moment, second showing up in the nick of time as Coulson realises how badly he's outmatched by Garrett/Deathlok.
- Big Good: Of The Avengers. He brings The Team together and directs/manipulates/motivates them.
- The Cameo: His appearances in most of the MCU films have largely been this, save for Iron Man 2,The Avengers, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- He also makes one in the second episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- The Chessmaster: As with Phil Coulson, this seems to be a mandatory skill for upper-level SHIELD agents.
- Colonel Badass: His gravestone in The Winter Soldier identifies him as a Colonel, although it's left unclear as to branch of service in which Fury holds the rank.
- Cool Shades: At the end of The Winter Soldier, he trades in his Eyepatch of Power for these as he goes underground.
- Crazy-Prepared: Very much so. As an example, his SUV has armor plating tough enough to resist sustained fire from automatic weapons and pneumatic battering rams, an AI for remote driving, medical supplies, a combination machine gun/grenade launcher between the front seats, and can fly (sadly, that function was broken). He also had a retinal scan of his bad eye taken just in case someone deleted the original one from the databases.
- This persists in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He has off-the-grid facilities set up in the event S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, and has Coulson's badge embedded with the coordinates to one such base in case he might ever need to use it. He probably didn't predict Maria Hill betraying its location to the U.S. government in a misguided attempt to help Coulson. But it turns out he had another secret base, dubbed "the Playground.
- The Cynic: His exchange with Cap sums it up:
Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is, not as we'd like it to be.
- Da Chief: He's not called Nick FURY for nothing, as his patience can wear thin as his challenges mount.
- His answer for when Black Widow asked why Agent Sitwell couldn't be sent to tail the Hulk instead? "BECAUSE I GOT A GODDAMN ALIEN OBJECT IN NEW MEXICO, THAT'S WHY!"
- His exchange with Tony Stark in Iron Man 2:
Fury: You have become a problem; a problem I have to deal with. Contrary to your belief, you are not the center of my universe. I have bigger problems in the southwest region to deal with!
- His reaction after hearing the mobile command station he requisitioned for Coulson was totaled:
Fury: Really? Really, Coulson? Six days? It only took you six days to take a completely renovated piece of state of the art machinery and turn it into scrap?
Coulson: My team acted with my authority.
Fury: Don't talk to me about authority. Do you know how much this plane costs? It's got a bar! ...a really nice one. Talking to me about authority; you know I have the authority to downgrade your ass to a Winnebago!
- Dark Is Not Evil: Guy in a black leather jacket with a black eyepatch that drives a black car and is played by the always scary Samuel L. Jackson, but runs the Big Good organization that is SHIELD.
- Deadpan Snarker: Much of his dialogue is a low tone snark. See elsewhere in this folder.
- Death Glare: His general reaction to those he does not like, rather than shooting them. Not that that's any less deadly.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Played with. While he does have the respect and loyalty of his subordinates, he does not have any from his superiors in the World Security Council, who constantly question his decisions, mainly his reliance on super-heroes or "freaks" as they call them, even though more often than not he's in the right and gets results.
- Et Tu, Brute?: In the opening scene of The Avengers, when he was shot by Brainwashed and Crazy Hawkeye. He survives though, due to wearing a bulletproof vest. In The Winter Soldier, he's furious that his old friend Alexander Pierce has been part of HYDRA for decades. The real kicker is Pierce is the one who made Fury in charge of SHIELD.
- Eyepatch of Power: The reason the director of an M.I.B. agency is wearing an eyepatch could fuel any number of fanfics. All he's says about it is that "last time I trusted someone I lost an eye." The state of the eye, although not how he lost use of it, is revealed in The Winter Soldier. The short answer is that it's not good at all, but it's still useful. He burns the eyepatch along with the rest of his property as he goes off the grid, substituting a pair of Cool Shades.
- Faking the Dead: Fury is believed dead partway through The Winter Soldier after an assassination. Turns out he survived, though it was touch and go. At the close of the movie, Fury decides to continue pretending to be dead, so that he'll have more freedom to hunt down HYDRA remnants across the globe.
- Guest Star Party Member: His second Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appearance is this, as he serves as an Eleventh Hour Ranger for Coulson's team during their Final Battle with Garrett/Deathlok.
- Hidden Depths:
- Is genuinely devastated when Coulson is stabbed by Loki, and refers to the former as his one good eye.
- According to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he's married. Steve Rogers in particular is flabbergasted. Though considering the context, it was probably a joke or a cover. (Or a Mythology Gag, since Ultimate Nick Fury was married.)
- Humans Are Warriors: This was The Plan behind the Avengers; to tell the universe not to mess with humans.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Several times he takes unethical directions in performing actions he feels is right. Sometimes in big ways, such as authorizing plans for weapons of mass destruction powered by the Tesseract, to defend Earth from extra-terrestrial threats. Sometimes in small nudges, like Coulson's cards.
: Those cards, they were in Coulson's locker, not in his jacket. Nick Fury
: [The Avengers] needed a push in the right direction
. (sees the Quinjet takes off
) They found it.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Invoked and averted. When Steve is concerned about the implications of Project Insight, Fury quotes The Prince, and says that S.H.I.E.L.D. deals with things as they are rather than how they wish they could be. Ultimately this mindset is shaken to the core at the end of The Winter Soldier when HYDRA leader Pierce reveals that Fury's pragmatic attitude towards world security is what inspired him to take a Knight Templar approach himself and join HYDRA. It's pretty clear Fury is not proud of this development.
