Even though Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World are both releasing next year for Marvel Studios, it’s going to be 2014’s spring release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier that first attempts to directly deal with the aftermath of the The Avengers. With the end of Captain America: The First Avenger seeing Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wake up in modern times, speculation about its sequel ever since has run rampant with questions about whether or not moviegoers would see Captain America return to World War II.

Before the Marvel Studios Iron Man 3 panel at Comic-Con, the presentation began with title and release date confirmations for Marvel’s four upcoming “Phase Two” films and this was when we first learned that Captain America 2 was actually going to be subtitled The Winter Soldier. The implications of using that title meant that Sebastian Stan’s Bucky character would be returning for the sequel and we could assume that flashbacks would be needed to explain what happened to him after his tragic fall in The First Avenger, but it’s yet to be officially confirmed… until possibly now.

During the  Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, The Huffington Post had a chance to speak with Anthony Russo, who was officially confirmed (also at Comic-Con) to be directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier along with his brother Joe Russo. In their chat, Russo explains how he and his brother landed the directorial gig while carefully navigating through questions about The Winter Soldier storyline, flashbacks to World War II and other character appearances.

On whether or not stories from the books are being used for the Captain America 2 screenplay:

“In a way. I mean, they’re all sort of rooted in what’s come before, but they’re all also their own jumping-off point as well.”

On how the brothers Russo convinced Marvel to hire them:

“We were comic book geeks from a young age and big fantasy geeks. We got to talk to them in detail about that history. They knew that we understood the brand really well and the characters really well. It was a long process, actually, of talking to them over and over again, through a series of meetings over a long period of time. And I think they just — we were really passionate about the movie, incredibly passionate about the movie. They felt that, and they felt like it was the right match.”

On Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier comic series:

“Well, we like the [story.] I can’t talk too much about specifics, that’s the way Marvel handles things. I can say in general that there’s sort of a darker, edgier sensibility at work there that we found appealing, and that is going find its way into Captain [America] in the modern day.”

On seeing Captain America appear in World War II flashback sequences:

“Certainly Cap has this complicated history. We’re making the movie for first-time viewers, not just for fans, so, because Cap does have this complicated history — he was this skinny guy who became a super-soldier, he was born back then and he’s living [now] — in the storytelling, you need to convey that to an audience who doesn’t know Cap’s story.”

On working with Marvel to plan ahead and connect Captain America 2 to other future movies:

“Yes, but they’re very balanced in that approach. First and foremost, it is the movie itself [that is the priority, and setting up other things] is a lighter layer of dressing. In terms of the hard-core mechanics of the movie, it’s contained within the movie itself.”

Russo also dodged a few other interesting questions, about whether or not we’d see special appearances from other members of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers and whether or not Hayley Atwell could reappear as another character (Sharon Carter). We know SHIELD is involved from the initial press release announcing Captain America 2’s release date and we recently reported on rumors that Hawkeye and Black Widow could be playing important roles in the film as well. Throw in the latest reports of Anthony Mackie playing Falcon and we almost have another ensemble team-up.

Russo finished up by saying he’s going to meet up with Captain America comic writer Ed Brubaker soon and that they start shooting early next year (after Thor 2).

Captain America: The Winter Soldier will star Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson, and will be directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014 and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: The Huffington Post