‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Directors Talk Politics, Widow & The ‘Stealth Suit’

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Chris Evans Steve Rogers Official SHIELD Captain America 2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Directors Talk Politics, Widow & The Stealth Suit

If Steve Rogers thought that getting accepted into the US Army was hard, he’s in for a rude awakening in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While the superhero’s last appearance left him with a new calling, a new world, and a new team, that’s all going to be cast aside when a figure from his past returns to shatter him – forget his shield.

Billed by Marvel as more of a “political thriller” than a superhero movie, the Russo Brothers gave a few more details on the political climate, the new relationships, and yes, the new uniform fans can look forward to seeing when the film is released. Potential spoilers for those who still don’t know the meaning of the ‘Winter Soldier’ lie ahead.

With Thor: The Dark World taking most of the attention recently, the Russo brothers spoke to IGN at this week’s Disney D23 Expo, providing an update on the film, and offering a few answers to nagging questions.

For starters, the title. According to the directors, the surprisingly dark and grim tone of the original “Winter Soldier” comic book arc (written by Ed Brubaker) may have made it less whimsical than some of Marvel’s past adventures, but that was the exact reason they wanted to adapt it to film:

Joe: “Brubaker’s run, to me, is – we’re big comic book fans – that’s one of my favorite books ever in comics. I think it’s amazing. I thought the way he brought that character back, the sort of post-modern dent that he put on it was genius. As a director, it’s a gift to have a villain who is so close to the hero emotionally. Really motivates the hero, and provides really interesting surprises.

“And then the other big thing that really drew us to the project was Marvel’s desire to take Captain America and merge him with a ’70s political thriller. It gave the storytelling a real bite, a real texture, a real verite quality. And we felt like… we’re living in complicated times. And similar to the ’70s you can find some real overt political tones that you can play with that really resonate to an audience.”

Captain America 2 Concept Art Winter Soldier Captain America: The Winter Soldier Directors Talk Politics, Widow & The Stealth Suit

Anthony:  “The thing about Captain America is he’s such a strong character; so morally grounded, he’s a hard character to crack, because he’s so stalwart. So to have a villain who is his former best friend, it’s such a complicated, difficult relationship for him to be in, that’s one way you get to a character that’s as tough as Cap.”

Of course, for the conflict to include anyone other than Cap’s former friend and reach the heights of true ‘political intrigue,’ S.H.I.E.L.D. has to be involved. Although it was the government organization that rescued Steve Rogers and returned him to service, things may not be as friendly between the man and the shadowy organization as some might think.

Although the events of The Avengers forced Captain America to fight on their behalf, Rogers made it clear that he doesn’t just have doubts about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s motives, but their methods as well (weaponizing the Tesseract, for starters). And while more pressing matters may have been involved in Avengers, Rogers has time to question his loyalties. And as the footage screened at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 showed, that could even mean harming those he’s supposed to fight beside.

So how can S.H.I.E.L.D. go from a heroic organization to a shadowy opposition? While spoilers on that topic may have already been dropped, Joe Russo explains:

“Like any covert organization, there’s only so much information they will parse out to their employees, and the people at the top know the most information. So Cap and Nick Fury have a little bit of a conflict in this film: Cap feels like he’s left in the dark, and that Nick doesn’t always operate in the truth, and for Cap, who’s got a strong moral center, that’s a complicated position to be in. He’s not quite sure whether he likes his new employees or whether he wants to stay with them. That’s really the crux of the film.”

Black Widow Scarlett Johansson in Captain America 2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Directors Talk Politics, Widow & The Stealth Suit

While that plot summary might imply that Steve Rogers will be standing alone in The Winter Soldier, we know that’s not the case. Not only will Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) be returning to work at Cap’s side, but Sharon Carter has also been cast. While fans had previously assumed that Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter a.k.a. Agent 13 would be introduced as a love interest highly-placed within S.H.I.E.L.D., we learned that wouldn’t be the case at Comic-Con.

So how will Cap find room for these new women in his life? Joe Russo explains:

“Well, it’s really an introductory film for Sharon – for Agent 13. For Black Widow, it’s a very strong relationship with the two of them in this film. Chris and Scarlett really play off eachother very well in the film; they are paired up, it’s definitely a two-hander. What we loved about the relationship is Cap has a very strong moral code, she does not; he operates in the truth, she doesn’t. So that creates conflict between the two characters, it creates an interesting ‘Odd Couple’ pairing and for us, the journey that they go on together is the heart of the movie.”