- Manipulative Bastard: Much like his comic counterpart.
: He is the
spy. His secrets
- Military Maverick: Goes on his gut instinct instead of going along with the World Security Council, which is why he trusted the Avengers to defeat Loki. This has been his approach since early in his career, as he was initially promoted to the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Alexander Pierce after he defied orders and rescued numerous hostages from Bogotá. However, it has the unintended affect of leading Pierce to believe that diplomacy is useless, and that the best decisions are done by force.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: The comic verse Fury had a more colorful get up.
- Nerves of Steel: Norse God with an alien army? Doesn't scare him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Trying to harness the power of the Tesseract (an Infinity Stone) led to an alien invasion of Earth. Granted the invasion would've happened anway but Fury's actions just accelerated it and they were very unprepared for the consequences.
- Official S.H.I.E.L.D. policy is to throw any alien or too advanced technology into the sun. That turns out to be a lie; instead it's all hoarded in the Fridge since Fury being a Combat Pragmatist clearly sees the advantage of superior tech. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapses there's nothing to stop HYDRA from taking as much as they can.
- Noodle Incident: According to Fury, the last time he trusted someone, he lost an eye. Exactly how he lost use of the eye is, as yet unrevealed.
- Old Master: He was Coulson and Garrett's SO back in the day.
- Only a Flesh Wound: With the help of some anesthetic he's able to drive a car with a broken arm, and survives having three Soviet slugs shot through his body by the Winter Soldier. Despite his heavy wounds, he comes back regardless in a few days to take down Pierce and Project INSIGHT.
Fury: Lacerated spinal column, cracked sternum, shattered collarbone, perforated liver, one hell of a headache.
Doctor: Don't forget your collapsed lung.
Fury: Let's not forget that. Otherwise, I'm good.
- Only Sane Man: Much like his comics counterpart, he generally comes across as the only person with his mind together in most of his scenes. Interestingly for this trope, instead of (or in addition to) being a constant annoyance to him, he uses his perspective and bluntness to help people and/or situations reach their potentials. The Avengers shows that he even plays this role to the World Security Council, his bosses.
- The Consultant reveals that in a world full of political power games, he and SHIELD are the only ones who are generally trying to handle the situation well.
- Parental Substitute: Samuel L. Jackson mentioned this was the type of relationship Fury and Black Widow have. It's most obvious in The Winter Soldier when Fury seemingly dies and she is really stricken as a result.
- Poisonous Friend: Could be considered this to Coulson, as revealed in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Coulson died after being stabbed by Loki, but Fury was determined to keep Coulson alive at any cost, regardless of how many surgeries it took or how much Coulson suffered as a result—analogous to pet owners who refuse to euthanize their pets. Taken further when we find out he had Melinda May filled in on the details and had her reporting to him to see if there were any side-effects. Then we find out the real reason for Coulson's team (and it was put together by May behind the scenes not Coulson) was to put him down in case of any ill side-effects. Then we find out that Coulson himself was the agent in charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. It was created in case an Avenger was seriously wounded, but Coulson was so horrified by the ill results of the project, he recommended it to be shut down, or he would quit S.H.I.E.L.D. Then Fury brought back to life anyway using T.A.H.I.TI.
- Properly Paranoid: Thanks to whatever lost him his eye and his grandfather's influence, "trust" for Fury is "will make do with planning for possibility of betrayal in the future." This attitude, and the Crazy-Prepared mentality it results in is a major reason the world is saved in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Pungeon Master: Downplayed; he means these statements seriously, but he often makes puns alluding to his single eye, i.e. "Eyes on me", "You need to keep both eyes open", "I've got my eye on you", etc.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He will get the job done without resorting to extreme measures but morally ambigious measures are on the table. See Only Sane Man.
- Retired Badass: The events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shake him up enough that he retires as Director of SHIELD and gives the position, and the job of rebuilding it, to Coulson, whom he believes best embodies the core tenet of SHIELD, protection of the innocent. However, he states that he'll still be out there helping out independently, or, in his words, he'll be everywhere.
- Scary Black Man: The dome, the eyepatch, the position, the fury, yes.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: He's more than willing to openly defy the World Security Council when they make harsh calls.
World Security Council: Director Fury, the council has made a decision.
Nick Fury: I recognize that the council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it.
- Shout-Out: His tombstone in Winter Soldier has the first line of Samuel L Jackson's Ezekiel 25:17 speech from Pulp Fiction on it.
- Sophisticated as Hell: See his quote above Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right.
- The Sponsor: Mostly to Tony and Steve. The Manual says he was at Tony's AA meetings.
- Unwitting Pawn: He, SHIELD and several other agents are revealed to have been this, with Fury being personally selected by the defacto boss of HYDRA, Alexander Pierce.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: A heroic version, as Project Insight was meant to identify and quell potential threats before they became real threats, despite the "gun-to-the-head-of-the-world" method of enforcement. However the people financing it had different objectives...
