Captain America 2: Robert Redford is Playing The Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Published 2 years ago by

Robert Redford Lions for Lambs Captain America 2: Robert Redford is Playing The Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.

When reports first indicated that Robert Redford has signed with Marvel Studios for a part in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, few details were available on his character outside of him being a “senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.” With Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) serving as the Director of the mysterious organization and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) as the second in line, the casting begs the question of what Redford’s role actually entails.

Thanks to Redford himself, we know his character is more than just another agent in the secretive Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

In chatting during a press roundtable while promoting The Company You Keep, which Redford directed and stars in, the founder of the Sundance Film Festival was asked by CBR about his role as a veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, to which he quickly pointed out:

“Well, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. The head [emphasized] of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Redford continued, explaining why he took on such a role that’s so different from his years of work:

“The Captain America thing is just a very simple thing. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something just to be different. Something bold, different. And that felt like a good thing to do. That was it, nothing more to it than that. Well, it’s bold in terms of expectations, I guess.”

Isn’t Nick Fury the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., serving as its director and in The Avengers only reporting in to the World Security Council? Maybe Redford is playing the 616 universe version of Nick Fury – that’s the main Marvel Comics timeline where Nick Fury looked more like David Hasselhoff than Samuel L. Jackson for those not reading the books.

One of the early reports pinned Redford’s role as something comparable to that of Ralph Fiennes in Skyfall, where by the end of the film [Spoilers!] he took over the role of M from Judi Dench. Does that mean Redford – assuming he signed the standard multipicture Marvel Studios contract – could takeover for Nick Fury? Don’t worry, Nick Fury isn’t being killed off just yet – such a movie would be in the service of the story and he has several more movies left on his contract.

From Redford’s words explaining why he took on this role, we’re unsure whether or not Captain America 2 is a one-off project for him, and if so, perhaps there’s more of a (villainous?) twist to the still-unnamed character.

Earlier today we had our first conceptual look at Captain America: The Winter Soldier and what Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) looks like with longer hair and a bionic arm in combat:

Captain America The Winter Soldier Bucky art 570x320 Captain America 2: Robert Redford is Playing The Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Cap’s next adventure is being directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo off a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and will release in 3D. Robert Redford joins Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Samuel L. Jackson,  Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johansson, Toby Jones, Anthonie Mackie, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Maximiliano Hernandez and Georges St-Pierre.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6, 2015.


Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes your theories on the Redford character!

Source: CBR

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
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  1. I still think that he could be playing an older Dum Dum Dugan

    • That’d work for me, so long as we get Neal McDonough in flashbacks!

    • That could be cool! I heard Captain America 2 will have flashbacks, maybe we could see him there.

      It’s strange because when I Googled “Robert Redford Dum Dum Dugan” I got a hit about an article that says that he will be Dum Dum Dugan, but when I try to access it, the website says that the URL is not valid… hmm, when there’s smoke there’s fire?? ;-) Could it really be true and the website was asked to remove its contents because it’s not official yet??

  2. He’s an awesome actor and a great addition for Marvel studios

  3. I for one would love to see Redford be Nick Fury or effectively replace him.
    The remaining films that Samuel L. Jackson is contracted for are at Marvel’s
    option so he could be dispatched at any time including in this Captain America.

    • @robert palmer,
      I have a friend who hates that nick fury is black and said the same thing about Redford replacing SLG. He also hated Idriss playing Heimdall. So you aren’t alone.

      I personally don’t want redford on board and live SLJ. Idriss was good as well.

      • Well, I am not like anyone who hates that Nick Fury is black.
        I don’t like Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury because to me
        he is always Samuel L. Jackson and never the character.
        It has nothing to do with his skin color as Nick Fury.

        • Well, I believe you.

          • Alrighty, then :)

  4. Damn Rob DO YOU WORK FOR MARVE????

    Wht did we do before we hadyou giving us any updates???


  5. Oooops MARVEL that is!!! ^^^^^

  6. hmmm, would love to see him, now that is a man who could pull off a jetpack….. and the stogie and the true Fury never say die attitude, who cap would actualy trust

  7. Considering parts of Captain America 2 will be flashbacks to WWII, it seems possible that he’s playing the head of SHIELD circa 1942.

    • Well…I don’t think SHIELD existed in 1942, that’s why Cap didn’t recognize it at the end of The First Avenger and Fury had to explain that it was a continuation of the SSR.

      But I do think you’re on to something. He could be the *very* first director of SHIELD before Fury in a flash back to the organization’s inception. But it would probably be closer to circa the 1960s (with the winter soldier first showing up or some other story connection) or sometime after 1942 like that.