Now that romance is out of the way, let’s get to fashion. After concept art of Captain America’s brand new costume leaked online, Marvel was quick to silence the leaks (as best they could). Modeled heavily after the “Secret Avengers” version of Rogers’ costume, the new suit is darker, sleeker, and far more fitting for a covert operative:

Anthony: “The first look he has in the movie is what we refer to as ‘the stealth suit,’ which is his uniform that he wears now as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s a suit that he goes on covert operations in… it’s dark, stealth-like, it’s based on military styling and designed for body protection. We wanted to do a very grounded version of what the uniform could be for a man who’s the greatest soldier in the world, now, today.”

Secret Avengers Captain America Costume Marvel Comics Captain America: The Winter Soldier Directors Talk Politics, Widow & The Stealth Suit

Joe: “It’s really reflective of what kinds of missions he would have to go on working for a covert agency like S.H.I.E.L.D. And then whatever other uniforms may appear in the film are a surprise, and we’ll save that for the viewing of the movie.”

With The Winter Soldier still a ways away from release, we expect Marvel to give Thor the lion’s share of attention and publicity. Until Cap takes his turn in the spotlight, which elements of the movie are you most intrigued by? The politics, or the action? Sound off in the comments.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be in theaters on April 4, 2014.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: IGN

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. I am truly thrilled for this film!

  2. I think this movie will be much more interesting now that the origin is out of the way. Hopefully it ties into, or sets up Avengers 2 in some way.

    • They’ve said numerous times that this movie will have the biggest connection to A2

      • I remember reading something a bout it being strongly tied to A2. Not “numerous” times, though.

  3. They should rename it Captain America: Marvel Studio’s Redemption if this doesn’t turn out to be another IM3 shill-job.

    • Why would they need to redeem themselves after IM3′s brilliance? What’s to redeem?

      • A lot. It’s a divisive flick. You might not think so and I respect your opinion, but I hated IM3 and this is coming from someone who somewhat enjoyed IM2.

        • I didn’t so much hate it, and I understand why they did it, but I did not like the twist. Storywise it made sense, at least to me. However to me there was so much wasted potential in Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin that I just couldn’t approve. I didn’t even believe it was true til a few scenes after the reveal.

            • Here is a the real twist that no one saw coming. He isn’t the real mandarin? As in, someone else could easily pick up the mantle.

          • +1

          • +2

          • +3

            • +4

        • Yes, it is devisive. For a non reason, in my opinion. But if the IM3 lovers have to step back and understand the hate, why can’t the haters understand the love? There was a lot more good in IM3 than bad.

        • Guys, IM3 was 6 months ago… leave it alone.

          Some are p1ssed at the twist some aren’t, nuff said time to move on.

          “bye bye, see you later…”

          • Easy to to just post that up online but that movie completely ruined some iconic things from the Iron Man mythos. They at least alluded to the “Demon in a Bottle” idea in the first two IM films but the third basically took characters from the comics and completely changed their dynamic to Stark and thus affected the character in a different way. It’s a huge let down for fans of the comics, especially after the way they marketed the Mandarin. Many of the changes were also unnecessary to the story. They could have kept many of the things the same and not lost anything story-wise. The fact is, like with many comic movie directors, they want to put their mark on the story instead of just telling the story well. It’s selfish.

        • To me, you lose all credibility after you say you liked IM2.

          IM3 is a very good movie.

          • Well that sounds stupid…It’s not like a lot of people claim that they absolutely love IM2, but there’s plenty of people who can stand it or accept it. Not everyone has to “hate” what they don’t “like”.

            • I never said I hated IM2, but it’s by far the worst Marvel movie to date in my opinion.

              My point was how can you like IM2 but not IM3… or… how could someone like IM2 more than IM3? Doesn’t make sense to me, sounds biased and I just plain disagree… is that more clear cut for you?

          • Nonsense. (^-^) IM2 wasn’t that great, but it was kinda fun. IM3 was pretty awful IMO. I don’t even feel like watching it again. I can’t believe they wasted Rhodey again. They should have just done a pretty much straight adaptaion of the “Extremis” comic. Or at least not wasted Sir Ben Kingsley’s talents. As for Guy Pearce’s characters motivations…. pfft! Loada shyte. (IMO)

            • Oh yeah…. No AC/DC = automatic fail. :(

  4. Have to say, I’m glad TWS is being adapted in a way because that’s really the only Cap story I’ve read so far (and I’ve read a dozen) that hasn’t bored me or put me off enjoying it due to the “‘Murica!” sentiment running through most of them.

    That’s why I’m glad Captain Britain doesn’t have much of that patriotism, even if the one story I read confused the hell out of me.

    • +1

  5. It’s always nice to see Captain America in action and not being treated as a side character. I think he has become my favorite Avenger, mainly because I’m aware of his potential as a leader that has yet to be shown in Cap 1 and Avengers.