- He had Coulson put in charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I, originally created to heal or revive any seriously injured or dead Avenger, which turn out to have horrific side effects. How horrific? Coulson resigned as T.A.H.I.T.I. director and had it shut down. When he died, Fury went ahead and resurrected him anyway.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gets a lot of these from Captain America, Coulson, and numerous others due to his trust issues and morally ambigious ways of doing things. For instance, even though Coulson recommended that Project T.A.H.I.T.I. be shut down due to the horrific side-effects, Fury later had Coulson brought back to life using the same process.
Coulson: Stupid, stupid, stupid! And very cruel! And stupid!
Agent Maria Hill
Agent Maria Hill
"We get into a situation like this again, what happens then?"
Nick Fury's aide and an espionage S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Clear-minded and pragmatic, she carries out his orders, though his seemingly reckless approach doesn't increase her trust of him.
- Action Girl: As shown in her first few minutes on screen.
- By Captain America: The Winter Soldier, she definitely qualifies. She saves Nat, Steve, and Sam from imminent execution, as well as very casually shooting two soldiers who were trying to sneak up on her, without even getting up from her chair.
- Affirmative Action Girl: It doesn't really balance it out, but it does help to decrease Black Widow's Smurfette rating.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's usually serious and has dark brown hair.
- Badass: Number Two of SHIELD and an impressive markswoman and hand-to-hand combatant.
- Badass Normal: Would have to be in order for Nick Fury to trust her to use a truck and a small team to chase after Loki and the Brainwashed and Crazy Hawkeye.
- By-the-Book Cop: This creates friction with her and Fury due to his more Military Maverick style, and several times she's filed reports to the WSC criticizing his actions. Even after she develops undying loyalty to Fury, she still retains this: notably she's not in any particular mood to join Fury or Coulson in their fight against HYDRA.
- Call Back: During Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. she says she's helping Stark "privatize global security" which connects to something Tony said back in Iron Man 2, only he said "world peace."
- Casting Gag/Development Gag: Cobie Smulders in a superhero movie directed by Joss Whedon? A long time ago, this team-up was planned for a DC film.
- Communications Officer: The link between Fury and multiple SHIELD operations.
- The Cynic: In contrast to the more idealistic Coulson. When S.H.I.E.L.D. goes bust, she seems more resigned to give up the fight against HYDRA, be content to work for Tony Stark, and play ball with the government as much as she can. Coulson stills prefers to fight on, even if he has no official support or sanction.
- Deadpan Snarker: At times.
: [simulating an eyepatch while looking at two screens]
How does Fury even see these? Maria Hill
: He turns.
- Despair Event Horizon: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s collapses seems to be this for her. She goes to work for Tony Stark; but she briefly joins Coulson in order to get Skye back, but that's it. She tells Couslon "there is no S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore" after he asks her for backup to go after the Centipede sector of HYDRA. She tells him he's on his own and goes back to her new civillian life.
- Dressing as the Enemy: One of the mooks that guard the arrested Cap, Black Widow and Falcon turns out to be Hill in disguise, about to save them. She makes a snarky comment on the helmet being uncomfortable.
- Establishing Character Moment: Not long after her introduction, after hearing Nick Fury get shot, she leaves with a small team and a truck, to chase after Loki, and the Brainwashed and Crazy crew of an unnamed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Hawkeye, and Erik Selvig to try to take back the Tesseract without even being ordered. She ends up with her truck facing the opposition head on, with them firing at each other through windshields until she is forced to move away, surviving a crash not long after.
- Guest Star Party Member: In her second Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appearance, she assists Coulson's team as they attempt to recover their kidnapped communications specialist and their stolen plane.
- Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: She had to undergo a Congressional hearing after S.H.I.E.L.D. was taken down in The Winter Soldier.
- It's Personal: In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., learning that Ward is a traitor when she personally vetted him is enough for her to immediately turn on Talbot when she had previously been helping him.
- Mission Control: For the helicarrier assault team in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- The Mole: For the World Security Council in deleted scenes, though she sides with Fury in the end.
- In a blink and miss it moment, as she is trying to shut down the "rogue bird," you can see the WSC override has locked her out of the system.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Dark blue, actually, but still looks like black from a distance.
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe, Coulson loves to poke fun over her horrible porcupine drawing. He's also miffed she joined Stark Industries instead of joining his team, calling her a "sellout".
- Number Two: To Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Scully Box: It's hard to see in some shots, but Hill's boots have significant heel to them. Most likely due the fact that while Cobie Smulders is fairly tall at 5 foot 9, she's frequently next to Samuel L. Jackson, who's 6 foot 2.
- Secret Keeper: She was one of the few people who knew Fury was alive from the beginning.
- Sellout: Coulson calls her one for joining the private sector instead of joint Coulson's team.
- Spanner in the Works: Led the US military to Fury's secret base in Canada, interrupting Coulson's rescue attempt of Skye and denying his team any further use of it as a refuge.
- The Stoic: She usually behaves quite seriously and professionally.
- Terrible Artist: Her attempt to draw a porcupine in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended up looking to Coulson like "a poop, with knives sticking out of it".
- Undying Loyalty: By the time of The Winter Soldier, she's developed this towards Fury. She becomes The Lancer after Coulson's "death", firmly supporting Fury's actions. She's one of the few people he trusted with the truth of his survival.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- She gets this from Coulson on multiple occasions: covering up his resurrection and then leading the US military to the secret Providence base.
