Thu
Apr 18 2013 9:30am

Story Details Starting to Leak Out For Captain America 2 & Guardians of the Galaxy

Captain America The Winter Soldier Guardians of the Galaxy Avengers 2

The promotional build-up to the release of Iron Man 3 has left a lot of clues about Marvel’s “Phase 2” slate of movies, giving us a better idea about the state of our favorite Avengers leading up to the 2015 release of Avengers 2. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has already leaked plans about what happens in “Phase 3” after 2015, and this week a new casting development and an interview with Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely inadvertently revealed what Captain America 2 will focus on.

Spoilers ahead.

First off, it’s just been announced that The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker has been cast in Guardians of the Galaxy as a character who wasn’t originally listed as part of the team. For those unfamiliar with the comic book itself (i.e. everyone), the recent Guardians of the Galaxy team is entirely different from the characters that starred in the initial 1990 ongoing comic. Rooker has been cast as Yondu, a “blue-skinned ‘noble savage’ [sic] from the planet Centauri IV” whose race has been devastated by the Badoon. (Merge 300 and Avatar into one movie and Yondu would basically be the main character.)

Captain America The Winter Soldier Guardians of the Galaxy Avengers 2

The addition of this character to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy film suggests two interesting things:

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy movie might set up the notion that the Guardians are more of an ideal than a team comprised of specific members. The presence of a “former” Guardian implies that the forming of Guardians teams is somewhat generational and reactive. This theme could be instrumental in paving the way for a larger Avengers movie universe by getting new viewers used to the notion of the Avengers having a rotating cast, as it does in the comics.
  • Yondu’s sworn enemies, the Badoon, are a violent alien race in the Marvel comics universe. If you replace them with the Chitauri from the Avengers movie, though, suddenly you have an easy way to provide Avengers 2-related backstory about the looming threat of them and their leader Thanos.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely talked the upcoming movie and their writing process in a recent junket for Pain & Gain. The pair, who are also script-doctoring Thor: The Dark World, had a lot to say about the direction of the title character in Captain America 2.

Via Collider:

[Black Widow is] a great—both in attitude and in profession—a great contrast to Steve Rogers.  She’s incredibly modern, not very reverent, and just very straightforward whereas Steve is, you know a man from the 40s.  He’s not a boy scout, but he is reserved and has a moral center, whereas her moral center moves.

Coming after the first movie and coming after The Avengers, there’s now stuff we don’t have to do in terms of, “Let’s give you the idea of who this guy is and he wears this outfit.”  Everybody knows now, so you can hit the ground running much more quickly than we did in the first one when we had to spend 40 minutes introducing the skinny guy.  I think it allows for a much faster pace and a tenser movie.

Captain America The Winter Soldier Guardians of the Galaxy Avengers 2

Marvel Studios has stated before that the second Captain America movie will deal with how Cap acclimates to the modern world, and that we’ll get the story of what SHIELD is up to predominantly from this movie. In addition, Robert Redford was recently cast as a maybe/sorta leader within SHIELD, and the reveal of the title of the movie last year immediately confirmed that Cap will find his World War 2 buddy Bucky Barnes returned as the enigmatic (and partially psychotic) Winter Soldier.

These elements, combined with Black Widow’s major role, are a lot to juggle, but in my mind they all play in to one overarching theme for Captain America: The Winter Soldier:

Captain America will lose his faith in the concept of America.

Captain America and The Avengers dealt with Cap learning to become a hero and a leader, and so far we’ve seen that shunting Cap to the present day has left him isolated and nostalgic. For the next movie to continue that emotional journey, Steve Rogers really has to grapple with the question of whether he feels worthy of representing American ideals as they are depicted in the present day. The concept of right and wrong must seem very grey to someone accustomed to the reality of World War 2.

But Cap still needs that extra push to discover what he feels is right, hence all the disparate elements of The Winter Soldier. I think Bucky/Winter Soldier will appear in the present day as a superpowered terrorist, Cap will stop him, discover who he is, then discover that SHIELD experimented on Bucky after Steve disappeared as a way of recreating “Captain America.”

We’ve already seen the horrific results of people trying to recreate the super-soldier serum, and Cap knows how far SHIELD will go to ensure that its weapons are better than everyone else’s. It’s a good bet that Bucky’s a little crazy, a little mangled, and harboring one hell of a grudge, possibly against Robert Redford’s character, who could be playing one of the founding generals of SHIELD and, ultimately, the man responsible for giving the go-ahead to the experimentation on Bucky.

Cap will be conflicted. He’ll want Redford to be punished for his crimes, but he’ll need to stop Bucky from hurting/killing him. He’ll have to be a good soldier. The perfect soldier. But for a cause that he won’t believe in at all.

Captain America The Winter Soldier Guardians of the Galaxy Avengers 2

You know who else is in that position? Black Widow. The screenwriters acknowledge freely that her moral center changes with the situation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up advising Captain America on how to do the same in order to deal with the moral complexities of the “modern world.” Cap may end up taking this advice, or his rejection of it may result in a firmer internal resolve.

However it plays out, these three characters will all play a part in forming Captain America’s identity as he adjusts to the 21st century. The end of Winter Soldier will most likely see a new Cap striding forward, one more mentally equipped to represent the best ideals of America.

But first he has to see the worst of them.


Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and wasn’t interested in Captain America as a character at all until the first movie did such a great job making him entertaining.

14 comments
BDG91
1. BDG91
I am so tired with people using the forties as a cultural touch stone for moral goodness in the USA (it's not like the USA didn't escape WW2 without commiting terrible fire bombings on civilian centers). It wasn't and to be quite honest today is much more morally 'superior' than the 1940's. It lessens the tragedy of the war for both the soldiers and people living at the time and is simply lazy writing. This has pulled back some of my excitement for Winter Soldier.

