During the Iron Man 3 panel at Comic-Con 2012, Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige laid out and confirmed the upcoming slate of films coming from the studio post-Avengers. Among the films, and releasing after Iron Man 3 and the Thor followup, is the sequel to Captain America, which we now know is titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
By dropping the number system for the next Captain America and throwing in "The Winter Soldier" subtitle, they've confirmed rumors from over a year ago and revealed exactly what the story will be about, and at least one new character who will be (re)introduced.
Reprising his role as Bucky Barnes for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the best friend of Steve Rogers, will be Sebastian Stan Variety has confirmed. Stan had signed a multi-picture deal when joining the cast of The First Avenger and that contract is about pay dividends giving Stan a key role as Winter Soldier for the sequel.
When Captain America 2 was confirmed three months ago with its new release date, little information was given outside of the basic premise of the film, that it would follow Steve Rogers after the events of The Avengers as a member of the SHIELD organization.
The Walt Disney Studios has announced a release date for Marvel Studios’ sequel to the blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger on April 4, 2014. The second installment will pick-up where the highly anticipated Marvel’s The Avengers (May 4, 2012) leaves off, as Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world.
As we get closer and closer to the film's production start date, it seems more and more likely that The Winter Soldier will be hosting a team of heroes and not just the titular star-spangled Avenger. We heard from The Playlist before Comic-Con that both Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) would be a crucial part of Captain America 2, where more of their backstory and relationship would be explored. And as of yesterday, we can add Falcon to the list of characters potentially fighting alongside Steve Rogers in the film, with Anthony Mackie (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) in consideration for the role.
From the title of the film, we also know that Bucky - a character who seemingly fell to his death in Captain America - will be back as well. While Bucky living through his tragic fall in Captain America: The First Avenger shouldn't come as a surprise to faithful readers of Marvel Comics, his immediate return for the sequel might be. In the books, Bucky Barnes, while fighting alongside Captain America against Baron Zemo towards the end of World War II, lost his arm in an explosion and fell to what was assumed to be his death. The Russians later found him frozen - much like Captain America was - and gave him a prosthetic replacement arm, brainwashing him into becoming an elite assassin codenamed Winter Soldier.
Where Captain America woke up after decades being preserved on ice, allowing him to maintain his youth in modern times, Winter Soldier was kept in stasis by the Russians in between missions which prevented him from aging over the years as well. In the books, Winter Soldier crosses paths with the Cosmic Cube and key characters including Black Widow (note the Russian spy/love interest connection) and Sharon Carter - another character who could be introduced in Captain America 2 as a new love interest for Rogers.
The official Captain America 2 logo - CLICK TO ENLARGE
If rumors and reports are true, much of Ed Brubaker's Captain America comic books will likely represent the foundation for the sequel's screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, which we're told is very exciting. Sebastian Stan, who played Bucky in The First Avenger, signed a six-picture contract with the studio and, as confirmed by Variety, Marvel will be bringing him back to reprise the role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. For the readers, can you picture Stan as the Winter Soldier in the modern era of the Marvel cinematic universe? And dare I say it, but could you see him eventually as the new Captain America if Marvel Studios ever goes down the path of the Marvel Civil War?
For those who don't know, the Marvel Civil War crossover event a few years back resulted in the assassination of Captain America where the Winter Soldier - who helped Nick Fury out during the time - took up his costume and the role of Captain America on the advice of Tony Stark/Iron Man. His first mission had him team with Falcon (coincidence?), Sharon Carter, and Black Widow to take down the Red Skull and his latest plot. If you're interested in the books for more info on the Winter Soldier as he steps up as the new Cap, check out Captain America #25-42 and note all the connections to what we've seen in Captain America, The Avengers and what we know about Iron Man 3 (i.e. A.I.M.).
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier will star Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson, and will be directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014 and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014.
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Cover art by Steve Epting, Lee Bermejo, Gabrielle Dell'Otto, Frank Cho and Leinil Francis Yu from Winter Soldier #1,7, Captain America #600, Secret Invasion #6.