- Coulson is also not very happy for joining the Private Sector instead of his team, calling her a "sellout".
Secretary of Defense Alexander Pierce
Secretary of Defense Alexander Pierce
"To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down, and that makes enemies."
An old friend of Nick Fury's and Secretary of Defense. A ranking member on the World Security Council.
See his character tropes on the Captain America sub-page
The World Security Council
The World Security Council
A secretive international group in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury reports directly to them... but he doesn't always agree with them.
- Character Death: Alexander Pierce executes three members of the council when they try to stop his plan. Only Ms. Hawley (Jenny Agutter) may still be alive.
- Cosmopolitan Council: International Group. Out-of-universe, this is why the Pentagon didn't provide assistance during production.
- Everyone Has Standards: Even they find Pierce's HYDRA scheme repellant. When Pierce gave one of them the hypothetical situation of their daughter being held at gunpoint by terrorists, about to be executed, and he could stop it with a flick of a switch, Pierce asks him if would. The member retorts, "Not if it was your switch."
- Face Framed in Shadow: You actually can see their faces, but it takes a bit of squinting.
- Flat Character: The reason they all share one folder? We know nothing about them individually.
- Fantastic Racism: They distrust the Avengers on the basis of them being an untested "handful of freaks". They also initially refer to Loki as merely "the Asgard", until Nick Fury corrects them. They also refer to Captain America as a "costumed mercenary".
- Lawful Stupid: Hence why Fury often elects to ignore their orders.
- Misaimed Fandom:
- In-Universe. The WSC wanted the Abomination on the Avengers instead of the Hulk, since they viewed Blonsky as a war hero and blamed Harlem's destruction on Banner. It takes a sneaky Batman Gambit from SHIELD to have their request for Blonsky to be denied.
- Later, Steve Rogers finds they've been collecting old HYDRA tech, as they've been studying them so they too can create Tesseract powered weaponry.
- Nuke 'em: They decide to solve the Chitauri problem with a nuke.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mostly to Nick Fury, hence why he he elects to ignore their decisions.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Whoever they are, not much is known about them.
- Override Command: The same override command that the pilot receives to launch the nuke locked Maria Hill out of the system before she could override the launch.
- Shown Their Work: When they decide to nuke Manhattan, they launch two jets just in case somebody manages to stop one. Such redundancy is standard real-life procedure when "delivering a package".
- The Smurfette Principle: Hawley is the only woman in the council.
- Straw Character: They exist to make Fury look right in spite of his Military Maverick attitude, most notably when they opt to immediately nuke New York rather than send in more military support, give the Avengers more time, or anything else.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Firing a nuclear missile at New York City to halt the Chitauri invasion.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Councilwoman Hawley is not at the meeting in Winter Soldier that proves fatal for the other three members of the council; she is replaced by Black Widow in disguise. The whereabouts of the real Councilwoman Hawley are not revealed.
Introduced in the movies
Agent Phil Coulson
Agent Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Agent Natalia Alianovna "Natasha" Romanoff / Black Widow
A key agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the only female Avenger. She kept surveillance on everyone from Iron Man to the Hulk, and is an extraordinary close-quarters fighter, but her determination to do good seems to come from the aftermath of an amoral past.
- The Ace: Heavily implied to be S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best agent. When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to establish a new character as especially competent, a character will say "X is the best since Romanov".
- Action Girl: Aside from her intellect, this is her main power. While she has no superhuman abilities, Natasha is easily the most skilled hand-to-hand combatant in The Avengers.
- Adorkable: In The Winter Soldier, she growls "Shall we play a game?" and begins to explain the reference to Steve (who, amusingly enough, already understood it). She also sends work-related text messages with smileys.
- Affectionate Nickname: Clint calls her "Nat" in The Avengers, a sign of their more intimate relationship. Steve does it too at least once in The Winter Soldier, showing they've formed a close friendship.
- Affirmative Action Girl: To Pepper Potts in Iron Man 2, although it does not balance it out.
- Animal Motifs: Downplayed. Besides her alias, the only things referencing black widows are her weapon "Widow's Bite" and the red hourglass symbol in her belt.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Of the Animal Alias variety.
- Anti-Hero: Especially prominent in The Winter Soldier, where she contrasts with Steve.
- The Atoner: Hinted at in The Avengers and made all the more evident in Winter Soldier. One of her main motivations for doing what she does is to make up for her past as an assassin ("wipe the red from my ledger", as she puts it) by doing good. Despite her often amoral actions, she feels her work for S.H.I.E.L.D. and for the Avengers, is accomplishing that. She's legitimately distraught when she discovers that instead of doing good, all this time she had been doing HYDRA's dirty work instead, though in the end it shows a bit of character development that she's ultimately able to shrug off the possibility that every bit of her tainted past will become public knowledge.
- Badass: Besides her extraordinary fighting skills, she's also an accomplished spy, thus she uses both fighting and cunning to defeat her enemies. Her badassery has even reached memetic levels in-universe, see Memetic Badass.
- Badass Normal: A former assassin with gadgets, guns, good aim and even better close combat skills. That's still enough to qualify her as an Avenger.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: As a former bad guy, she's more open to performing morally ambiguous actions. For instance, when conducting a High-Altitude Interrogation of Agent Sitwell, their captive scoffs at the possibility of Captain America throwing him off the edge. Cap admits he won't do it... but Black Widow will.
