Captain America: The Winter Soldier starred Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow as much as it did Chris Evans' Steve Rogers. In the film the star-spangled Avenger leads his own small team to fight Hydra which, in addition to Black Widow, includes Anthony Mackie's Falcon and Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill. It's in Captain America's nature to lead as Captain America 2 & 3 directors Anthony and Joe Russo (who also may direct The Avengers 3 & 4) reminded us when they joined us for a podcast a few weeks ago, hinting at its followup.
With that in mind, it's almost a given that Black Widow, Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) will return for Captain America 3, and according to a few hints (and later, denials) from Jeremy Renner, his character - codenamed Hawkeye - may also appear. Hawkeye was originally in the script for The Winter Soldier for at least one major action sequence but scheduling prevented that from happening. Could we finally see Marvel's greatest archer get a major role outside of an Avengers film?
The big news yesterday is that Captain America 3 will actually lay the groundwork for an adaptation of the Civil War crossover event from Marvel Comics, a massive story that involved all corners of the Marvel universe and split them in two. To do that, Robert Downey Jr. has reportedly signed with Marvel Studios for a major role in Cap 3, extending his current contract which up until last night only included The Avengers: Age of Ultron (which already wrapped production for a release in May) and its followup in 2018.
If both of those character additions become official, there would be quite a large group of Avengers in Captain America 3. But there's more...
Badass Digest added some details to the Civil War/Robert Downey Jr. news yesterday evening, revealing who their sources say will be joining Captain America 3 after appearances in The Avengers: Age of Ultron but this is obviously a potential spoiler so you've been warned...
* Spoiler Warning *
According to BD, Captain America 3 (which may be subtitled Civil War or Fallen Son) will also include fellow heroes War Machine, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and The Vision in addition to the return of Falcon and Black Widow. Just like Captain America: The Winter Soldier served as a mini-Avengers team-up of sorts, its sequel will very much be an Avengers-like event that we know will have a major impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That plays nicely with our previous theories about Cap 3 being a Secret Avengers movie of sorts and we wouldn't be surprised to see Marvel TV characters like Mockingbird (played by Adrianne Palicki in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) appear either.
BD did not however, list Hawkeye. Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner also wasn't namedropped, adding some credence to rumors that The Avengers: Age of Ultron may see the Hulk shot into space, potentially leading to some semblance of a Planet Hulk story arc. Captain America 3 Begins Shooting in April in Atlanta so it won't be long before we start getting official casting news from Marvel and Disney. The same can be said for Doctor Strange which also begins production next year for Marvel's other 2016 release date.
Excited for the direction of Captain America 3?
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!