Both Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Marvel Studios' Captain America: The Winter Soldier are more than just self-contained comic book movie sequels, arriving in 2014. The next Spider-Man film will set the stage for at least two additional installments (with more spinoffs being a strong possibility), while the upcoming Captain America film will set the table for The Avengers: Age of Ultron arriving in 2015 (and potentially even a second season for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, if it happens).
As such, both films will introduce key antagonists into their respective universes, but also keep them in the background so as to not overshadow the main superhero/supervillain conflict in each film (Spider-Man vs. Electro and Steve Rogers vs. Bucky Barnes, in turn). That includes Chris Cooper in Amazing Spider-Man 2 as pre-Green Goblin Norman Osborn - who was referenced, but never shown onscreen, in Amazing Spider-Man - and Frank Grillo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Brock Rumlow (who goes on to become the costumed villain Crossbones).
In separate interviews, Cooper and Grillo recently spoke about how the upcoming Spider-Man and Captain America sequels are, in essence, origin films for their respective takes on the Norman Osborn and Brock Rumlow characters. We have rounded up those quotes together here, for your reading convenience.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
On the topic of Norman Osborn's (re-)introduction to the big screen in Amazing Spider-Man 2, Cooper offered MTV the following:
"'[Amazing] Spider-Man 2' was an introduction to Norman, and — you'll see — an extremely odd introduction, which apparently will lead to something more."
These comments echo what Cooper said a couple months ago, when he teased that Amazing Spider-Man 2 will set the stage for "better things" involving Norman Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 3 (and possibly beyond).
What's interesting about all this is that the Oscar-winner Cooper generally sticks to more grounded character roles (see: the upcoming August: Osage County) and even tends to play outlandish roles - like his comically evil oil baron in The Muppets - with a completely straight face. Hence, if he does become the Green Goblin in a future Amazing Spider-Man film, Cooper's take could be very different than Willem Dafoe's cartoonishly over-the-top version in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movie.
Of course, there's no guarantee that this will happen, which is something Cooper alluded to in his MTV interview:
When asked if he was familiar with the concept of the Sinister Six and its potential as the future direction of the series, Cooper said he was "vaguely" aware. "They sent me some material," he said. "But they said also that this Spider-Man is its own Spider-Man. We're just kind of starting from the beginning."
A Sinister Six feature (teaming up famous Spidey villains like The Lizard, Electro, etc.) very much appears to lie in the cards right now, but it's possible that Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) as Harry Osborn - having transformed into either the Green Goblin II or maybe even Venom - might take his father's place as a member on the team of super-powered baddies. We'll just have to wait until next May, to see how this all shakes out...
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Frank Grillo appears in the latest Jason Statham action-thriller Homefront, which hits theaters this week; and thus, gave Crave Online an opportunity to pick the actor's brain, with regard to his role as a pre-Crossbones Brock Rumlow in the Captain America sequel.
When asked if his character will be featured throughout the film, Grillo replied:
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s an origin film. You meet people who are going to be around for a while, so they introduce the characters. It’s almost like it’s a series. It’s fun. I can’t say very much about it because Marvel’s very strict about what you’re allowed to say. The movie, we’ve seen bits of it, and it is spectacular."
For those unaware: Brock is one of the people involved in that elevator fight sequence glimpsed in the teaser trailer for The Winter Soldier (which was shown in its full glory during the Marvel Studios panel at the 2013 International Comic-Con this past summer).
Grillo, who has recently shined playing supporting roles in films like Warrior, The Grey, Disconnect and Zero Dark Thirty, isn't the only well-regarded character actor joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America 2. The film's trailer prominently featured Robert Redford (All Is Lost) as a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. employee, who looks to stir things up - and perhaps change the organization permanently, going forward into future Marvel releases like the Avengers sequel.
While he avoided going into specifics, Grillo assured Crave Online that the Marvel Studios' brain trust has plans for Brock to appear in future movies - though he said he wasn't all that interested in appearing on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at some point - and it's possible that he will even suit up as Crossbones down the line.
As Grillo put it:
"We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if the fans respond to Brock and how it goes."
On that note:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in U.S. theaters on April 4th, 2014.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014.