In anticipation of the blu ray release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers have been making the rounds talking about Marvel’s plans for the follow-up. Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed The Winter Soldier together, have spoken to everyone from Empire, to MTV, and Collider. While I covered their comments in Empire a few days ago, let’s now dive into a bit of what they’ve had to say elsewhere.
The brothers offered up some insight into the creative process over at Marvel Studios, and it doesn’t seem as though the studio is as dictatorial or ham-fisted as some have been led to believe.
JOE: “Theyâ€™re pretty wide open, they really are. Usually when Kevin has an idea in his head, itâ€™s a big idea that affects the whole universe.”
ANTHONY: “For instance the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. That would be an example of a big idea coming from Kevin that a movie then has to wrap itself around.”
JOE RUSSO: “We can pitch out characters that we think would be interesting in the story. Thereâ€™s incredible room to move, itâ€™s almost too much sometimesâ€”sometimes you prefer to have some limitations so itâ€™s easier to make some choices. But heâ€™s definitely had a road map in his head for 10 years, and a lot of what youâ€™re seeing executed is all part of the road map.”
They expand on this topic further when the subject of Chris Evans’s contract expiring soon comes up.
ANTHONY: “You know, to be honest with you, itâ€™s just â€“ even though thereâ€™s sort of a grand plan of things, Kevin Feige also has this awesome attitude of one movie at a time, which I think is very healthy, not to get too far ahead of yourself. And I think even though we can see in the distant horizon some contracts coming to an end and whatnot, and sort of wondering about what happens, I think the truth is, weâ€™re not close enough to it to really be addressing it on a narrative level yet.”
JOE: “When Bucky takes over the mantle at the end of Cap 3 â€“ [turns to Anthony] did I just â€¦[Laughs] Did I just say that? I meant to say Falcon. Falcon takes over the mantle at the end of Cap 3. Itâ€™s a process that, you know, you have to tell the best story that you can now and the contract issueâ€™s not necessarily something that weâ€™re worried all that much about.”
ANTHONY: “All we know is we get Chris Evans for this movie.”
But they offer a much more insightful answer when MTV posed a similar question, regarding what happens when Evans moves on. The brothers think that the best way to handle that is to follow the model of the medium on which these films are based: Comic books.
ANTHONY: “The great thing about the Marvel universe, just like the publishing, itâ€™s a very vast, inter-connected universe, where characters will have their rise and fall, so to speak, and hand off to other characters. As the cinematic universe moves forward, you may start to see the cinematic universe adopt that same pattern, as the publishing has, where thereâ€™s closure with some characters and new beginnings with other characters. How those hand-offs are made is always part of the fun.”
Joe Russo also dumps some ice water on Jeremy Renner’s recent comments regarding Hawkeye showing up in Cap 3.
JOE: “I was gonna say Renner might be misremembering because he was supposed to be in Cap 2 but we couldnâ€™t make his schedule work [laughs]. Maybe thatâ€™s what heâ€™s talking about.”
And what about Crossbones? Fans were offered a tease of Frank Grillo’s Brock Rumlow possibly on his way towards transforming into the Captain America villain in The Winter Soldier. Anything going to come of that?
JOE: “Thatâ€™s a tough one. I mean, listen, we didnâ€™t â€“ heâ€™s not alive at the end of Winter Solider for no reason, so letâ€™s just say that. But, you know, strict Marvel policy of nondisclosure.”
I’m going to end with this quote from Joe Russo, who I think nails what the difference is between loud, mindless action, and the kinds of pulse-pounding sequences that really add to the cinematic experience. When questioned about how they might follow up the big finale on the helicarriers from The Winter Soldier, here’s what he had to say:
JOE: “Itâ€™s interesting because weâ€™re movie fans. We watch a lot of movies and Iâ€™ve seen a lot of great films over the years and thatâ€™s one of the questions I always have in my mind as a film fan, ‘oh shit! How are they going to top that?’ Often times I think the pitfall is that you just do more, that it becomes a volume issue. You did it really well because it was part of the storytelling, but next time out itâ€™s a barrage and Iâ€™m not tracking anything and thatâ€™s not why it worked in the first place. Weâ€™re being very particular about how we advance it of course, technically and from a scale standpoint. Most importantly from a story standpoint, how does it stay germane to the story? Action is really important, we fetishize it and we grew up on it and we love action sequences, but the sequences that we love, that you and I talk about the most, are the ones that have the strongest story impact. So now itâ€™s really just strapping on the thinking caps and thinking of new sequences that are really, really integral to moving the plot forward.”