At this point, there’s every reason to expect that an actor with a major Marvel movie role will have signed a six-film deal. So this week’s revelation from Sebastian Stan of a nine-picture deal isn’t a huge surprise, despite the fact that it tops even Samuel L. Jackson’s epic deal. (As far as we know. Other cast members might have similar contracts.) But it does tell us a bit about what to expect from his character. Stan played Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger, and has a significant role in sequel The Winter Soldier.
Since The Winter Soldier doesn’t open for a couple more weeks we won’t reveal any specifics of Stan’s potential future role with Marvel, but after the break we’ll indulge in a bit of speculation.
There’s a lot in The Winter Soldier that suggests where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to go in the next few movies. None of that will be discussed here. Not for nothing has Kevin Feige been saying that this movie plots out the future of the MCU, but we’ll leave that talk for after it opens.
But Stan told Newsarama “I think I actually have nine” when asked how many films he could be in with Marvel according to the current plan. We do know that Chris Evans only has a six-picture deal, and factoring in the second Avengers movie he’s more than half way done with that. He doesn’t seem like a guy who will want to play Captain America forever, and that six-picture deal reflects that.
Luckily, the original Winter Soldier comic storyline written by Ed Brubaker, and stories that follow, features one obvious solution. Bucky eventually takes on the mantle of Captain America himself. So that’s an obvious solution to the notion that Chris Evans might want to move on. Whether or not Stan can mold himself into the same sort of charismatic leading man Evans has become is another question. He’s got the potential, and The Winter Soldier sees Marvel exploring only one aspect of his capabilities.
Of course, having the deal doesn’t mean Marvel will exercise all the options. We’ve also heard that the direction of Cap 3 will depend in part on how people respond to this movie. A lot of that probably has to do with audience response to Sebastian Stan. If fans really like him in this movie, there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing much more of him in future Marvel phases.