So what did you do this weekend? Well, if you’re reading Nerd Bastards, you probably saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you did see it, you’re probably spinning from that twist in the end, which seriously shuffles the deck for all Marvel movies here on out, or at least the ones that intersect with S.H.I.E.L.D. in some way. So given what happened in The Winter Soldier, where does the MCU go from here? Your guess is as good as mine, but Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige recently let us in on his thought process. Major spoilers follow…
Still here? Then you know that in The Winter Soldier it’s revealed that HYDRA, the Nazi’s advanced science research division, had survived to the modern era by hiding in plain sight inside S.H.I.E.L.D., and after years of destabilizing the world through the agency, they were finally ready to seize control until they’re stopped by Captain America, Black Widow, Maria Hill, Falcon and Nick Fury. In the end, S.H.I.E.L.D. is dissolved, and all its secrets are laid bare in an info-dump that would put Wikileaks to shame.
Considering that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s been a part of every Marvel movie since Iron Man, to suddenly toss it by the wayside is a pretty big way for The Winter Soldier to leave its mark on the series, so why did they do it? And when did Feige and Co. decide to set the timer on that bomb? Germain Lussier of /Film got a chance to ask the producer that himself, and here’s what Feige had to say:
Well it was sort of a notion I had in the back of my head during Captain America 1 when we were sort of plotting the timelines for Cap and Avengers. The S.S.R. and Howard Stark’s involvement and, you know, people always ask, do you have master timelines of all the different movies? And we don’t really, but we do have timelines of the details of some of the movies, like the Stark family and things like that. And we were putting that together. And I started to get excited again, just sort of in the back of my own head about the idea that the S.S.R. help defeat the Nazis obviously, but also HYDRA. And that would make sense that the United States truly did bring in some of those HYDRA scientists and experts in technology to incorporate it and that much of what became S.H.I.E.L.D. signature items were a part of the HYDRA Corps brand. And what if you took that to another level and said “Oh, they’ve been in there the whole time, they’ve been growing in there the whole time.” And at some point reveal that much of the work S.H.I.E.L.D. had done was all for this, for the purpose of eventually bringing back HYDRA.
And I think the first person I actually sort of verbalized it to was Chris Evans. On the last day of shooting we were in Central Park on Avengers and he goes “So what are we doing for the next one?” I said, “Well, you know, we love Brubaker’s Winter Soldier, we think there could be something there. And have Sebastian [Stan] become a totally different version of himself. We also have this notion about SHIELD.” He was like “Holy crap, what the…?” And just based on his reaction it was like, “Oh maybe this is good.”
And we worked on a few other things. A few other ideas for the early versions of Cap 2. And then I sat down with Chris Markus and Steve McFeely and our co-producer Nate Moore and said, “Here’s what I’m thinking.” We knew we wanted to have Cap in the modern world, we knew we wanted to do sort of a paranoid global thriller, pit Cap against authority and who can he trust. And it was sort of that notion of “Hey, the first movie’s a World War II movie grafted with a superhero movie. Let’s do a political thriller grafted with a superhero movie.” And that’s when I went “Well I have this thought.” And everybody loved it.
And also the notion of changing the game leading into Avengers: Age of Ultron. That not having the safety net of necessarily of a giant government organization. You have it be just them was interesting and intriguing. All of this was in motion before the TV show existed. So when they told me, “Hey, we wanna do this TV show” and Joss called me and said, “Hey, you know, I’m gonna get involved in this show, I think we can do some cool stuff,” I went ‘Hey, that sounds really cool, good luck, but this is what we’re doing in Cap 2 and I don’t wanna change it for this.” And you don’t have to change it, we’ll figure it out. So stay tuned for that change.
So now you know. It certainly was brazen for the studio to take the narrative device they’ve used to connect all their movies, not to mention the basis for the currently broadcasting television series (which has S.H.I.E.L.D. right there in the name), and toss it out the window. It certainly opens the MCU into becoming a much more dangerous place, and one that may need the combined might of The Avengers now more than ever. As for Coulson and Co. on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I guess we’ll find out their fates soon rather than later.