- Bash Brothers: In The Avengers, she clearly has had this dynamic with Hawkeye for however long they've worked together, as shown in the movie's final battle and the footage from a previous mission.
- Birds of a Feather: With Clint Barton because they're both assassins.
- Broken Pedestal: How she feels towards SHIELD in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, she had joined them thinking that it would help her redeem some of the bad things she did. The revelation that SHIELD was an Unwitting Pawn and front for HYDRA shatters that completely.
- The Chick: As part of the Avengers. Next to Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner (most of the time), she's the most levelheaded and put together of the team, and is constantly trying to encourage them to work together.
- Child Soldier: Started working as a spy from a very young age. Would have been only 6 or 7 when the KGB was dissolved, if the MCU goes by real time. Agent Carter reveals there was an entire school dedicated to training young girls as agents, it was even called the Black Widow Training Ground.
Banner: And your actress buddy, is she a spy too? Do they start that young?
Romanoff: I did.
- Code Name: "Black Widow", though it's used only a couple of times.
- Color Motif: Red and black are the colors usually associated with her.
- Combat Pragmatist: When her fight with the Brainwashed and Crazy Hawkeye starts getting rough, she resorts to biting his hand.
- Consummate Liar: When Nick Fury commissioned his own lie detector, he specifically wanted one Black Widow couldn't beat. Whether that actually happened, he isn't saying.
- Cunning Linguist: Fluent in English, Russian, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Latin, and various other languages, according to Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.
- Dark Action Girl: She used to be an assassin for the Soviets prior to doing her Heel-Face Turn.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Loki hints at a number of awful things in her past and says that her ledger is 'gushing red'.
- Deadpan Snarker: Emphasis on the deadpan.
Romanoff: [after tricking Loki into revealing his plan] Thank you for your cooperation.
- Deuteragonist: Of Winter Soldier next to Captain America, the guy in the title.
- Fake American: In-Universe, as explained in The Avengers.
Romanoff: I'm Russian, or I used to be.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: The House Romanoff was a big deal.
- Fiery Redhead: Though she is usually calm, she is still a rather aggressive fighter.
- Fingerless Gloves: She wears the badass kind as part of her spy uniform.
- Foil: To Steve Rogers. She lies for a living and he can't tell a lie to save his life, but their partnership in The Winter Soldier shows that they're still both agents with issues adjusting to their current lives.
- Genre Savvy: She knows better than to let her guard down toward the brainwashed Hawkeye after he sounds like he's surrendering. Natasha simply punches him again in the head.
- Good Is Not Nice: In Iron Man 2 and in regards to Tony in general, with a tendency to try and make people back down when she thinks she ought to be dealing with something herself, seemingly more or less because Tony requires a more forceful personality around to keep him in check.
- Good Is Not Soft: In The Avengers, she's rather respectful and polite to the people she has to work with - even Tony - and shows her lighter side more often, especially to Banner who she is assigned to keep tabs on. However, she's still extremely ruthless when it comes to doing what needs to be done, make no mistake.
- Guile Hero: Her primary interrogation method is manipulating the egos of her targets to make them think they have her in a state of weakness, so they are more free while gloating. Just ask Loki.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: An inversion, at least when compared with fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and partner) Hawkeye. Natasha is a crack shot, but she's an even better martial artist.
- Heel-Face Turn: She used to be a True Neutral assassin, but changed her ways after Hawkeye chose not to kill her when on a mission to do so.
- Hello, Nurse!: During Iron Man 2, Happy almost crashed because he was watching her getting changed into her Spy Catsuit.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: In Age of Ultron, which required hiring two extra stunt doubles.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Her M.O. Her interrogation techniques rely not on questioning someone, but on making them feel in control and letting them do their own talking. Her fights usually involve using something of her opponent's (the chair they tied her to, their own weapons, even their shadow) to make her moves.
- Improvised Weapon: From beating down her captors with the chair they tied her to, to working out how to fire a Chitauri blast lance just by grabbing one. There's a theme here...
- I Owe You My Life: To Hawkeye since he chose to spare her.
- In-Series Nickname: "Nat" or "'Tasha," by Clint, Steve, and Fury.
- Legacy Character: Agent Carter reveals there was a Black Widow school where young girls were trained to become agents as early as the 1930s
- Made of Iron: Takes a backhanded blow to the abs by the Hulk and gets up once her fear and shock wears off, with a limp for only short time. Then again, this could easily be pure determination at work.
- Male Gaze: Her rear gets a lot of camera shots, especially in The Avengers.
- Meaningful Name: Meta-example. The redheaded Natasha is played by Scarlett Johansson.
- Memetic Badass: In-Universe. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she is the go-to example of badassery in the Secret Agent department, just like Melinda May is for combat expertise.
- Mission Control: Briefly during Tony and Rhodey's battle against the drones and Vanko in Iron Man 2.
- Ms. Fanservice: Has a Lingerie Scene in Iron Man 2 and a Bare Your Midriff moment in The Winter Soldier. Despite this, she quips that her bullet scar on her navel means "bye-bye bikinis"; Steve lampshades back “Yeah, I bet you look terrible in them now.”
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Averted. Her costume has always been black. Inverted in Iron Man 2, as her uniform is actually blue in that one.
