When it comes to movies out of Marvel Studios, the future is always being kept in mind. Whether the filmmakers are simply developing storylines that can match with Joss Whedon's The Avengers - set to come out summer 2012 - or targeting direct sequels, there's always an eye being kept on the next step. This idea certainly applies to Captain America, whose first solo film is set to be released this Friday. A few months ago it was reported that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writers of The First Avenger, had been rehired by Marvel to write the script for Captain America 2, and today I had the pleasure to speak with the pair on the phone about their plans.
The big question that has been hanging for the last few months has been whether the sequel will feature Cap back in World War II fighting the forces of HYDRA or if the events would be set while the hero is still trying to adjust to the modern world. While nothing is official yet, it seems that they are leaning towards the latter, but with a twist. "Everything’s on the table at the moment," McFeely said. "It’s very likely that it’s modern day and what we’re talking about is trying to figure out a way to weave in a logical, necessary flashback." The idea is that something Cap experienced during World War II will come back to haunt him in the 21st century.
This idea also helps solve a problem that comic book writers have been dealing with for decades when it comes to superhero team-ups: when multiple heroes are available, why would Captain America face an issue by himself. The way to combat this, Markus and McFeely believe, is to make the plot personal. "In some ways I logically understand that question, but when I’m reading a comic book I never ask that question, " Markus said. "I never ask, why doesn’t he just ask Thor? It’s also a matter of making the action personal. It shouldn’t just be an adventure that had Iron Man been there he would have done, but because it’s a Cap movie, Cap’s doing it. It’s gotta be personal for Steve Rogers, personal to his sort of development."
But while Captain America 2 will be the second solo adventure for the super solider, The Avengers is a sequel in its own right, and while working on the project they have been consulting Joss Whedon's script for next year's blockbuster. "When you’re starting, and we’re already in the process, but as we’re outlining and kind of coming up with ideas, it was really hard until we read The Avengers," Markus said. "We’d say 'Oh, that’d be a great scene, unless Joss Whedon already did it and I don’t know yet'. So once we read The Avengers, we went, 'Okay, here’s where we can take Cap that he hasn’t explored yet.'"
The sequel will also prove to be, in a special way, a homecoming for Steve Rogers. At the start of the first film he is a scrawny, sickly orphan who is left alone when his best friend, Bucky, goes off to fight in World War II. This obviously changes when he is given the super soldier serum, but when placed in an unfamiliar decade he is by himself again. "In the sequel he’s sort of back where he was when he was a scrawny kid, which is a man with no home," McFeely said. "The one home he found was 70 years ago. That is always a fun thing to have in the back of your head, and also the fact that there’s so many great villains and storylines that you can’t cram into one, so you keep a side pile of like, 'Oh, that guy’s going in the sequel.'"
Stay tuned for my full interview with the Captain America writers later this week!