60 Things to Know about CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER from Our Set Visit

     March 6, 2014


Captain America: The Winter Soldier is opening in less than a month, but I’ve been anticipating its release for well over a year now.  Last summer, I joined a small group of journalists on a set visit to Marvel’s latest film.  I had arrived with a general level of anticipation for the sequel, but when I left, the movie had made it’s way to my #1 most anticipated film of 2014, bar none. Why, you ask?  Well in addition to its stellar cast and Marvel’s well-established pedigree of films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been crafted in the form of a tense, cerebral, and many-layered political thriller.  (Rather appropriate given the current state of affairs in this country and abroad.)  And if that wasn’t enough, there’s something brewing in the third act of this film that will bring about major implications for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Hit the jump for much more!

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-joe-russo-anthony-russo-chris-evansDuring our set visit to Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the summer of 2013 (which explains why some information may be dated), we got to interview stars Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan.  Additionally, we talked to screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and Marvel Studios’ President of Production, Kevin Feige.  All of those interviews are coming up, but first I’d like to share with you what we saw on set, and a list of 60 things to know about the movie.

True to Marvel’s nature, the scene they were shooting that day was 90% green screen, so it was tough to tell what exactly was going on.  The scene consisted mostly of Mackie’s character, The Falcon, attempting to steal some sort of MacGuffin (possibly a vial or tube of some kind?) from a sky-high facility.  Though he wasn’t using his wings at the time, there was a long metal catwalk that could conceivably be pretty high off the ground, though it was tough to tell with all that green screen.  Captain America himself also ran a few laps back and forth on the same catwalk, owing to the meticulous nature of the Russo brothers behind the camera.  So while it was cool to see those two in action, the real excitement came when we talked to the filmmakers and learned about just what was in store for audiences.

Check out our “Things to Know” below, which are broken down into character categories (in case you want to avoid certain spoilers) and a more general category about the overall film:

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-scarlet-johansson-chris-evansCaptain America:

  • The main relationship centers on Cap’s internal struggles, though Cap’s relationships with Sam Wilson/Falcon and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow are also important. Cap and Fury’s relationship is described as “combative”.
  • Part of Cap’s modernized fighting style includes more creative use of the shield.
  • The heart of the movie is how “a character with a code like Cap [is working] for a clandestine organization which has a very subversive agenda.”
  • The Russos describe their vision of Cap as being similar to Rocky, in terms of his clear and open code, and being someone whom the audiences roots for.
  • Chris Evans did more than just bring Cap to life; he’s also very involved in the direction and production side of the business.
  • Cap’s new suit was designed with covert operations and top-grade military technology in mind, but is also a thematic element throughout the film.
  • Taking inspiration from Three Days of the Condor, the early part of the film is spent encouraging the audience to care about Cap, and then putting him in jeopardy for the rest of the film.
  • When we find Cap in this movie, he’s in the midst of a daily life and has adjusted, more or less, to the modern world.
  • A core theme surrounding Cap is the idea that he once used to represent America and has now become alien to modern thoughts and values due to the passage of time.
  • The screenwriters see Cap as their “Gary Cooper”.
  • Chris Evans loves the previous Captain America video game, and compares his fighting style in this movie to his character in the game.
  • Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson meet at the VA hospital where Wilson works as a therapist, essentially, for soldiers struggling with PTSD.

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-anthony-mackie-falconThe Falcon:

  • Mackie plays Sam Wilson as a “strong man as opposed to a comic book character.”
  • The Falcon’s wings are CG, though they had a practical pair on set for reference.
  • Mackie was hoping to play the version of the Falcon with “a bird and spandex and prostitutes and cocaine.”
  • The camaraderie between the Falcon and Captain America is built on a shared military experience.
  • Mackie hasn’t heard whether or not he’ll appear in the Avengers sequel.
  • As part of his preparation, Mackie developed character sub-plots in which Black Widow is a romantic love interest and Nick Fury is a father figure. Keep an eye out for that in the movie.
  • The Falcon is a little more outwardly funny, but is very much a 21st century human being.
  • The Falcon is less a fan of Captain America and more a comrade in arms.
  • The Falcon’s origin is more organic than the Red Skull plot arc from the comics.