- Not So Stoic:
- Her run-in with the Hulk makes her lapse into a brief state of terror and she's shown sweating and trembling in fear more than any other member of the team. She admits to Hawkeye that "magic and monsters" are not something either of them were trained to cope with.
- She also cries in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when she thinks Fury is dead. In a lighter example, she seems to have warmed to Steve by of that film, as she cracks a few jokes and makes film references.
- Odd Friendship: With Steve Rogers by The Winter Soldier. She's a chameleon-like spy and he's a straightforward soldier.
- Older Than They Look: Possibly. In the comics, she's nearly as old as Steve and on a less efficient version of the serum. Her birth year was stated as 1984 in the Winter Soldier, but the fact that she refers to having joined SHIELD from the KGB suggests that she was active during the Cold War. Lampshaded in Iron Man 2:
Tony: You have a quiet reserve. I don't know, you have an old soul.
- However, various interviews with Scarlett Johansson about Natasha's past suggest that she is just as young as she looks.
- One-Man Army: Tons of guards blocking the way to Vanko? No problem. Tied to a chair, surrounded by mobsters. No problem. Extra-dimensional aliens invading New York? Slightly more tiring, but still no problem. Honestly, if it takes The Incredible Hulk to put you on the defensive you qualify as this, and her ability to escape from said beast with a twisted ankle simply drives it home.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- After seeing her combat skills in Iron Man 2 and early in The Avengers, her constantly controlled terror in the presence of Bruce Banner establishes just how dangerous the Hulk is.
- Also in The Winter Soldier with the titular antagonist. With the above example, she at least fires a few bullets before running. When she comes up against the Winter Soldier, she just runs.
- Platonic Life Partners:
- Hawkeye is her closest confidant, but the two are, at present, just friends. Loki sneeringly asks if it's love: she shoots the idea down as 'for children'.
- She becomes this with Cap during The Winter Soldier. They open up emotionally to each other and end up as close friends.
- Professional Killer: Before joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Red Baron: According to The Avengers, she is "the famous Black Widow" to post-Soviet Union countries.
- Red-Headed Heroine: She's the only Avenger with red hair.
- Sensual Slavs: She 'used to be' Russian but when she does speak in Russian, it's very seductive as per the character.
- Sexy Secretary: As part of her Stark Industries cover. She's first hired as Tony's personal assistant, and later becomes Pepper's, as she is the new owner of the company.
- She-Fu: Utilizes a lot of flips and slides in her fighting style, though she does also use other kinds of close combat.
- Shipper on Deck: With Steve and Agent 13, though she spends most of The Winter Soldier trying to get him a date in general.
- Signature Move: Either strangling or throwing someone to the ground by wrapping her thighs around their neck. Courtesy of Scarlett Johansson's usual stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker. Agent Carter reveals this move was part of the training program.
- Smart People Know Latin: One of the many languages she speaks, as she proves to Stark in Iron Man 2.
Romanoff: Fallaces sunt rerum species.note
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female Avenger, though not the only Action Girl.
- Spy Catsuit: This is her 'work outfit' so to speak.
- The Stoic: Has a generally dour, serious demeanour.
- Super Wrist Gadget: "Widow's Bite", two prototype electricity weapons that fire from her wrists. She uses these several times to take down Chitauri footsoldiers.
- Superhero Packing Heat: Has a pair of handguns on her, but she uses her hand-to-hand combat skills more often.
- Territorial Smurfette: Subverted. Tony Stark expects this to happen with her and Pepper, but the two of them get along fine. Pepper takes it as a sign of Tony's arrogance that he'd assume another Love Triangle would form over him.
- Undying Loyalty: Despite being a morally ambiguous spy, she has immense loyalty to Nick Fury and later, to Captain America: best demonstrated with her willingness to make all of SHIELD's secrets public - including the atrocities in her own past - to destroy HYDRA because that was Steve's plan.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: It's hard to tell if her relationship with Hawkeye is this or Platonic Life Partners.
- Waif-Fu: Her preferred combat style. In Iron Man 2, she blows through a building with a combination of non-lethal weaponry and improbable martial arts - all in the time it takes Happy Hogan to take down one guard with conventional boxing technique.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Noticeably terrified of the Hulk, which gives her an uncharacteristic lack of composure in his presence. Something Banner picks up on immediately. Worse still, Natasha's fears actually come true when she finds an enraged Hulk rampaging directly at her and it's as scary as you'd image. No-one would really hold this against her.
- Woman in Black: Her spy uniform is black in The Avengers and The Winter Soldier, and she qualifies as an Anti-Hero. Notably, after Tony finds out that she's the Black Widow in Iron Man 2, she starts dressing only in black in her Natalie identity too.
- The Worf Effect:
- Somewhat downplayed but she falls victim to this against The Winter Soldier as she spends their entire fight running away from him, though she does sucker punch him several times. She is shown under much greater stress against him that she ever was against Loki or the Chitauri.
- She also does this emotionally; as the most unflappable member of the Avengers, something's gone horribly wrong if she's, well, flapped. Such as a portal spewing alien armies into New York - or the Winter Soldier. Which is, admittedly, a perfectly sensible precaution.
- You Just Told Me: Her specialty. Her favored means of interrogation is getting someone else to interrogate her, and their questions reveal their intentions and/or plans. Pulls this on the Russian smuggler and on Loki.
