Captain America: Civil War once had a bigger role for the Winter Soldiers to play. While Civil War mostly focuses on the conflict between Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Bucky Barnes, it had plenty of other narrative plates to spin. The movie also introduced Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU, portrayed the ideological split between The Avengers that leads to an epic airport brawl, and it gave each character their own mini-arc.
It was a lot to balance, but the Russo Brothers managed to pull it off, proving they were more than up to the challenge of Avengers: Infinity War. One of the more surprising twists of the movie involves the plan of main villain Baron Zemo; it initially seems he wants to find the location of the Winter Soldiers, a group of five Super Soldiers who were frozen by HYDRA when it was found they were too dangerous to control. However, Zemo instead kills the soldiers in their cryo pods in the film, as it turns out his plan was to recover footage of Bucky killing Tony’s parents to turn the Avengers against one another.
Captain America: Civil War spents so much time building to the Winter Soldiers it feels like a confrontation is inevitable, so it was a real shock when Steve, Bucky, and Tony find them dead. It turns out this wasn’t always the plan, with actor Scott Adkins revealing on the Empire podcast he was in talks for the film when the soldiers had a bigger part to play:
I was almost in Civil War. There was a part… the Super Soldiers. They were meant to be a bigger part of the movie at one point, possibly, and I met with the [Russo Brothers] about that. But they decided to lessen those parts and make it more about Captain America, Winter Soldier and Iron Man. That fight at the end.
While Adkins says he was initially disappointed he didn’t get the role, Marvel soon came back to him for Doctor Strange. Adkins played Lucian in the outing, one of Kaecilius’ followers, who has an extended fight with Strange. A fight between Captain America and crew against the Winter Soldiers would have been fun, but the Russos made the right choice. The showdown wouldn’t have topped the spectacle of the airport fight, and it wouldn’t have had the emotional sting of the Iron Man Vs Bucky and Steve finale.
Following his near miss with Captain America: Civil War and his mute role in Doctor Strange, it’s a shame the MCU couldn’t have found a bigger role for Adkins, who’s proven to be one of the more reliable DTV action stars of recent years. He’s received strong reviews for Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning and his starring role as Boyka in the Undisputed movies, but he’s mostly confined to small supporting turns in mainstream movies. He actually shared the role of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, doubling for Ryan Reynolds during the action. Adkins says in the interview he’s already used his “Marvel card,” so perhaps the DCEU could find him a juicer role to play?
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