The next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which picks up in real-time following Loki and the Chiaturi’s foiled invasion of Earth. Meanwhile, super-powered WWII-era soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) continues adjusting to life in the 21st century, battles a dangerous new enemy with ties to his past, and begins to question the inner-workings of the very organization that he works for (i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D.).

In addition to looking promising in trailer footage, The Winter Soldier is a key addition to the MCU for a couple of reasons – including (but not restricted to), how it may well potentially strength the connection between the Marvel TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the studio’s film releases, in addition to serving as the unofficial prologue to 2015’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron (given that the other remaining “Phase 2″ Marvel movie – Guardians of the Galaxy – is more self-contained in nature).

The Captain America sequel will be the third movie to feature Evans as the title character, as well as the third onscreen appearance for Scarlett Johansson as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. Presumably, you already know who the Winter Soldier is (as well as who’s playing the antagonist); otherwise, it might be best for you to stop reading now, since the following magazine covers reveal his face in full, alongside Evans and Johansson as their own costumed alter egos.

Check out those new Captain America: The Winter Soldier cast images, courtesy of Empire:

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Sebastian Stan’s return as Bucky Barnes – “resurrected” from his apparent death in Captain America: The First Avenger as the cybernetically-enhanced Winter Soldier – will be a key factor in Steve Rogers’ character arc in the sequel no doubt, but his importance may extend beyond that. In more contemporary comic book lore, Bucky took up the Captain America mantle for a period of time, and Stan’s multi-picture deal with Marvel leaves room for such a development to take place in the movie-verse.

Of course, it may be that Bucky as the Winter Soldier will be important for other reasons – like, him having connections to another villain-type in the Avengers sequel?

The Captain America sequel is being directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, drawing from a script written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Thor: The Dark World). Chris Evans leads a cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Robert Redford, Toby Jones, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Maximiliano Hernandez and Georges St-Pierre.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters on April 4th, 2014, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, and Ant-Man on July 31, 2015.

Source: Empire