If J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars: Episode VII and Ben Kingsley playing The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 have taught us anything, it's that official denials from the people in Hollwood don't mean a whole lot nowadays. At least, not when it comes to big blockbusters that are either shrouded in secrecy or still coming together. The latest example of this? Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Two months ago, Captain America leading lady Hayley Atwell confirmed that she's not reprising her role as Steve Rogers' love interest Peggy Carter in the sequel. Well, according to her CA costar Stanley Tucci (who played Dr. Abraham Erskine), that's not entirely accurate.
Collider interviewed Tucci about Jack the Giant Slayer (which opens in theaters next month), during the course of which the actor was asked about flashbacks to Cap's time during WW II in The Winter Soldier and whether or not Tucci has been approached by Marvel heads to return as Dr. Erskine during those sequences. He appears to have accidentally let the cat out of the bag, by answering:
"No, they haven’t, unfortunately. I’m really sad. I know that Hayley is going back to do a flashback scene, but I have not been asked."
Last year, Atwell carefully dodged questions about Peggy returning in the new Captain America installment, with comments like “I can’t say yet because it hasn’t been officially released..." Whether that's because she was under contract not to say anything - or maybe the character wasn't originally in the script - that's up for speculation. It's also possible that Atwell was simply denying that she'll appear as older Peggy in the film's present, a la that Avengers scene that Joss Whedon wrote, but never filmed, where Steve (Chris Evans) and Peggy meet up after 70 years apart.
Does this mean Steve might find some emotional closure with Peggy in The Winter Soldier after all? If Atwell is heading back to shoot a scene or two, that also opens the door for her playing an elderly version of the character; or, perhaps she will instead be referenced by her niece Sharon Carter (we assume Emily VanCamp is playing that particular S.H.I.E.L.D. agent), during a conversation which triggers Steve's memories. Either way, it's good to hear Peggy isn't going to be completely forgotten, as that doesn't make a lot of sense given Cap's current emotional state.
In addition to Peggy, directors Joe and Anthony Russo are bringing back Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), though his boss Red Skull is less of a sure thing according to the man who plays him, Hugo Weaving (assuming that's not just misdirection). Meanwhile, Sebastian Stan is reprising his role as Bucky Barnes - and not just during flashbacks either, hence the film's subtitle - with the new players including Anthony Mackie as Agent Falcon, Frank Grillo as the villain Crossbones and Scarlett Johansson reprising Black Widow from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.
Phase II of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) begins when Iron Man 3 releases in theaters on May 3rd, 2013, followed by Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014 and The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015.
Phase III of the MCU starts with Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015.