During a recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier event at Amoeba Records last Tuesday, we got the chance to sit down with Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of the film and its follow-up, the impossibly anticipated Captain America 3.
Much news has been made lately about the film’s subtitle and how it’s going to blow people’s minds, so I began the interview by acknowledging that many people have probably already asked them about it. I promised them that my interview would be different. That I cared more about them than the title of the third Cap adventure.
Then I coughed out the words “Civil War.”
They stared at me and nobody in the room made any noise. The jig was up. They could tell I was trying to pull one over on them.
For the uninitiated, Civil War is perhaps one of the most famous Marvel events in history. In short, it deals with the emergence of a Superhuman Registration Act, a piece of legislation that divides the Avengers team. The likes of Tony Stark and Peter Parker believe the legislation can do some good, whereas our good ol’ Cap believes that the feds shouldn’t hold the keys to the Avengers’ secret identities. It’s a tragic story that many assumed Marvel was saving for Avengers 3, but with Thanos lurking on the horizon it’s seeming more and more unlikely.
Besides, it’s a story best left to the newly-proven post-modern Marvel masters: the Russo Brothers. However, they recently mentioned that Captain America: Civil War is unlikely since many of the key players in the story are missing from the Marvel Studios stable.
In any case, their silence said enough for me. I commended them on their training, and admired what kind of Winter Soldier-esque tortures awaited them should they actually drop anything huge on accident. They laughed and threw another potential title into the mix.
“Had you said Fallen Son…” hinted Joe Russo.
We don’t want to spoil Civil War for anyone, so if you’re planning on reading it, please browse away from this page now, but Fallen Son takes place immediately after Civil War and explores how the other characters of the Marvel universe would react to Steve Roger’s death.
It’s an emotional ride, and one that we may never see on screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unless the Russo brothers actually want to do it.
“It’s Fallen Son and we kill him on page 20. It’s crazy, but we’re doing that,” said Joe.
“Actually he’s dead before the movie starts,” added Anthony.
It’s at this point I realize that they’re messing with me. We all laugh, but on the inside I’m crossing “Fallen Son” and “Civil War” off of my list of potential Cap 3 plots.
Although they couldn’t slip me the title, they were able to give me an overarching idea of what the film would be about.
“We’ve used this formula throughout our careers, taking very incongruous elements and smashing them into each other,” said Joe Russo.
Okay, but that really makes me feel like it’s Civil War. Then again, much of what made The Winter Soldier so damned interesting was the sharp contrast between Cap and S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Cap and Black Widow’s differing morality structures.
Although plenty will be changing between now and Captain America 3 (we have exactly one Age of Ultron between now and then), the Russos admit that there’s much about the third Cap film that will be the same, and even more that will be different.
“We’re not gonna get away from some of that tone, we like a very grounded approach to the character,” said Joe. “We like long lenses. We like handheld camera work. That stuff’s not going away. But what can we bring that’s fresh to the table from an execution standpoint, from a relationship standpoint, and from a storytelling standpoint? You don’t want them to say, ‘I saw this movie two years ago and it was called The Winter Soldier,'” explained Joe.
Although The Winter Soldier was their dream Marvel experience (both of them claim Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier run as their favorite Cap comic), they want to explore what’s different with Captain America 3, as well as what they can do to surprise their viewers.
“Moving into Cap 3, we have the advantage of having this brand that continues to build loyalty and win fans,” said Anthony. “It gives you license to take them places. It’s a very valuable thing as far as where we can take the stories.”