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As the second to last Marvel Studios Phase II film to be released before Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron next year, Joe and Anthony Russo' Captain America: The Winter Soldier sits in an interesting position where the characters will have to both react to the events seen at the end of the last Avengers film and do the hard work required to set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the big events in the superhero team-up sequel. Exactly how the latter will be accomplished remains a closely guarded secret in Marvel headquarters, but today Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger confirmed that there will be a degree of dovetailing between the Captain America sequel and the next Avengers movie.
According to The Wrap, the Disney executive spoke with investors and analysts earlier today and confirmed that the events in the upcoming April release will "set critical events in motion" that will lead to the central plot of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. While he wouldn't go into any specifics, he also added that the movie will also affect future episodes of the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which also had a tie-in episode with Thor: The Dark World last November.
This news actually reflects statements made by the Russos when I talked with them at San Diego Comic-Con last year. When I asked about The Winter Soldier's place on the Marvel Cinematic Universe's timeline, they revealed that the new movie takes place nearly a full year after the Battle of New York and let slip that their Marvel Studios film is "narratively it’s much closer to Avengers 2" and that it will create a "really big shift in the universe."
But what exactly will that shift be? Will it have to deal with Captain America's relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D.? Will it have to do with Tony Stark destroying all of his Iron Man suits? Will it have to do with Thor now staying on Earth instead of going to Asgard? There are far more questions than answers right now, but at this stage in the game that's quite all right because it means that fans can speculate as much as they want.
What do you think is going to happen in the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier that leads to the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron? How do you think James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy will factor in? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and enjoy this kick-ass teaser for Whedon's upcoming super blockbuster.