We've been waiting for over month to get some kind of confirmation on the lead actress role in Captain America 2; previous rumors pointed to up-and-comers like Anna Kendrick (End of Watch), Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) and Imogen Poots (Fright Night) all being in the running for a role that we here at Screen Rant have long speculated will be that of Sharon Carter - niece of Peggy Carter, the love interest of Steve Roger/Captain America (Chris Evans) in First Avenger.
Today it seems as though those early rumors were a bit off-base, as we now have word on five young ladies who are more likely being eyed by Marvel Studios; we're also getting the not-so-revelatory assertion that Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) could also show up the sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The sequel's subtitle prove that the now-classic "Winter Soldier Saga" from the Captain America comic books will be the basis of this film. For those who don't know, "Winter Soldier" in the comics is actually Bucky Barnes, Cap's former sidekick who was thought to be dead, but was in fact captured and transformed by a Soviet program into a cybernetic assassin known as Winter Soldier. Captain America eventually brought Bucky back to the side of the angels - and Barnes even took on the mantle of Captain America for a stint (a possibility that could conceivably play out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well).
In The First Avenger, Bucky Barnes (played by Sebastian Stan) was assumed dead after falling from a high-speed Hydra train; his return as Winter Soldier has been confirmed by casting, and previous interviews with Marvel Studios execs have revealed that this sequel will likewise find Captain America in the service of S.H.I.E.L.D., following the events of The Avengers. In that sense, the news that Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow could be featured in the film comes as less of a surprise, and more a confirmation of the expected.
As for the female lead (which we speculate to be Sharon Carter): Deadline reports that the actresses in the final running for the role are Emelia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four), Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Alison Brie (Community) and the rumored Imogen Poots (Fright Night). All five ladies are definitely lovely - but again, assuming the character IS Sharon Carter, the chosen candidate has to be able to A) Be able to kick ass in believable fashion, B) Look as though she could reasonably pass as a relative of Peggy Carter (and subsequently, actress Hayley Atwell) - and C) Be a fitting romantic opposite for Chris Evans.
Palmer proved in I Am Number Four - in which she played a warrior alien gal - that she has some considerable onscreen action skills, and she could definitely create sparks with Evans... but she's not necessarily the best match for a Hayley Atwell descendant. Clarke has blown up thanks to her role as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones; Imogen Poots keeps showing up in films like Fright Night and Jane Eyre - but really, neither her nor Clarke has yet established a 'grown woman presence' that would make them convincing as elite ass-kicking agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Brie also tends to skew young and tender in terms of looks and attitude, but given that her Community collaborators Anthony and Joe Russo are directing The Winter Soldier, it wouldn't be surprising if a little networking went a long way to getting Brie the role. For our money, however, Jessica Brown Findlay has qualities "A," "B" and "C" as mentioned above - plus a stronger, more womanly look, making her the best candidate out of the five for our buck.
Who do you think should get the role?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases on April 4, 2014.