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-poster-sebastian-stanThe Winter Soldier:

  • Sebastian Stan only knew (officially) that he’d be playing the Winter Soldier about a year before shooting. He found out the title at Comic-Con along with everyone else.
  • Stan says he had no clue that Marvel was planning on going in this direction, but wishes he had known during filming of his torture scene in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Stan wanted to tie in the Bucky character from the first film with the Winter Soldier character from this one, but the main focus is on the present-day iteration.
  • Stan credited the costume department with making an authentic costume that’s actually quite flexible and comfortable.
  • Stan suffered a burst blood vessel in his eye on set, but used the “cool” look to add to his character.
  • Stan promises that, although he wears a mask, his voice won’t sound anything like Bane.
  • The backstory between Winter Soldier and Black Widow is not expected to be explored in this film, but it is acknowledged.


  • This movie stands on its own, but it certainly respects its roots in the origin film.
  • Anthony Mackie owes his knowledge of The Falcon to his brother, a comic book fan. (He also owes his brother a new collection since Mackie destroyed them when he was little.)
  • Mackie shares a hilarious story about green-screen acting from his time on We Are Marshall.
  • Mackie says that the Russo brothers have really grounded this film in a believable world that supports the political thriller aspect, and it’s helped by the caliber of the cast involved.
  • Mackie was a little put off by Marvel’s secrecy at the outset, but learned to trust in the people behind the scenes.
  • Kevin Feige was a fan of the Russos’ work on Community and wanted to meet them to talk about Cap. After intense competition, they landed the job.
  • The Russos stressed how strong the initial script was and how supportive Marvel has been with making the movie they want to make.
  • Jcaptain-america-the-winter-soldier-frank-grillooe Russo compared the cinematic version of Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier storyline to that of Star Wars, saying that seeing this level of emotional stakes of this hero’s journey is rare.
  • The movie is set up on dual storylines early on that eventually intersect with Cap taking over.
  • Expect the fighting to be very visceral and believable in this one.
  • Production shut down a freeway in Cleveland for two weeks.
  • Action sequences in the movie, like car chases for example, are influenced by films like To Live and Die in L.A., and Ronin.
  • There is a Three Days of the Condor Easter egg in the film, but it’s of the “pause your DVD and look” variety.
  • There’s a “very big idea that they’re exploring in the third act of this movie. It’s a sort of monumental idea for the MCU [that] impacts everything.”
  • There will also be a Brubaker Easter egg.
  • Stan Lee will have a cameo in this film.
  • Screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus wanted to write a conspiracy thriller and avoided having Cap struggle to understand modern conveniences.
  • Black Widow was specifically chosen to partner up with Cap because she represents a gray morality and a modern era, along with being the right person to poke at his weak spots.
  • Three Days of the Condor, Marathon Man, and The Parallax View are three films that influenced the script.
  • The world is in a transitional state with the knowledge of the existence of alien species, so S.H.I.E.L.D. is not 100% in agreement on how to handle the threat.
  • 98% of the movies takes place in the present, with only 2% in flashbacks. They experimented with a heavy flashback structure in early tests.
  • The movie is not intentionally designed to set things up for future Marvel sequels or to end on a cliffhanger.
  • Frank Grillo’s Crossbones character is “learning to be Crossbones in a way” in this movie. There’s a possibility of him cross into the R-rated boundary (and beyond) “somewhere down the line.”
  • captain-america-the-winter-soldier-final-posterSharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) is described as “another option for Captain America and for Steve Rogers to think about moving forward in his life.”
  • The Winter Soldier is described as a “negative image of Steve [Rogers].”
  • As Markus says, “This movie is going to punch you in the face.”
  • As Feige says, “just as [Cap is] perhaps finding a niche for himself, his past comes back and lands like a ton of bricks on his head in the form of Winter Soldier.”
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier will pull from multiple comics over the years in which Cap fought against the changing status quo of what it means to be American.
  • The film takes place after the events of Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3, but may not overtly callback to those films.
  • Robert Redford wanted to do the film in part because his grandkids are fans of Marvel movies and he wanted them to see him in one.
  • Marvel approached Glenn Close for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Marvel and Feige are on guard to avoid painting themselves into a corner storywise.
  • As much as fans think Marvel is putting out misinformation campaigns, Feige denies it and says that fan rumors do enough of that on their own.

Click here for all our Captain America coverage or browse recent links below:

Latest News