    Like the moment when Tony is carrying the missile into the portal to save New York: why not implement Cap’s super strength and have Tony guide him to the other side while Cap himself would use his strength to keep it steady? Would’ve been much more interesting to see a man out of time experience what Tony suffered from in IM3.

    • Because we know that if Cap had the capability, he would sacrifice himself for the good of the public. But throughout the film Stark’s been saying that sacrifice is stupid if there’s a smarter alternative. So it made a good character arc for him to take it upon himself to perform a real heroic sacrifice.

      Besides, the Helicarrier was pretty close to New York. There wasn’t time to swoop down, grab Cap, carry him up to the missile (he’ll basically have to support them both now) and change its direction.

    • Well, Iron Man’s suit enhances his strength by quite a bit, and he clearly had no trouble guiding that missile. Plus, Iron Man was the only person who could have survived that because his suit allowed him to breathe in space. Picking up Cap makes absolutely no sense. To do this Iron Man would have had to drag the missile down into the narrow streets that Cap was fighting in a would have surely crashed the nuke into the city. Even if Iron Man managed to pick up Cap, or if Thor took him up to the skies to meet Iron Man, Cap would have died as soon as he went through that portal because he would have been out in space with no protection. There was no need to sacrifice more than one person, especially when Iron Man was able to survive.

      Plus, this kind of thematically solidified Iron Man’s role as the outsider because he bought he’s just a normal man. Cap has super powers and already has to content with being out of time. This gives them both some Earth shattering notions to contend with, and I thought IM3 handled Tony’s experiences pretty well.

  6. Wait so does this mean black widow and captain america will have a romance in this movie?

  7. Does anyone else think it’s funny that the director was being coy about “other costumes” after the stealth suit when the production art clearly shows another costume different from the other ones we’ve seen?

  8. This sounds like it is going to be pretty good. I’m still a bit more excited about Thor as Capt. is my least favorite Avenger, but I’ll still check it out in theatres. Marvel does a good job of spacing out their releases so you can enjoy one almost year round.

  9. I am really pumped for both the next Thor flick and the Captain America flick. Hope Falcon does not come off too much as a Tweety-Bird in a soldier costume. I had really hopped we’d see him dressed like a superhero, as in comicbook-style. It appears he’s just another grunt with a glider suit. I am still a faithful viewer, tho, and am sure i will buy both of these as soon as the DVDs hit the shelf!

  10. how come no one is talking about Frank Grillo’s Crossbones being a SHIELD operative?

    • Apparently an agent gone rogue like the ones in the Avengers who aided Hawkeye early on while under Loki’s spell.

  11. USAgent!!!!!! If cap stays to the true Red,White,blue in avengers.. Winter soilder will be USAgent, a captain america for shields secret missions. Bucky is already a spy. I forsaw it in my cherios.

  12. I really hope this “stealth” suit doesnt show up in the film for too long. I usually dont let the way a hero is dressed affect how much I enjoy watching him/her on screen (I was able to get through Avengers & DKRises despite how much I dislike the Nolan Batsuit & my original distaste for the modern CA costume) but compared to the other outfits, Im really put off by Cap’s incredible lack of Red & White


    Always with the ” popular character gets the girl BS”.

    • It has to be his Super Soldier Cologne that pulls in the ladies. Just speculating.

  14. I’m pumped for the rest of phase 2, seeing as how I really don’t feel like it got off to a good start. Hopefully it can pick itself up, dust off the scent of fake Mandarin, and kick ass

    • +1

  15. I agree, need the next Thor and Captain America movies to remove the bad taste that IM3 left and show us that Phase 2 is headed in the right direction.

    • I still like IM3 despite its flaws, but I have to some degree, I share your sentiment: after that movie, and the whole “no Hank Pym in A2″ thing, it does feel like Marvel needs to pull out all the stops to kinda “prove themselves” again.

      That said, Thor 2′s new trailer was great, everything I’m hearing about Cap 2 sounds fantastic (especially the Brubaker-esque route they’re taking), and that GotG footage looked crazy good.

      • *but to some degree

  16. Other uniforms…how many uniforms can there be for Cap? Or are they talking about different uniforms for Black Widow or Agent 13 or the Falcon-or for that matter the Winter Soldier?

    Has anyone also noticed that every time there’s talk about a Marvel film, IM3 haters and lovers have to make some comment about it? Keep the films separate, even if the overall universes are combined. If you’re gonna argue about it, argue on IM3 topics.

    I’ve been wondering about something. Was Sebastian Stan (Bucky/WS) cast for more Marvel films other than this one? That could be a clue as to how the film turns out.