      • You have to remember that actors (and writers and directors and so on), especially ones that aren’t comic nerds, sometimes fudge the details. Redford could be saying “head of SHIELD” when it’s really “head of the agency, whatever it was called.”

      • exactly what i was thinking sir

      • I think SHIELD was around back then because it was either in Iron Man 2 or Capt. America it was explained that Tony Stark’s Father was a founding member of it and he was around during the 40′s. But I could be mistaken.

        • It was in IM2, Fury told it to Tony before he gave him Howard’s SHIELD stuff. There was even a SHIELD folder on Howard in the extended Cap Avenger scene, where Cap was looking over stuff.

          If Howard was a founding member of SHIELD, that means that it could’ve started right after WWII, after Cap went missing. Redford could very well play the first Director.

          • What if – in this universe – SHIELD was created BECAUSE Captain America went missing? i.e. “Oh crap, we’ve lost our only super-soldier. We’d better get together a ton of regular humans to make up for him!”, so they hired other genius humans like Stark’s dad, but then it turned into a proper organisation.

            Maybe now some agents actually are jealous now he’s back, and want to wipe him out in case he costs them their jobs if SHIELD is ever dissolved now the world has actual good heroes wanting to help out.

            It’d set up the seeming in-fighting, anyway.

    • Bingo, that’s what I was thinking too.

      • I have read on SR that CA TWS will be a kind of 70′s espionoge film so may be a 1970′s SHIELD/equivelent.

    • @Ken: great theory there. It’s the only thing I can think of that would make any sense. The only detail I’m not so sure about is the “circa 1942″ bit. Since SHIELD was the SSR program in 1942 (and already had a “director” of sorts), it would make more sense if Redford was playing the director of SHIELD in the 50′s, 60′s or even the 70′s.

      If the movie’s going to be very similar to the comic book story line (where the Winter Soldier was put in “deep sleep” and only taken out for missions, to preserve his youth), this would be a great flashback sequence with the WS causing all sorts of chaos and SHIELD (with Redford’s character as the boss) trying to stop him.

      … I’m geeking out right now!

      On the other side of the coin, Redford “replacing” SLJ as Nick Fury makes no sense at all. I mean, how does a character who’s in his mid-50′s (and is black) magically transform into an old white guy? – it baffles me how some people are even entertaining that idea. Plus, it’s been conformed that SLJ is in the movie, so to me it’s obvious that SLJ and Redford are playing two different characters.

      • Could be like in the 616 Universe where the white Nick Fury has a black son that looks a lot like a young Sam Jackson. He’s named Nick Fury jr conveniently. Eye patch and all

        • No. Not even. Redford and SL are playing two different characters.

    • Easiest explanation that people are clearly overlooking.

  8. Am I the only one who thinks the head of SHIELD thing is a cover up? I personally think Redford is actually going to play Baron Strucker. Anyone else agree with me?

  9. Each time they place emphasis on ‘head’ I think M.O.D.O.K – especially given

    • my thoughts too. unlikely, but AIM is being introduced in IM3…

  10. Could be like in the 616 Universe where the white Nick Fury has a black son that looks a lot like a young Sam Jackson. He’s named Nick Fury jr conveniently. Eye patch and all

  11. Give him salt and pepper hair and he’s 616 Fury.
    But obviously that won’t happen.
    Ah well.
    That concept art is beautiful. I’m crying tears of joy.

  12. Executive Director… Do you really think Redford would take a role where he was reporting to Sam Jackson? ;)

  13. I’m a comic book fan and I love all the speculation! It’s so much fun to think about all these ideas everyone has!

  14. Obviously, this Council that we saw in the Avengers has greater authority over SHIELD than Fury does. They have the power to separately command a SHIELD jet to fire a nuclear missile. They appear to have powers above National Command Authority (i.e. the President or his legally authorized representative) to launch nuclear weapons. Now given that SHIELD has existed since probably post-World War II, in the MCU, they may have long ago gotten the legal authority to do this. The SHIELD council has been portrayed in various incarnations as a shadowy cabal of very powerful business and political leaders, much like a Majestic 12, Bilderberg group or other New World Order-ish group. It would be interesting if the next Cap and Avengers movie explored this in more detail. We’ve already seen the tension between the Council, Fury, Hill and the superheroes. When the threat becomes truly cosmic, it will be interesting to see how the drama expands.

