Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Kevin Feige is the man with the plan. The president of Marvel Studios is the person most directly responsible for Marvel movies not only being good, but connecting with one another to tell one big story.

His latest success, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is now in theaters and breaking all kinds of box office records. The record-breaking is no surprise but it’s bad luck to say that a few weeks before release, which is when I sat down with Feige to talk all things Marvel.

We discussed a lot of things you’ve already read on the site. The Batman vs. Superman release date, the ending of the film, some of the new characters, the Doctor Strange director short list, the Avengers tower, but now this is the full interview. It has lots of new nuggets, including why Hawkeye isn’t in The Winter Soldier, that exciting name mentioned in the film, if the Netflix shows will tie into the MCU, Paul Bettany, discussion of the post credits scene and more.

Below, read our full Kevin Feige interview for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER below.

Kevin Feige Interview

Kevin Feige

/Film: Congrats sir. It was awesome, I loved it.

Kevin Feige: Only the first half of the movie.

Yes, exactly, then it got a little muddled.

I understand. [Both laugh] [Note: this was a reference to our interview for The Avengers.]

So you spent eight movies and a TV show building up S.H.I.E.L.D. and then in this movie, you say good-bye to S.H.I.E.L.D. When did you get that idea to sort of have HYDRA be underneath it all?

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.

Right, sure. But, I mean, you do a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie, it seems like Hawkeye would have fit in at some point, right? Are we gonna find out where he’s been during Phase 2 before Avengers?

You will. In Avengers you will.

All right.

And a lot of that was in not overloading. You know, we wanted it to be Cap’s movie and Widow’s movie and to see more of Nick Fury than we’ve ever seen before. And to bring in a whole new character in the Falcon. At a certain point, why keep adding? Listen, Jeremy Renner’s the best. It would be cool to have Jeremy Renner in any movie. But to a certain extent, you don’t want everything to just be “And I’m here too” and “It’s me, hello.” It’s too much.

Yeah, totally. Now when all the stuff with X-Men: Days of Future Past and their version Quicksilver came out, were you happy that in the back of your head, you know you’d get the character on screen first in the tag to this film?

I don’t know if I was that, if I was that savvy. I think in fact, part of me thought “Oh well, we’ll get him into the movie first because of that tag and this is before the movie comes out.” But I knew that they would have the trailers, movies and so I knew that their version would get out first. But also, as I hope you can see in that tag, as people will certainly see in the movie, they may as well be two totally different characters. We’re doing completely different things with him.

What about this rumor that they are Inhumans?

You know what? Only the journalists today have been telling me that this is popping up online. But that’s absolutely not the case. In fact, part of the reason for that tag is to set up how they came to be. So if you watch it, Strucker tells you.

Okay. We finally have a Stephen Strange mention in the movie.

Yes, it felt like the right way and the right time to just go “He’s here too.” And, if Captain America didn’t save the day, he would have been dead before it all began.

Speaking of Strange, the Director’s shortlist, are those three guys in?

We’ve met with… I don’t remember exactly what the three were now that they…

[Scott] Derrickson, [Mark] Andrews and [Jonathan] Levine.

We’ve met them all. Some of those three are not in contention anymore, some of those three we’re still talking with and there are many others.

Okay.

We have not narrowed it down as much as the Internet says. I wish we had.

Yeah. The Netflix stuff is such a huge, huge deal and I know you’re only tangentially involved. But where is that going to fit in or what conversations have their been with the movies and S.H.I.E.L.D and everything?

The only conversations really have been, I think, their smart desire to make those shows stay on their own. To make those shows, you know, all about making the best Daredevil show you can make, make the best Jessica Jones show you can make, which is what the early days of the M.C.U. and still now all of our movies are about. “What’s the task at hand?” “Make the best Iron Man movie.” “We have an idea that we can bring in Nick Fury and sort of introduce that all these movies are connected.” “Okay, let’s put that in the tag though. So it doesn’t distract from the movie itself.” So I think what they’re focusing on is just making a great, you know, 10 hour, I’m not sure how many episodes, but do a great 10 hours of Daredevil, a great 10 hours of Jessica Jones.

May 6, 2016, you guys have a movie scheduled, but now they also, D.C. also put Batman Vs. Superman there.

Right.

At this point, we don’t know what movie it’s gonna be, I’m sure you do, [Edit: It's Captain America 3]  is that something that you guys are gonna look at to change or are you guys gonna take D.C. head on? That would be like a big fanboy thing if they opened on the same day.

We’re certainly keeping the date there. And we’ll announce what that movie is I assume in the next few months. [Edit: Or sooner, it's Cap 3.]

Comic-Con maybe something like that?

You know, that’d be great. I’d love nothing more than to be able to announce them all there. But if we, if it’s ready beforehand, we’ll probably do it beforehand. If it’s not ready then, we’ll do it after.

All right. So much has happened since I talked to you on Thor. You know…

It wasn’t even that long ago.

Yeah, I know, exactly, but now we know about Ant-Man casting, have seen the Guardians trailer, Doc Strange coming. What do you think is the next big milestone here? Is it gonna be another Phase 3 announcement?

Well the next thing will also be the release of this movie. Then we’re releasing Guardians on August 1st.

Oh I know, I know, I know.

That’s taking up all of our time now. And then the sequel to the third biggest movie of all time.

Yes.

And then Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man finally coming to fruition. Certainly by those, by that time, everyone will know what the ’16 movies are and the ’17 movies are and we’ll be working on the ’18 movies.

Avengers 3 at some point, yeah.

So yeah, it’s…

But since November, the plan has certainly solidified itself a bit more and like you said, announcements are in the next couple months or so?

Yeah, I think so. I hope so.

What is something in this movie that people aren’t going to notice on a first try, but that should really stand out?

That’s a good question. Well sort of the MacGuffin in the origins of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are very much hinted at, kind of clear, in that tag. What else?

Tony Stark was one of the things being targeted.

HYDRA would not want Tony around, yeah, so he was certainly targeted. You do get a quick glimpse, I don’t know if you noticed, of the new Stark Tower, which is not a Stark Tower, it’s the new Avengers Tower. We show it in there.

Oh okay.

It goes by real fast during that targeting sequence. But it’s there. So that is something to see again.

And the last thing, can we confirm Paul Bettany is going to be Vision in Avengers or is that still, we’re still away from solidifying anything?

I don’t think we’ve officially said anything.

No, I know, that’s why I’m asking you.

KEVIN: But other people said that.

Okay. Well congratulations on this. Thank you for your time.

Thank you so much. Good seeing you.

Kevin Feige’s latest film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is now in theaters. His next one, Guardians of the Galaxy, will be out August 1.

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