The uninitiated may ask, just who is The Winter Soldier and why is he in the title of the new Captain America movie?
Producer Kevin Feige explains, “One of the best Captain America storylines in the comics over the past 20 years was The Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker. It influenced the tone and the texture in the first Captain America film, and we all felt it was time to for the Winter Soldier to be one of the main characters in the franchise.”
For Brubaker, coming up with the Winter Soldier character was something that started in his youth. “When I was 8 years old, I had already been reading comics for about four years and I had every issue of ‘Captain America’ from #100 on,” recalls Brubaker. “I always thought there was an issue #99 where Captain America and Bucky got blown up by Baron Zemo and Bucky died, and then I went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time and I found out that didn’t actually happen and that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had just decided not to bring Bucky back when they brought Captain America back. I was a big Bucky fan and I thought to myself, ‘If I ever get to write a Captain America comic, I’m going to bring Bucky back.’”
With the filmmakers settling on the storyline for the film, the ball was passed to screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely who wrote the first film of the franchise, “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Speaking about the writing duo, Feige says, “They’re great because they are well versed in the comics. They’re also just incredible screenwriters and very creative. They’ve got one foot outside of the comic world, one foot firmly inside the comic world, and in particular for ‘The Winter Soldier’ that’s what we were looking for. We were looking for a movie that could play to both groups of people—as we do with all of our movies—fans of the properties and people who don’t know them at all.”
“The Winter Soldier is like a negative image of Captain America,” says screenwriter Stephen McFeely. “Steve Rogers was asleep for 70 years while the Winter Soldier was killing people for 70 years. One represents the government and the other has spent 70 years undermining governments, killing presidents and important political figures.”
“Winter Soldier in the movie is perceived as a ghost ops character,” informs Joe Russo. “An infamous assassin that intelligence agencies throughout the world have never been able to identify; like Bigfoot, there are only blurry, inconclusive photos of his existence over an inexplicable 60-year period. The big reveal in the movie to Cap is that this ghost is his supposedly deceased best friend from World War II.”
For actor Sebastian Stan, transitioning into the role of The Winter Soldier was an opportunity that he hoped would materialize with the success of the franchise and popularity of the storyline. Offering some background on the character, Stan says, “The Russians found Bucky Barnes and they saw a great opportunity to use him as a weapon to target Steve Rogers’ weak spots, his emotions and past. I have always been very fascinated by the Winter Soldier and was just thrilled to get the opportunity to play this complex character.”
Says Kevin Feige, “Sebastian Stan is now playing a completely different part than he played in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’ It’s great seeing him grow as an actor and seeing him embrace Bucky in a way that is completely different, inspired directly from Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier comic run.”
Director Anthony Russo points out that bringing a sense of brutality to the Winter Soldier was crucial to setting up the relationship between Captain America and Winter Soldier. Anthony explains, “Cap is like Rocky; he’s a character with a clear code and a strong drive. He’s at his most compelling when you take him to the 12th round. When he’s beat up, bloody, stumbling—will he stay on his feet? That’s when you feel the real victory in him. Our thought process was, if the villain’s his best friend, then let’s make the villain as brutal and aggressive as we possibly can, so that it presents the greatest challenge to Cap. So that the distance Cap has to pull the character back from is so significant that as audience members we’re not sure whether he’s going to get there or not. Winter Soldier is a very tragic, empathetic villain. There’s something good inside of him that is potentially salvageable, and only Cap can recognize that.”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which continues the big screen adventures of Steve Rogers aka Captain America, picks up after the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, and finds Steve Rogers living quietly in Washington, D.C., and trying to adjust to the modern world.
But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue and mystery that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off assailants sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable new enemy—the Winter Soldier.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens in the Philippines on March 26, 2014, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
In addition to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including “Guardians of the Galaxy“ on August 1, 2014; “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015; and “Ant-Man“ on July 17, 2015.