  15. Marvel continues to dominate. I mean Robert Freakin Redford?!?!? How cow! Nice job Marvel!!!! Keep leading the way!

    Anybody think that maybe he takes over for Fury, and then later Tony Statk takes over for Redford as head of SHIELD?

  16. Ahh what a shame these films werent able to have been made in Redfords prime.

    He would have been a perfect Captain America.

  17. I really have no idea what his role is or will be. I’m just thrilled that an actor like Robert Redford, Hollywood Legend, creator of Sundance and one of the most respected people in the history of cinema is going to be in a Comic Book Movie. :) :) :)
    Think about it folks… That says a lot about where these movies have come. Not only are they considered popcorn blockbusters but the genre as a whole is being taken seriously and being held in much higher regard than they were just 15 years ago.
    We are reaching the top levels my fellow geeks! Rejoice. :)

  18. I had a crazy thought while reading the article and the commentaries…

    Would it be possible that, by emphazing on “HEAD” of SHIELD, he meant to say as in “thinker” or “developper”. That gizmo gun that Coulson had in TA didn’t make itself, the cage they kept Loki in didn’t just appear there… What if he’s the “head” meaning he’s the one in charge of developping all the SHIELD stuff? Like Q is the “head” of the MI6.

    I’m actually thinking Henry Pym…

    Hear me out:

    - Edgar Wright wants to make a sort of flashback/flashforward movie with Pym in the past, Lang in the present. The past would be in the 60′s (Pym being mid-30) so in the present, he would be like 75 (close to Redford’s age)
    - They are trying to bring the 616 universe closer to the MCU, and with Age of Ultron on the way, they say that by the end (June) Pym would have a totally new role in the Marvel Universe… Working for SHIELD would be a new role for him.
    - Pym is supposed to appear in Remender’s run of the Captain America comics as a sort of “tech-scientist”, building stuff for Rodgers.
    - Redford does look the part (even more so when he was young)
    - Those saying he could play Dum Dum Dugan … Dugan would be like 90+ years old. He was in WW2, so let’s say he was 25 in 1943, he would be 95 years old. Did he get a shot of the SuperSoldier serum??

    On the other hand:
    - Edgar Wright had said (I think…) that he rewrote his script, so we may still have a contemporary Pym instead of an old one.
    - Age of Ultron is so secret that only 2 or 3 people actually know how it’s going to end. I don’t think those involved in CA: TWS would be on the big secret…
    - casting Redford as an old Pym means finding a younger actor who looks a lot like Redford to play Pym in the 60s in Wrigh’s movie. An additionnal difficulty.
    - I don’t think the fans would want an old Pym. That would mean no Giant-Man, no Yellowjacket, no Wasp, and perhaps no Ultron, no Vision… except if they completely screw canon, and re-invent stuff to make it pseudo-fit.
    - and also, Pym never really had a part in the Captain America Comics before. Why throw him in?

    So this is my reflexion… I would rather they keep Pym a comtemporary of the other avengers. Having him argue with Stark about right and wrong ways to use technology would be hilarious! And I do want to see Giant-Man eventually. I don’t care much for Lang, his story is not as rich as Pym’s.

  19. Samuel L. Jackson IS THE HEAD!!!

  20. maybe Samuel L. Jaskson is Nick Fury Jr. or a multi-verse nick fury came to a another universe(TMNT Turles Forever storyline) or a Black-American clone ,Robert Redford on the other hand is maybe Nick Fury Sr. or the true nick fury lock up by SLJ and escaped and tells that they are all brain washed by SLJackson’s Nick Fury Character or multi-verse nick fury came to a another universe to help prevent chaos.

  21. he could simply play nick fury with samuel j being his sonny boy
    nick fury jnr

  22. I was hoping Robert Redford would play Dell Rusk myself.

  23. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but here is my thought …

    Corporations have a Head (President) and Vice-Presidents. If not Vice-Presidents, they may have Directors. I mean, how big of a leadership structure does S.H.I.E.L.D. have?

    Fury could be one of MANY Directors (or just the one) and he gets his orders from the Head of S.H.I.E.L.D. That could still mean that Redford’s character could be the Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Another way one could think of it as is in Naval Terms like what Star Trek uses. Redford’s character could equate to an Admiral and Fury’s to a Captain. That would make Coulsin a Commander, May a Lt. Cmdr. and so on.

    Besides, it would seem that the Head of such an entity as S.H.I.E.L.D. would be more seasoned. Redford is definitely more seasoned.

  24. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I liked this post.
    It was funny. Keep on posting!