Agent Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Agent Clint Barton / Hawkeye
"If I put an arrow through Loki's eye socket, I'd sleep better, I s'pose."
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the greatest marksman in the world. He recruited Natasha Romanov into S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of killing her like he was ordered, creating a bond between the two of them. He is assigned by Nick Fury to keep an eye on dangerous operations, like the Tesseract project.
- The Ace: Considered to be the best marksman in the world.
- Archer Archetype: He prefers to fight from a distance, seen in his image quote and his role in the climax of The Avengers.
- The Atoner: Briefly following breaking out of Loki's Mind Control.
- Badass: Badass enough to almost single-handedly bring the Helicarrier out of the sky using his trick arrows.
- Badass Normal: When it comes down to it, he's not superhuman at all. His archery skills are just that good. This is why he can take down legions of high tech aliens.
Agent Jasper Sitwell
Agent Jasper Sitwell
"I could do it. I make a great patsy."
A Level Six, then later Level Eight agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Like Coulson, he is frequently sent across the globe to handle what Fury can't.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, he's a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent through and through. In The Winter Soldier, however, he's revealed as an agent of HYDRA.
- All There in the Manual: Until his story significance in The Winter Soldier, it's mainly in the shorts that he had any role at all.
- Badass: We finally get to see it come Item 47. Sitwell captures Benny and Claire by moving into the hotel room next to theirs and playing extremely loud music so that they'll come over to complain. He then has to fight off Claire while struggling to handcuff her husband and while she tries to shoot him with an alien BFG.
- Bald of Awesome: Only known case in SHIELD besides Nick Fury, the resident Bald Black Leader Guy.
- Bald of Evil: As revealed in The Winter Soldier.
- Bit Character: His appearances in Thor and The Avengers are very brief, and he tends to play a larger role in the shorts. Winter Soldier is the first film where Sitwell plays a major role.
- Communications Officer: His role in the films, especially Item 47.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: The Winter Soldier throws him in front of a truck.
- Evil Counterpart: Ends up being one to Coulson. Coulson is a loyal SHIELD agent and a fanboy of Captain America. Sitwell was an undercover HYDRA agent and called for Steve to be shot with no remorse.
- Hero Antagonist: In Item 47, where he's ordered to hunt down Benny and Claire.
- Locked Out of the Loop:
- Knife Nut: He whips one out and... used it to cut Benny and Claire's bonds.
- The Lancer: To Coulson. Following Thor he is frequently seen at his side.
- The Men in Black: As a SHIELD agent he seems to fit the bill pretty well, looking into stolen alien technology and working to keep it under wraps.
- The Mole: He's one for HYDRA.
- Not So Stoic: He keeps staying calm even after being taken prisoner by Captain America and Black Widow, not taking their threat to throw him off a skyscraper seriously... until after they do throw him off, then catch him and imply they'll just keep doing that until he talks or they get bored. The near-death experience is too much for Sitwell, and he spills the beans.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He's says he does "a great patsy", and offers to do it so S.H.I.E.L.D. can sabotage General Ross's meeting with Fury. Turns out he really does, having tricked the majority of SHIELD.
- Obsessed with Food: He has a tendency to bring up what the food is like at the places he visits during otherwise serious meetings.
- Oh, Crap: After he starts spilling his guts to Steve, Natasha, and Sam, Sitwell stops talking for a moment and remarks "Pierce is gonna kill me". Sure enough, the Winter Soldier kills him a few minutes later.
- Pet the Dog: With the revelation that Sitwell is HYDRA, his sparing of Benny and Claire becomes this. It then becomes Harsher in Hindsight when you realize that Benny was involved in the R&D group that would design the helicarriers that HYDRA would use to kill 20 million people.
- Pragmatic Villainy: After discovering that he was HYDRA's, his past more charitable actions (including sparing Benny and Claire and preventing Abomination from becoming an Avenger) look more darkly practical rather than morally motivated.
- Race Lift: In the comics Sitwell is Caucasian and blond, while in the films he's bald and Honduran-American.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He comes off as a little more laid-back Red Oni compared to the stuffier Coulson's Blue Oni.
- The Smart Guy: One of the smartest agents SHIELD deploys.
- The Stoic: Sitwell has some Nerves of Steel, and rarely shows fear. For instance, when caught aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship that had been hijacked by Ruthless Modern Pirates, all the other hostages were frightened but Sitwell looked mostly bored. His calmness wasn't unfounded, as just before a pirate was about to kill him, said pirate dropped dead by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: After being informed of the World Security Council's decision to put the Abomination on the Avengers, he and Coulson start plotting a way to stop this. Though given that Sitwell is HYDRA, he was probably more concerned that Blonsky was too unstable.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!/Exact Words: Sitwell is ordered to neutralize Benny and Claire. He does so by hiring them to S.H.I.E.L.D., putting them to work on reverse-engineering Chitauri weapons.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Like all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, he dresses very well.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of Coulson after his "death". While he's appeared beforehand in the films, Item 47 hinted he would take Phil's place as the everyman of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Blake even accidentally calls him "Coulson" due to force of habit. However, this was negated when Coulson was revealed to be alive. Ironically, in the comics Sitwell has been around since the 60's, whereas Coulson is a very recent Canon Immigrant, so you'd think it would be the other way around.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In regards to High-Altitude Interrogation. He thinks it's the version where the hero holds him over the edge, threatening to drop and he knows that Steve is too much of a Nice Guy to threaten an unarmed man like that. He's right, but the Black Widow isn't.
