‘Captain America: Civil War’: Sebastian Stan Talks Winter Soldier, Returns Fire at Zack Snyder

     September 18, 2015


While doing rounds of interviews for his role in The Martian at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sebastian Stan fielded a few questions about the highly anticipated Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War. In the former film—Ridley Scott‘s space-based sci-fi adventure—Stan plays Dr. Chris Beck, the mission crew’s flight surgeon and self-professed adrenaline junkie; in Captain America, he’ll return as Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier. Despite the well-known aura of secrecy surrounding the Marvel Studios production, Steve was able to get a few answers out of the actor.

Steve sat down with Stan to relive his experiences both during and after his appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the amount of dialogue in the new film, a spoiler-free chat about the Ant-Man post-credits scene, and the prospect of starring in future Avengers movies. Stan even gets a few return shots in at DC/WB director Zack Snyder, defending Marvel and Ant-Man. See what he had to say below followed by some quotes:


Image via Marvel Studios

When asked about the response to Winter Soldier and how it changed his career, Stan revealed that audiences will get to see much more of him in Civil War:

[The] character had, in my opinion, an introduction in The Winter Soldier — I mean, it was just sort of like a preview of the guy, which we get so much more of in Civil War. And I’m grateful for that. But to see that response to that was awesome because it just made me think, “Wow, people really got behind the character,” and that’s what you’re hoping for, especially [laughs] given that I didn’t really have any lines to say or anything. Which probably made it for the better to be honest.

It should go without saying that we’ll get to see more of Winter Soldier in Civil War, but with a cast of characters that’s as jam-packed as this movie is, it’ll be tough to get any sense of depth from all of them. That being said, it sounds like Stan’s character will have much more to say this time around:

They gave me a lot more dialogue, and I thought, “Oh my god, it was so much better when I didn’t have to say things! “The look of the Winter Soldier is a very specific look. There was something very specific in how the guy looked and behaved and I felt like the more I stepped back and I just kind of let that do the work, the better it was gonna be. In a situation like that, you’re trying to guess where the guy’s at in his mind, and that certainly continues in the Civil War movie. You’re always trying to guess what side is he on or … because he can go both ways. That’s me being really lucky with a character like that where you can kind of … I mean they could write something for him tomorrow where he could be the worst assassin, the worst terrible villain, killer, whatever, or he could be this guy who is endearing, who is trying to rebuild his life so there’s a lot of places to go with the character and that’s exciting.


Image via Marvel

Anyone who’s taken a peek at some of Marvel’s concept art has an idea of where Winter Soldier’s loyalties lie, and comic book readers know how just how deeply those loyalties run. It will certainly be interesting to see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe deals with the twists and turns surrounding the events of Civil War, and just how they shakes things up for the movies to come later.

Because Civil War will pit heroes against heroes, fans may be wondering just how well characters like Captain America and Winter Soldier can stand up to some of the more super-powered foes they’ll be facing. Stan has put some thought into that as well:

Yeah, it’s awesome, and I kind of like that he doesn’t really have super powers. He’s got this metal arm and stuff, sort of the serum situation, but he’s sort of just a dude. It’s funny placing him next to the Scarlet Witch or something where she’s got all the stuff— [waves his hand, imitating Wanda doing magic] I’m going, “What is he going to do? He’s just going to sort of block a lot of stuff with his metal arm.” But I think it’s good, it’s relatable. He could die at any point.

Marvel has done a good job of separating their heroes and their varying power levels when it comes to battling villains, ie Hawkeye and Black Widow took down individual Chitauri while Thor and Hulk battled the monstrous Leviathans. They’ll likely do the same by way of equally powered match-ups in Civil War, but the danger of heroes getting caught up in super-powered crossfire will pose a very real threat that adds to the film’s tension.


Image via Marvel

[Spoiler alert] For fans of Marvel’s Ant-Man, Stan commented on the credits scene that appeared in Marvel’s most recent movie:

Like two days before. We were on set and somebody went, “Oh! By the way, did you know that there’s a thing at the end of Ant-Man and you guys are in it?” And I was like, “No, I don’t, but I’d love to go see it now so I know what we shot.” It’s kind of interesting because we shot that scene in early May so it’s interesting that they decided to use that … I think it’s somewhere in the middle.


Stan also addressed the concern that fans have that there are already way too many characters in Civil War:

I mean, I know everybody’s treating it like there are all these Avengers in it, like it’s Avengers 2.5 or something, and there’s an element of that, but it’s still at the end of the day very much a Captain America film. It’s different from The Avengers, it’s definitely its own entity, totally connects to the last Winter Soldier film, and the Russos’ stamp is all over it.

Personally, I’ve never been too worried that Marvel is cramming too many heroes into this story or that the Russos couldn’t handle it. The story of Civil War requires this many characters to exist, essentially replacing the legions of Chitauri or minions of Ultron from the previous Avengers movies with the other named characters as adversaries. Yes, there will be a lot of people battling on screen, but they likely won’t be faceless drones; and Captain American will still be at the center of the chaos.


Image via Marvel

Now, perhaps the moment you’ve been waiting for, Stan addresses the comments made by Zack Snyder regarding Marvel’s Ant-Man:

Collider: I think the reason why the Marvel movies are so good — especially Winter Soldier — is that Winter Soldier’s a ‘70s political thriller that happens to star Captain America. And what I’m curious about is what kind of take is Civil War in terms of … because it’s obviously going to be a reboot and reinvention. Do you know what I mean?

Stan: Yeah, I’m sitting here and I’m listening to you and I’m thinking, “Do I want to fire some shots at DC right now, at Zack Snyder?” I read some of those comments where he said something about Batman and Superman, I can’t remember where I read that, somewhere… Something about, “It’s not going to be your flavor-of-the-week Ant-Man.” And I was like, “Oh thanks, Zack. That’s great. Way to do something original.” But I would say we’re still making something very original in our own way. I mean, the Russos are coming in and taking something people are used to and they’re shaping it up and changing it in a very different way. They’re not trying to mimic a better Christopher Nolan movie or something like that.”

Like much of the Internet, I think Stan misconstrued Snyder’s comments as being aimed at Ant-Man the movie, and not Ant-Man the character. Still, Stan’s response is now out there so let the battle between Marvel and DC commence! I particularly like the fact that he rips Snyder for making a pale imitation of a Christopher Nolan film, but at the end of the day, all of these movies are adaptations of characters and stories that have been around for decades, despite whatever original touches are brought to the production.


Image via Marvel Studios

In a less inflammatory discussion that revolved around Stan keeping his long hair for Civil War, he concluded by dodging around a question about whether or not he’d been in the Avengers: Infinity War movies:

I’m assuming Bucky is definitely a part of the next two Avengers movies.


Stan: Again, it’s totally not something I know for sure. Like, you know, it’s a blessing and a curse — sometimes I wish I knew to sort of get my life back together. You know, I’m like, “I might as well just not cut my hair at all.” But I really don’t know. It’s so early to know that. But hopefully…

Certainly, Stan’s role in Avengers: Infinity War depends on a number of things: contracts, availability, whether or not his character even survives Civil War, so I can’t fault him for not knowing (or not revealing) what’s going to happen in the two-part mega-movie that kicks off in 2018. Until then, we’ll just have to settle for enjoying his performance in Captain America: Civil War when it opens May 6, 2016.


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