Of course, that isn’t exactly news to anyone who stayed through Iron Man’s closing credits to see the sting, in which Jackson shows up as the gruff, one-eyed leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., and recruits Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark into his Avengers initiative.

The intention was clear: that Jackson, cast because of the uncanny resemblance he bore to the Ultimates version of the classic Marvel character (he’s white in regular continuity), was set to play Fury in future instalments of Iron Man, The Avengers, Captain America, Stilt-Man, you name it.

But over the past few weeks, Jackson’s continued commitment to Fury and Marvel’s various projects had seemed in doubt, with the actor himself openly admitting that a deal had not been struck, with the rumour persisting that Marvel Entertainment were being more than a little parsimonious.

But the piggy bank has finally been opened, it would seem, for Marvel today announced that Jackson has signed a deal to play Fury in the forthcoming Iron Man 2 and – wait for it – up to nine other projects, including a possible SHIELD movie, once again showing that Marvel’s plans for its back catalogue are very much of the long-term variety.

First up, though, is Jon Favreau’s sequel to last year’s smash hit, Iron Man. No word yet on how big Jackson’s part will be (steady…), but we’re looking forward to seeing the great man get to do more than growl a few lines this time around. Filming starts on Iron Man 2 in the spring.