WARNING: This article contains spoilers for all MCU films to date including Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It also speculates the plots of Captain America 3 and The Avengers 3.
STAN LEE’S CAMEO
Let’s start with the obvious. Stan Lee, creator of X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Hulk a dozen other of your favourite Marvel characters, has appeared in every film adaptation of a Marvel Comics property of the twenty-first century. Some memorable examples include accidentally ingesting Bruce Banner’s blood in The Incredible Hulk (2008), saving Spider-Man onlookers from falling debris in the original Spider-Man trilogy and not being able to attend Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman’s wedding in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer due to his confusing name. In [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) he appears as a Smithsonian security guard that has Steve Roger’s original wartime costume stealthily stolen from its exhibit by the Captain himself. It’s a short, simple and humorous nod to the man that started it all, even if he didn’t technically invent the Captain.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier dropped more superheroes names throughout its running time than Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World combined. Whereas the two films following The Avengers were examples of independence and world-building, Captain America reminds everybody that his buddies are still around and very much part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. status quo.
Iron Man gets three mentions. Hulk gets two. Thor, unfortunately, only gets one. Hawkeye, Star Lord and Ant-Man get zero. [Doctor Strange](movie:559685), unexpectedly, does get included.
S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is interrogated by Captain America, Black Widow and the Falcon atop a rooftop roughly two thirds through Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He begins listing people that the Insight Helicarriers would target as an enemy of HYDRA including superheroes you know (like Steve Rogers) and some you don’t (Stephen Strange). Dr Stephen Strange is a hugely popular Marvel Comics character that has been on the demand list for his own feature film since the original Iron Man but placed on the backburner for his unrealistic sorcery powers and the difficulties telling his abstract story presented. While almost everybody believes he will be the original property to compliment Thor’s third outing in 2017 nothing is confirmed so the Easter Egg is a nice nod to the loyal and patience Dr Strange fans out there. Oddly though, nobody said the words “Quicksilver” or “Scarlett Witch”, the two new supers added to the roster for the Avengers sequel. They were referred only as “The Twins”, probably to increase speculation and save their naming moment for a poignant moment for later. Expect fewer names dropping in Guardians of the Galaxy and roughly eight hundred and thirty nine in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA
It’s coming. There won’t be subversion or a Life Model Decoy (Marvel Clone) or resurrection or time-travel. Well there may be time travel, but not in this instance. Steve Rogers is set to bite a couple of bullets in Captain America 3. You will cry. The comic’s plot – which is liable to interpretation – reads that Red Skull (Captain America’s arch-nemesis and primary antagonist of Captain America: The First Avenger) employs Crossbones (HYDRA operative, featuring heavily in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) to brainwash Sharon Carter (introduced lightly in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) to shoot and kill her uncle/cousin/relation Steve Rogers. It’s a defining moment of the comics and worthy competition to DC’s belated, delayed sequel Batman VS Superman in May 2016. All of the key players have been cast and introduced gradually throughout the two Captain America films. The three second shot of Rumlo (Frank Grillo) being pulled from the ruins of the collapsed S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters with his arms crossed was a real delight.
One thing doesn’t sit right with me though. Chris Evans, our favourite 40’s superhero, is contracted for six films. [Captain America 3](movie:994409) will be his fifth contracted appearance as a fleeting Thor: The Dark World cameo didn’t register on his ticker. Plus, Iron Man is featured in the picture above, so it’s clearly a story earmarked for the Avengers 3? Translating the Captain America supporting cast across will suck valuable ensemble minutes we could be spending with Thanos!
Who knows? Kevin Fiege and Joss Whedon, that’s who knows…
SO NO MORE CAPTAIN AMERICA FILMS?
Rest easy Marvel fans! While Steve Rogers will more than likely not return the mantle of Captain America can be passed along in the same fashion as the title of Robin has been passed around to any acrobat with an orphan story. Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, will assume the mantle after a short rage-fuelled revenge arc that shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes on screen. The actor that portrays Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is contracted for nine films. So far his only appearances have been in Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So soon Captain America will have a metal arm and a shield. One second sneak peek above courtesy of the Russo brothers and their action choreographer in the moment that the brainwashed Winter Soldier is able to steal the Steve Rogers’ trusty shield. These are very modern storylines Marvel Studios are adapting for their Captain America portion of The Avengers. I wonder whether they will supplement a Steve Rogers story into a Bucky Barnes movie or create an entirely separate plot for the movies that has not been explored in the comics.
Although hinted at the end of The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier downright confirmed that Stark Tower, New York City has been repurposed as Avengers Tower. In the comics the Avengers have a thousand and one bases including a space station however none is more reliable than the Avengers mansion, donated by Tony Stark.
As the Insight Helicarriers are rounding up their targets – including the President that Iron Man saved only two movies ago, a bunch of Pentagon bigwigs and an inexplicable unnamed citizen on his lawn (Stephen Strange, right?) – it also targeted Tony Stark/Iron Man in his New York home. Only instead of the giant “Stark” on the side or the sole “A” from the end of The Avengers, a larger, more Avenger-y “A” stands tall, confirming that the 99% chance of an Avengers Tower is now a reality.
DANNY PUDI JOINS AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.? IF ONLY…
Joe and Anthony Russo cut their teeth directing and producing worldwide comedy Communtiy so it’s nice they acknowledge their roots in a short little shoutout. As the Captain infiltrates the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters he runs into an office worker portrayed by Community fan-favourite Danny Pudi. The skit lasts less than thirty seconds but it’s a huge wave from the director’s chair to their early fans and a cute breather for those not in on the joke.