SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for the recently released film "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."
Seen "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" yet? Still processing the outcome of the film -- which left S.H.I.E.L.D. in shambles after revealing the intelligence organization had long been infiltrated by Hydra, and Nick Fury off the grid and presumed dead?
CBR News spoke with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to discuss why "The Winter Soldier" was the right place to introduce such steep change to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plus get his take on the film's cameos and that "Stephen Strange" guy mentioned by Jasper Sitwell.
CBR News: Kevin, what was the motivator of making this movie the vehicle of such seismic change? Clearly, it'll have a huge impact on the movies going forward. Why was now the right time to shake things up in such a big way?
Kevin Feige: We're nine movies in. The idea was, Cap's in the modern era. Cap's still working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Some of the things we were most inspired by in the comics was when he was questioning authority, and finding himself at odds with a big organization. You start to think about the movies that came out in the '70s -- there were Cold War movies, and then there were governmental conspiracy movies. You'e heard all of us talk a lot about "3 Days of the Condor," and "All the President's Men," and "The Parallax View."
We said, "The first movie was a World War II genre film with genetically engineered superheroes in it. Let's do a '70s political thriller, Marvel superhero style." We've never seen that before, that could be really, really cool. In order to do that, you need him on the run, you need a Big Bad that he's chasing. You need to put him in a scenario where he doesn't know who to trust -- which is what those movies were always about -- and it frankly gave us an opportunity to just do something that I'd always been thinking about since we were working on the first Captain America film, which is, "If the SSR [Strategic Scientific Reserve] defeated Hydra and defeated the bad guys in World War II, that was the organization that becomes S.H.I.E.L.D. -- they must have brought in Hydra scientists." The way the US did; Wernher von Braun and the Nazis. They must have brought in tech -- we already saw in "Avengers" that they're working with Hydra weapons, and trying to reverse engineer things. What if we reveal that it never went away? That Hydra was always there?
I remember pitching that to Chris Evans on the last day of production of "The Avengers" in Central Park in New York City in September of 2011. He was like, "You're blowing my mind!" He's one of the first people I ever even pitched this idea to, and he was loving it. I was like, "This could be it." And then we talked to Chris [Markus] and Steve [McFeely] and Joe [Russo] and Anthony [Russo], and everybody was on board, and everybody took that idea and ran with it, and improved it to what you saw.
Yeah, it was definitely reminiscent of stuff from comics -- including Jonathan Hickman's "Secret Warriors" series.
Yeah! Exactly. Putting Nick Fury in a position where he's on the run. And even going back to Sternako, and to Scorpio; that stuff.
Given all of that, from the fan perspective, in the film there's Hydra, there's Arnim Zola -- is there any chance to see Red Skull again? It seems that he could have fit into this storyline.
There's always a chance. Did he incinerate when that cube and portal opened up? Who knows. That's part of the fun.
Let's talk about that post-credits scene that was directed by Joss Whedon -- the post-credits scene of "Thor: The Dark World" was a first glimpse of "Guardians of the Galaxy," which seems consistent with been released of the film thus far. Is the scene with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch an indicator of the tone of "Avengers: Age of Ultron"?
Well, I'd say both of those things certainly give you a taste of parts of it. I wouldn't say either of those things can represent the whole. But, yes -- in particular, what they'll be up against in "Age of Ultron" is certainly hinted at in that tag. And who.
"Winter Soldier" contained a quick namedrop that was very significant to comic book fans -- Jasper Sitwell was listing potential targets, and said the name "Stephen Strange." I'm sure that wasn't done accidentally -- how deliberate was that put in there in terms of getting people interested in a "Doctor Strange" movie, which has been said to be in the plans?
We're definitely working very hard on trying to figure that out and get the right team in place on that. His mention was less about, "We're going to announce it soon, let's put it out there!" and more about, "No, he's definitely in the MCU," and even if he were just a brilliant surgeon at that time, he would probably be on their kill list.
The Russos directed "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and Danny Pudi and DC Pierson both had cameos in the film. That's following Chris O'Dowd in "Thor: The Dark World," and Adam Pally in "Iron Man 3." Those are a lot of names associated with comedy -- how much of a passion is that for you?
I just like cool stuff. I just like stuff that's well done, and all of those people that you named are part of that. So I'd say it's less about any sort of hardcore comedy fan, and more about just bringing in people -- from anywhere -- that have done great work, and we think could add to our world. And all of the people you just mentioned -- Chris O'Dowd in particular in "The Dark World" -- just help elevate it.