Make no mistake: In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America has three partners. And their stories go on and on.
That’s the message from the cast and crew of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the second installment in Marvel’s Captain America movies and the latest in the ongoing series of films from Marvel Studios. The filmmakers and key cast gathered for a press conference addressing the film today in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Comic fans are familiar with the Falcon (played in the film by Anthony Mackie) as Cap’s partner, and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is in the title as the Winter Soldier. But fans may be surprised to see just how central a role the Black Widow plays.
“This is the first time we’ve really gotten to see Natasha—and we’ll see more of it in Avengers 2—as a person who gets up in the morning, and has a life outside of her job and the suit,” said actress Scarlett Johansson, who plays the Widow. “She has her own reality outside of the costume, and who knows how far that stretches? As the plot unfolds, we see both Cap and Natasha as people who really start to question their beliefs, and by the end of it, they start to realize what they’ve been told as a hired hand might not align with what they want in their lives. In some ways, the cliffhanger at the end is them cresting the wave of a huge moment of self-discovery, and we’ll be able to track where that goes in the next installments.”
“Next installments” could include the Widow in her own movies. Her central role caused Producer Kevin Feige to field a lot of questions about solo Widow films.
“I think it could be great,” Feige said. “We’ve got various outlines and ideas of where we could take that, and that said, there’s a very big element that explains her backstory in an upcoming Marvel feature. So the question really becomes when we want to take her out of an ensemble and let her do her own thing. As you see in this movie and as you’ll see in Avengers: Age of Ultron, she’s rather key to the broader world.”
That broader world—and make no mistake, these individual movies are now chapters in a larger Marvel play—gets changed significantly in The Winter Soldier.
“In terms of the big event in the movie that changes everything, that has been in the plans for quite a while,” Feige said. “We wanted to mix things up, and make the world very different in Avengers 2 than it was in Avengers 1.”
For his part, actor Chris Evans is glad he took on the recurring role of Captain America. He was originally apprehensive, fearing typecasting. His mind is now changed.
“Had I not done these movies, it would have been the biggest mistake of my life,” Evans said. “It’s comfortable to know you’re making good movies. It would have been horrible to be locked into this contract and doing movies you don’t like. But Marvel has the Midas touch, so every time you suit up you know you’re making something good.”
Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury, enjoyed what he considers the “something good” right from his first reading of the script.
“I realized on reading it, this was more than just a comic book movie,” Jackson said. “There’s intrigue. Young people may be surprised that they have to think about it.”
Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo direct The Winter Soldier. While they’re very faithful to the Ed Brubaker-written source material from the comic, they’re also billing this as a very realistic political thriller.
“We tried to run at what’s happening in the world today,” Anthony Russo said. “We were thinking about what’s happening with preemptive strikes, the President’s kill list, and then the whole Snowden thing happened while we were shooting. We tried to make the movie reflective of our real-world conditions and real world stakes, even though it’s a fantasy expression of what that is.”
The Winter Soldier will point directly to Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron, where Cap will be back, the Black Widow will be back, and of course, Nick Fury will be the glue that hold it all together. “We’re happy to keep going, we don’t ask for anything,” Samuel Jackson said. “We just ask not to be killed.”