On a lighter note yay Guardians of the Galaxy! Hopefully they take more elements from the DnA run than the current one.
BDG91
2. James Buchanan Barnes
I am really looking forward to the sequel to Captain America (the first movie was a lot better that I ever thought it would be)…and I have a sneaking suspicion that Robert Redford’s character will be a variant of the ‘Dell Rusk’ character in the comics…
Kate Nepveu
3. katenepveu
Uh. You think they're going to switch the Winter Soldier's origin from Russia to SHIELD? No Red Room, no Natasha history? That would be, uh. Different.

(I am pretty sure I hate it, actually. But fortunately I am under no obligation to accept your speculations (as you are under no obligation to care what I think!), so all is well.)
Chris Nelly
4. Aeryl
@1, I don't think anyone is saying that the 40's were this touchstone of America's morality. They are just saying that a person from the 40's might feel this way, that they would feel things are simpler. Hitler makes all the moral equations fairly simple.
Keith DeCandido
5. krad
The Guardians of the Galaxy waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay predate 1990.....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
BDG91
6. Parzival
Steve Roger's ideals are the *ideals* of America in the 1940s, not necessarily the reality of America then. There is a difference. You do not abandon good ideals merely because others aren't living up to them. Ideals are *hard to achieve*, but *right to achieve*. That's why we call them "ideals." You try to live up to them, even if you don't always manage to do so. That sounds exactly like what Steve/Cap would say. If that's a theme of this movie, I'm all for it.
BDG91
7. BDG91
Yeah the thing is in the 40s USA did not really have that good of ideals. If Captian America was played comletely straight we would be racist and sexist and I bit of a sociopath because those were the American ideals of the 40s. Remember he was literally slapping 'Japs' in the comics in the 40s. I'm not arguing that the 40s was a pretty awesome ideals, I'm arguing that the 40s were terrible for ideals and if we still lived by them a whole bunch of social revolutions wouldn't of had to happen.
BDG91
8. AO
Wait, there are people who don't know who the GotG are?
Alan Brown
9. AlanBrown
While those of us who grew up in the 1960's rebelled against the upbringing of generation that made up our parents, it was hard not to admire people who defeated the most evil dictator in history, perfected mass production, shrunk the world with jets, grew more food than ever before, created mass communication, finished exploring the blank spots in the old maps, and sent men to the moon. With all their flaws, there are good reasons that Steve Rogers' peers are called the Greatest Generation.
Shelly wb
10. shellywb
The 40s USA didn't have good ideals? Of course, we're all so much more enlightened than any people who have ever lived. I have the feeling some of them would be saying the same of people today. It's misguided to think you're the enlightened ones.

And you all honestly think people from the 40s saw things more simply? You're believing Uncle Sam's old propaganda. Do any of you actually know any soldiers who fought in World War 2? Because you seem to have no idea of how very dark it was for them, and what kind of moral quandries they were presented with every minute they were off fighting. My father and uncle were there, and my uncle promptly burned his uniform as soon as he got home from Europe. My dad talks about how war shattered his ideals. Please don't ever assume that because movies and news reels were in black and white back then, that people's ideals followed suit.

Captain America is a cartoon. He's taking a cartoon's journey that represents how cartoonists have presented American conflict through the years. If he represents anything, it's a change in how the media has dealt with war. Because if he were real, it's pretty likely that he'd have made that journey on his own back in his first war.
BDG91
11. Morhek
My bet is that Redford is playing the original Nick Fury, and that the name is a codename for a succession of leaders of SHIELD, eventually passed down to S.L.J.'s Nick Fury. A nice tribute to the passing of the torch from the original Nick Fury to his recent younger successor.
BDG91
12. Tumas
For anyone complaining about American ideals in the 1940s and Captain America, have you read Captain America: Man Out of Time?
BDG91
13. Cimikat
Mmm, yeah...no. Very interesting theories on how they could adapt The Winter Soldier storyline, which admittedly could make a very good story, but it's just a little too far away from the original comic story for my taste. For one, the Winter Soldier is an assassin, not a terrorist, at least by the distinction that he is a loyal brainwashed soldier who answers only to his superiors, not to his own agenda (not to say he hasn't committed terrorist acts, but he's not an independent agent). He's not really superpowered, at least in the comics, but in the last Cap movie it was confirmed that Arnim Zola did do something to him by the time Cap rescued him (ie we don't need to have SHIELD experiment on him when we know Zola already did).

Also I think it is really important to keep his Soviet backstory, because as mentioned by katenepveu above that leads us directly to Black Widow. Without that connection, it doesn't make half as much sense to have her featured so prominently in this film. We've already had Natasha hint in the Avengers that she knew what it was like to be "unmade", so the MCU seems to be keeping her Red Room backstory (which is where Winter Soldier comes in).

No word on what Robert Redford's character will be like. Heard he was playing Alexander Pierce, who apparently is a SHIELD agent in the comics, but they may be switching things up. It will be very intriguing though, if he has his own hidden political agendas even as he heads up SHIELD.

(don't mind me, Bucky is just my most favorite character ever, so I have a lot of interest invested in this film)
BDG91
14. AdamMcGovern
I think Chris should be writing the Captain America comic -- get him out of space or another dimension or whatever the @#$% and back into the geopolitics his uniform can't camouflage him from. To switch Winter Soldier from the Soviets' war-factory to ours would be in line with the kind of military-industrial skepticism we saw in Iron Man 3, and as a refugee from those illusory black-and-white conflicts of the 20th century Black Widow would still be a fitting foil even if she doesn't have the same backstory with Bucky.

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