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Now that the dust has settled from Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s spring box office dominance, we can firmly look to the next installment in Marvel Studios’ most patriotic franchise. The still untitled third installment in the Captain America series will hit theaters on May 6, 2016, and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are already working hard to bring the film to life. They recently spoke with SFX Magazine about the film, which is still in its early stages.
“When we hit upon the [Ed] Brubaker run of the comic book, we all said that, with certain exceptions, that’s the tone of Cap’s modern franchise,” revealed McFeely. “And you can imagine that with us back, with the Russos back, then if you like Winter Soldier you’ll hopefully like the third one, if we do it right!”
Of course Captain America: The Winter Soldier pulled heavily from Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America with artist Steve Epting. Heck, Brubaker even made a cameo in the film as a Hydra doctor! If Markus and McFeely are eying other arcs from the recent, landmark run on the title, here are five other stories that could serve as a springboard into the third Captain America solo film.
Steve Rogers has a long history with the United Kingdom, one that’s barely been acknowledged in the feature films. Characters like Union Jack and Spitfire haven’t even been introduced yet, despite the prominent part they played in comic book Cap’s World War II exploits. This arc from Brubaker’s run teams Rogers and Sharon Carter up with the modern day Union Jack and the vampiric Spitfire to take on a reincarnated Red Skull. Crossbones even gets a decent amount of time in the spotlight, meaning that Frank Grillo’s mercenary character from Winter Soldier could finally get to crack skulls as the vile assassin.
Chris Evans’ contract with Marvel Studios could lead the company to try to craft a film that positions a red, white and blue replacement for the actor. In this storyline, a brainwashed Sharon Carter assassinates Steve Rogers in public—with Crossbones providing cover fire—as part of one of the Red Skull’s elaborate plots. The events pull Sharon together with Black Widow and Falcon—two characters we definitely want to see more of in the third film—as they try to get to the bottom of Steve’s murder. This storyline also features a rehabilitated, but still traumatized, Winter Soldier as he deals with the return of his memories. If Marvel Studios plans on switching out Cap for Bucky, they could knock over the first domino with this film.
With Bucky firmly cemented as Captain America, the all-new star-spangled Avenger has to track down and rescue the body of his old World War II buddy, Jim Hammond. The original Human Torch, an android with the ability to fly and generate intense flame, has fallen into the hands of Dr. Chin—and Bucky Cap is determined to get him back. This arc teams Bucky up with a few of his World War II buddies, the Human Torch and Namor, which would be great to see on the big screen. There are two problems with this, of course; Universal still owns the film rights to Namor, and Fox might outright own the name Human Torch as part of their Fantastic Four. Still, we did glimpse Jim Hammond’s costume in the very first Captain America film, so there is precedent for his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And if Marvel can get the rights back to Namor, it’d be only fitting for him to debut in a Cap film.
Rumors circulated back when Winter Soldier opened that the third film might include William Burnside as the antagonist. Burnside, the mentally unstable Captain America fill-in from the 1950s, played a major role in this storyline from Ed Brubaker’s run. The reincarnated Red Skull and Dr. Faustus—a big-time Cap foe that we’ve yet to see on the big screen—manipulated Burnside and his extreme right-wing militia group called the Watchdogs into helping the villains place their own pawn inside the White House. This story does star Bucky in the comics, but it could easily be adapted into a Steve Rogers mission should Marvel Studios not want to replace Chris Evans just yet.
This story arc marked the return of Steve Rogers to the titular position of the Captain America series. The story began with Captain America experiencing deep sadness at Peggy Carter’s funeral and quickly transplanted the hero into the incredibly surreal alternate dimension called Nowhere. Baron Zemo and Hydra forces manipulated the dimensional portal control within Cap’s World War II partner Jimmy Jupiter in an attempt to trap the Avenger off Earth in another reality. Cap, Falcon, and Sharon Carter lead this surreal serial, and they could easily do so again on the big screen. Plus, this storyline features the gritty realism that made Winter Soldier work while also introducing the idea of alternate dimensions into the MCU—an idea that will factor in heavily when Doctor Strange makes the leap to film.