Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely penned the screenplay for 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which covered Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) transformation from 4F into the shield-wielding Super-Soldier, Captain America. In 2012’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” we saw Cap’s return to action following a 70-year hibernation, but for the next chapter of Cap’s saga in Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Markus and McFeely opted to take a deeper look into Rogers’ psyche after rejoining modern-day society, as well as the inner-conflict regarding the organization he’s aligned with.
Explained Markus, “The great thing about conspiracies is it’s not usually 16 people versus a conspiracy. It’s usually one guy, increasingly isolated until you’ve got one man who has to decide whether he’s going to run in the opposite direction or take them down.”
Striking the right tone for the film meant first identifying and eliminating clichés the writers wanted to avoid.
“We also knew the story we didn’t want to do, which was the ‘Grandpa Story,’ like ‘Oh my god, I’m in the future! What are these buttons? What do they do?'” said Markus.
In fact, Rogers will be more acclimated to his surroundings than he was in “Marvel’s The Avengers.”
“He's been working for S.H.I.E.L.D., and he's been on a lot of missions. He's in the midst of a daily life now,” Markus said.
“[Cap has] got personal stuff to deal with,” added McFeely. “So in acclimating himself to this century, it’s not just finding the bus routes; it’s checking in on people who may or may not be dead and that kind of stuff.”
On the surface, working with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. seemingly gives Cap purpose and a sense that he’s doing right by his country, but the questionable decisions made within the clandestine organization don’t always sit well with Rogers.
"Fury represents an obstacle for Steve in some ways," McFeely said. “[The two] don’t always agree on how S.H.I.E.L.D. ought to get used. If the first movie was a movie about the U.S. Army, then this is a film about S.H.I.E.L.D. You will learn about S.H.I.E.L.D. You’ll learn where it came from and where it’s going and some of the cool things they have.”
Added Markus, “[Captain America] will always behave the way he behaves. But when you’re working for people who work in a grey area and they ask you to do grey things, it’s suddenly like, ‘Maybe I am in the wrong business because my skillset is more than killing, and yet you really need some killing done and here I am with my flag out there.’ There’s a great negative image of Steve there. [He] was frozen [for] years, he was alive for seventy years, periodically frozen, but I like the idea that [Steve] missed history, and he killed half the people in history. It’s such a betrayal of everything Steve holds dear. You know those few sacred things you have? No, sorry, they’re ruined. Which is great.”
Telling such an intricate story put a lot of the onus on Chris Evans to deliver, which the writers never considered a concern.
“[Evans has] been very dedicated to finding a center for Cap that is not this gloss, and I think, because [he’s] so likeable, he pulls that off,” McFeely said. “We worry about, on a script level, the grumpy grandpa stuff. I don’t worry about it from Chris.”
Get your tickets now for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," in theaters April 4, and for the latest news and updates on Cap stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @CaptainAmerica on Twitter and like Captain America on Facebook!