- You Have Failed Me: Killed by the Winter Soldier for selling out HYDRA to Captain America and his allies.
Agent Brock Rumlow
Agent Sharon Carter / Agent 13
Introduced in Marvel One Shots
Agent Felix Blake
Agent Felix Blake
"Your orders, Agent Sitwell: retrieve the weapons tech and neutralize the two outlaws."
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in charge of surveillance. After Benny and Clyde
get on the organization's radar due to their robberies, he tasks Sitwell with retrieving the alien Arm Cannon
known as Item 47.
- Amazon Chaser: Tries to flirt with May while they're on a mission.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Psychics? Pfft, nonsense. Astrology? There's something to that. May calls him on this.
- All There in the Manual: His first name is only shown for a split-second in "The End of the Beginning".
- Badass Bureaucrat: Despite appearing a mere supervisor instead of a field agent, he fights Deathlok with admirable ability and even has the foresight to replace his weapon's ammunition with a tracker beacon so the other agents would be able to track him down.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite coming off as gruff and unpleasant he honestly tries to reason with Deathlok, promising to help free him if he'll call off his attack. In addition, while Sitwell is a HYDRA traitor, he is not.
- Locked Out of the Loop: His Not So Stoic entry shows he isn't Level 7, since he is unaware that Coulson survived his attempted murder by Loki. He got a promotion sometime between then and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Must Have Caffeine:
- The first thing he does when granted an assistant is tell her to make him coffee.
- When given particularly difficult missions, his first reaction is to reach for more coffee.
- The Men in Black: In charge of the retrieval of Item 47, though Sitwell does the field work.
- Not So Stoic: He noticeably quiets up a bit when he accidentally calls Agent Sitwell "Coulson". It turns out even he misses him.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: In "FZZT" he insists that S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol be followed to the letter: if "infected cargo" is present on the Bus it has to be jettisoned into the ocean. Coulson's counter-argument that said "cargo" is a human being and fellow agent who still might survive her illness apparently has little impact on him.
- Sinister Surveillance: He's technically on the side of good, but he comes across as rather sinister regardless.
- Smug Snake: He's not a villain per se, but he's very confident in his own abilities.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He was hospitalized after an encounter with Deathlok, and after S.H.I.E.L.D. was turned upside down it's not shown what became of him.
- You, Get Me Coffee: Tries this at the end of Item 47, but is stymied by the fact that his new assistant can't make coffee.
Benjamin "Benny" Pollack
Benjamin "Benny" Pollack
"I hope you are right..."
Portrayed By: Jesse Bradford
One half of the Outlaw Couple
that formed following the Battle of New York. After getting pitched the crazy idea to rob banks with his girlfriend, he went along with it reluctantly, but deep down is grateful for the chance to finally live out their dreams.
- Anti-Villain: Just an ordinary guy reluctantly robbing banks to fix his life's problems.
- Boxed Crook: At the end of Item 47, he's given a job at SHIELD in their Research and Development department's "Think Tank" due to his skill with Chitauri weaponry.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He manages to make the Chitauri gun work, while SHIELD hasn't made any progress with it.
- Heel-Face Turn: Bank robber to SHIELD employee.
- Henpecked Husband: Pre-husband, as Claire is his girlfriend, but she still definitely shows she's the boss.
- Outlaw Couple: With Claire; they rob banks.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: In Item 47, he wears a black ski-mask, while Claire's is pink.
- Shout-Out: His name is a Shout-Out to Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde.
- Super Weapon, Average Joe: Ordinary human with no connection to anything super except for the Chitauri gun.
- Villain Protagonist: A bank robber starring in Item 47
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Since SHIELD is revealed to be infiltrated by HYDRA all along, his fate after SHIELD Civil War has yet to be revealed.
Portrayed By: Lizzy Caplan
Claire's had a hard life of bills, rejected dreams, and alien invasions
. But when a Chitauri gun literally falls out of the sky as if as a present, she sees the chance to finally take matters into their own hands and gain the means to live like they want to.
- Anti-Villain: Just an average woman with bills to pay who thinks she could solve her problems with bank robbing.
- Boxed Crook: At the end of Item 47, she's given a job at SHIELD as Agent Blake's new assistant.
- Deus ex Machina: She thinks of the Chitauri gun as this. After all, it literally fell out of the sky.
- Heel-Face Turn: Bank robber to SHIELD employee.
- Outlaw Couple: With Benny. Bank robbing was her idea.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: In Item 47, she wears a pink ski-mask, while Benny wears a black one.
- Shout-Out: Her name is a Shout-Out to Clyde of Bonnie and Clyde.
- Super Weapon, Average Joe: Ordinary human with no connection to anything super except for the Chitauri gun.
- Villain Protagonist: A bank robber starring in Item 47
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Since SHIELD is revealed to be infiltrated by HYDRA all along, her fate after SHIELD Civil War has yet to be revealed.
- Women Are Wiser: Thinks of herself because she's the one taking chances and opportunities to find a better life.