    That said, it’s gonna be interesting how they show S.H.I.E.L.D. being opposed to Rogers, and yet have Black Widow and the Falcon helping him out. Wonder if it’ll be something like TDK, where Batman was on the side of the police until he had to fight them to save the hostages.

    • “Has anyone also noticed that every time there’s talk about a Marvel film, IM3 haters and lovers have to make some comment about it? Keep the films separate, even if the overall universes are combined. If you’re gonna argue about it, argue on IM3 topics.”


  17. Yes thor 2 and next years round of marvel movies need to redeem themselves after the debacle in iron man 3. As i said before if im3 if they had not screwed up the mandarin’s character along with the rest of silliness it would have beaten at the least the dark knight rises domestic gross. People forget im3 lost its audience real fast after the debacle was revealed on opening weekend.

    • Why is the Mandarin thing such a big deal to people? Black Widow and Hawkey aren’t original Avenges. Hank Pym and the Wasp are no where to be found in the line-up. I didn’t see the Invaders in the first Cap flick. Also wasn’t Stark originally in Nam when he got hurt? Whiplash wasn’t really Whiplash in IM2. Thor didn’t smack his hammer to the ground and turn into to Doctor Donald Blake. Jarvis is computer program not an actual butler… There are many things in the movies that don’t follow the comics.

      I get that Ben Kingsly is a remarkable actor and he did an amazing job in the role he was given. If you get over the fact that it wasn’t a straight on copy of the Mandarin/Extremis storyline it’s a perfectly fine movie. Realistically all the films haven’t been true to cannon why would you get upset and expect them to do so now? Also Iron Man’s nemesis in each film has been another scientist/business owner? Kind of makes sense that it’s not a crazy terrorist. You know if you get over the fact that they played fast and loose with the Mandarin.

      None of the IM movies are “great films”. They’re entertaining and make you smile. IM3 does that if you aren’t an uber annoyed fanboy. There were a gazillion armors flying around at the end. How does that not entertain you? I think that’s Marvels goal. Do justice to their characters, tell good stories and entertain. IM3 did that if you don’t get hung up on the Mandarin thing.

      This new Cap film seems to be on the right track to do the same thing as does the other phase 2 properties. Can’t wait!

      • Just to say a few things on the iron man 3 chatter

        It is entirely possible to make changes from the comics and still maintain the essence of the characters, and marvel showed through phase 1 that they were fairly capable of doing so
        The issue with the mandarin is that they removed the essence of the character for a punch line, after providing a decent translation up till that point with lots of potential

        Loads of armours flying around at the end – saw it in iron man 2 and it was better in that film (IMO) got some good war machine bits as well
        Villain – another rival scientist/business owner – really? they can’t come up with anything else

        To those who enjoyed IM3 fair enough – good for you
        but try to remember that some of those that did not like the film (me included) have more issues with it than just the twist
        I bring this up because as far as I can tell if somebody says they didnt like IM3 then people presume that it was just because of the twist
        regarding the twist itself – personally i found that it simply encapsulates a number of the issues i have with the film, beyond just changes from the comics, as such it makes a handy referencing point to describe the problems I had with the film as a whole, but it was far from the only thing about the film that I didn’t like

        Sure it would be nice if those of us that didnt like the film stopped mentioning it (can be hard when for some of us it is the worst iron man film and it is also the most recent and biggest disappoint from marvel so far and so when hoping the next films are better it will be used as a low point that people want to see an improvement on, until something worse comes along)
        But it would also be nice if people that liked the film could realise that the film is not perfect (twist or no twist the film is flawed)

        that’s my thoughts all this iron man 3 nonsense

        Looking forward to Caps next outing though
        Wish I had be able to see the footage from comic con for it, sounded impressive

  18. This film seems great, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the comics. Maybe it was the fact that it all lead to the Death of Cap America story. That actually would have been alright if they wouldn’t have come up with the most idiotic idea ever as to why he didn’t die. He was shot with some bullet that transferred his being into another dimension, or some dumb crap like that. Brubaker has had some other good books, but that story just left a bad taste. Now, the Winter Soldier series had its moments, but that just recently ended.

  19. So much cry about Cap’s suit. They are clothes people, everyone changes clothes. Get over it.

  20. I am so excited to see this movie on my birthday!!! Also the relationship between Black Widow and Captain America in this movie reminds me the relationship they had in the Ultimate Avengers movie which I really liked.

  21. I just hope that cap isn’t used for any political spin. He is such a powerful symbol that many people try to use him to support their own political ideals and their slants. If this movie is just used as a propaganda tool in today’s heated political climate, that will be very disappointing. But so far it looks fantastic.