Before you go and see CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, you may need to bone up on the players. Now, if you just want to be surprised, and I don't blame you if you do, then just ignore this article and move along. It's probably best. But, if you're like me (an old school comic book freak), then you like to bone up on what to expect. SO, don't say I didn't warn you; spoilers may ensue.
First of all, to get your bearings or just to freshen up, you need to go back and watch CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and the AVENGERS movie again. I think there are elements in both that are essential to enjoying and understanding this movie fully. Also, possibly all three Iron Man movies; especially the third as it has to do with A.I.M. Once you've caught up(don't worry, you have plenty of time before April 4th), read on.
First of all, there is the movie's namesake, THE WINTER SOLDIER. Now, with a title like that, you'd think he was THE major villain...but he's not. The WINTER SOLDIER was a comic character that was revealed to be Cap's old sidekick, Bucky Barnes; his best friend in the original movie. You know, the one he lost off the train? Well, expect him to be back. Not sure, but it seems he's been pumped up too and brainwashed to work for the REAL enemy! But who could THAT be? There are a lot of likely suspects, but, before we cover that, let's introduce some of the minor players, shall we?
First of all, making his debut is Cap's sidekick from the 70s-80s run and future fellow Avenger (could we hope?), THE FALCON. Going with the Ultimate version for the look and background, Sam Wilson is a shield agent with high tech skills and an amazing retractable wing unit that allows him to fly. There are also rumors of James Rhodes/Iron Patriot also making a cameo. He will probably aid Cap as will the returning Black Widow from the Avengers Movie. The big spoiler question for this movie concerning Widow is where is her allegiance, really?
According to Marvel Cannon, she’s been a double agent for many a different group including Russian Intelligence, the Hand and as a part of the mysterious Black Widow program. The later was a group of female sleeper soldiers. Hmm. Also, one of her instructors during this period was none other than Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. So expect her to be conflicted at best and heavily involved in the battle against or…for this new enemy.
The next two are a mixed bag of nuts. In the past, they were treated, for the most part, as the B-List villains, but I'm sure they are simply highly skilled lackeys for the big bosses. They are Batroc, the Leaper and Machete; members of the strange Batroc's Brigade. Georges St-Pierre , the well known MMA star, has been cast as Batroc, the Leaper. Batroc, in the Ultimate universe, is an international jewel thief with mad martial arts skills and is rumored to be the Winter Soldier’s lieutenant. Machete (NOT Danny Trejo) is usually someone's sidekick and is found beside Batroc many times and is played by Adetokumboh M'Cormack. Now, there have been many members of Batroc's Brigade; one of which is the future Avenger, THE SWORDSMAN. Sound familiar? He should. I listed him as likely future Avengers in my PHASE FOUR article; go check it out. Now, there is no SWORDSMAN or Jacques Duquesne (But French like Batroc..hmmm) listed in the cast, so it's probably NOT going to happen. But it would be a good intro seeing as he started out as one of the bad guys. There is a FRENCH PIRATE #1 (insinuating that there is more) which will probably be a part of Batroc’s Brigade.
Next we have another classic Cap villain in CROSSBONES. Hired by the Red Skull (remember that) he was sent to retrieve the bloodstone fragments that have no connection to the infinity gems by DO have a hand in the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Probably not a factor, by makes ya think. Crossbones is being played by Frank Grillo.
Now, it gets dicey. Robert Redford has been cast in the role of Alexander Pierce, a Major of Shield according to Cannon. But MANY have speculated that he’s hiding a secret. Still not too late to turn back, true believer. Ok, I warned you. The secret many think he’s hiding is that he is actually the RED SKULL.
If you check out this article along with a myriad others you will see that Redford himself said he’s a villain and some of Pierce’s lines in the trailers seem to give this away. I will leave you to check this out on your own. Is he the Red Skull? Not sure. But it would be a great villain to bring back in Act 2 of Cap’s adventures right? But the speculation doesn’t end there.
Of course we have Toby Jones cast once again as Arnim Zola. Is this flashback or can MODOK be far behind (follow the link to read more on MODOK)? Seeing as Howard Stark and Peggy Carter are casted also, I would assume they are all flashbacks but rumors are flying for a full fledged Modok unit.
Something to watch out for are the legendary LMDs (life model decoys) used by shield to protect their agents, but just as easily used by the enemy to infiltrate Shield. Jack Rollins and Jasper Sitwell (rumored to be sleeping with the enemy) have been cast and their characters (both shield operatives) were replaced by a LMDs in the comics. Hmm.
Also look for a possible cameo by Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker seeing as he is a MAJOR Captain America villain and is already cast in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. He will probably be in one of the infamous post credits scenes.
Past that, look for rumored cameos by Cap’s shrink one Dr. Sofen aka Karla Sofen aka Moonstone and Bruce Banner’s Lawyer cousin, Jennifer Walters AKA She Hulk. I'm fan-by giddy!
Besides that, prepare yourself for the true enemy. It will by Hydra/Aim itself. Hydra and Aim, from the beginning, have been the pawn organization for Nazis that wouldn't die. Red Skull, Baron Von Strucker, Baron Zemo (could we see him?) and Arnim Zola are a short list of lingering goose steppers who have led or used these groups to their own end. It would be great to see a truly vicious VIPER in one of these movies as she would be an awesome lead female villain.
Oh, and before I forget, after the Super Bowl trailer, a lot of people were predicting the death of Nick Fury. He was on the operating table and, then, someone is under the morgue sheet. Maybe. I don't think so. My thoughts are Cap finds out that the group he's been working for is infiltrated with old Nazi buddies from the past and he will find himself having to trust new allies (Falcon), questioning old alliances (fellow Avenger, Black Widow) and having a hard time discerning friend from enemy through out the movie (look for a Winter Soldier face turn toward the end).
All of this is to prepare us for Ultron, so look for the post credits snippet of fun to segue into the next Avengers movie. Last, but not least, how about an Infinity Gem? In all of the hubub, no one is talking about the fact that there are six of these stones and only three have appeared so far; the Teseract (Avengers 1), the Ether (Thor: The Dark World) and, possibly, the mind gem on Loki's staff. Another has already been spotted in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer (supposedly the sphere Starlord is trying to steal). That would make three or four and we're halfway there. This leaves 2 Cap movies, a Thor movie and 2 Avenger Movies to cover the other two or three. I think we will probably see one out of the Cap movies, at least, but in what form and which gem? I don't know. Just be on the look out.
There are rumors of at least one credits scene featuring the wonder mutant twins, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, in a way that makes sources 'real sad for Fox' and their rendition. Sounds like, somebody's about to be powned!
Also, on the subject of credits, if the leaked music score is to be taken seriousl (I suggest it isn't) There might be a cameo by Gotg leader, Starlord aka Peter Quill. But before their movie? It may just be another great segue.
I know I've given you a lot to think about, but one rumor that I think is true in the long run (either Winter Soldier or the next cap) is the death of Steve Rogers and someone (I wonder who?) will take over as Cap. This would lead into the next phase of the Avengers. Ok, there ya go, true believer! I'm sure there are things that I am missing. IF so, just post them in the comments below! And...enjoy the movie!
Uncle Excelsior also contributes to JACKEDUP TALES and PROJECT'S PLAYGROUND