Marvel Studios has brought in a lot of different writers to work on the screenplays for their feature films, but Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have proven to be two of their most reliable guys. They earned critically acclaim for their first work with the company, Captain America: The First Avenger back in 2011, and have translated that success into two more gigs, scripting both Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They have a unique insight into the way things work behind the scenes of Marvel, and as a result I was excited to pick their brains when I recently had the chance to interview them about their latest feature.

How do big picture ideas at Marvel have an effect on the creative process? How did Chris Evans’ celebrity influence the latest portrayal of Captain America? How and when did Black Widow find her way the movie? These were just some of the subjects that I talked with Markus and McFeely, so read on to find out the answers!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Helicarriers
Working Backwards From Crashing Helicarriers
Marvel Studios prides itself on focusing on each of their films as individual stories within a larger universe, but there is always a bigger picture involved. Each solo film is meant to in some way bridge the gap between Avengers film, be it Tony Stark destroying all of his armor in Iron Man 3 or Thor returning to Earth to be with Jane Foster in Thor: The Dark World. Because of this, part of a Marvel screenwriter’s job is to write to certain plot points – and that meant partially working backwards.

In the case of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Markus and McFeely didn’t have to write towards a specific plot, but instead a very vivid concept. During the early stages they were given an idea from the higher ups at the studio to include an explosive third act element, and once that entered the mix they began working the plot in that direction.

"Sometimes it’s just images," Markus told me during the interview. "[Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige] wanted helicarriers crashing. So, we were like ‘Okay, if helicarriers are going to crash in the third act, what kind of story would you tell to get there?’ and that kind of generated the whole inside program in the story."

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