First of all, I'd like to mention that this article does contain spoilers. So if you haven't seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, come back after you've experienced the greatness for yourself. But, for those of us who have seen it, let's indulge in some good old fashioned speculation. Also, this is my first article, so take it easy on me guys. Captain
As we all know, SHEILD was pretty much disbanded after the events of The Winter Soldier. It was revealed that HYDRA was not actually defeated after Steve took out the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. Rather, HYDRA lived on within SHIELD under the control of Alexander Pierce. It would seem that when one head is severed, two more really do take its place. So the question is, what happens now? Is this it for our favorite homeland security department? Well, perhaps not. As of now, it is unknown where the Avengers will assemble from here on out since the Triskelion (SHIELD HQ) is no longer an option. A common theory is that Stark Tower, which pretty much became The Avengers Tower/Mansion at the end of The Avengers, will serve as the new hub for the team in Age of Ultron. And while that solves the housing issue, there is still one very important issue left: Who will direct the team? I don't mean lead, as that's obviously Cap's job. I want to know who's going to give Cap orders now since Nick Fury is off the grid. I want to know who's responsible for all the political business and what not. The team needs a director, and SHIELD needs to be reinstated. But by who? My bet is that it will be Tony Stark. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. I believe that Tony will work with Agent Maria Hill (who was shown getting a job at Stark Industries at the end of The Winter Soldier), and Agent Coulson to reestablish SHIELD. In the comics, Maria Hill becomes director, but later gives the job to Tony. So perhaps she'll be director for a while until she decides to step down. When will she step down, you ask? Well, when Robert Downey Jr is too old to be Iron Man, of course. This way Marvel won't have to write/kill Tony off, and thus he'll be able to remain in the MCU for years to come. Everybody wins, no?
There is another theory going around that Steve Rogers will become the director, and that Bucky will take up the role of Captain America. Lets consider this. Cap's STRIKE outfit in the Winter Soldier did strongly resemble his director of SHIELD outfit from the comics. And he is, in the words of Nick Fury, "giving the orders now." But know that Chris Evans recently stated that he wants to take a break from acting after his contract is fulfilled. And let’s face it, that's about to happen in a few years. So unless SHIELD is up and running again by the end of Age of Ultron, it's very unlikely. On the other hand, Bucky becoming Cap is very likely. Sebastian Stan (Bucky) is signed on for nine films. That's quite a few more than Chris has left to do. So my bet is that Marvel will go with the "New Captain America/Death of Captain America" story arc in which Bucky replaces Steve as the plot of Captain America 3. I mean, Bucky did learn about himself during the second credits scene of the Winter Soldier, so it's unlikely that he will be an antagonist.
The more I talk about this, the more excited I get. What about you guys? Sound off in the comments!