At the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, audiences learn that the way Hydra has managed to control the actions of The Winter Soldier for years is through the repetition of key trigger words and phrases read in Russian from a little red book. While seemingly random, the presence of the word "Homecoming" – the subtitle of the upcoming Spider-Man solo movie – has led some fans to speculate that the words have some kind of larger significance within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, that speculation can end now, because screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have confirmed to us that the shared word is just a coincidence.
With Captain America: Civil War heading into its second weekend at the box office, I had the pleasure of chatting with Markus and McFeely over the phone this weekend, and when I asked about the "trigger words" and the possible significance of "Homecoming," they denied any kind of connection. Said McFeely,
They’re rhythmic and enigmatic. I can’t remember if we listened to them in Russian to hear if they sounded suitably intimidating, we must have. Because they were really melodic; I’m not sure we would have gone with them [if they weren’t]. But we wanted ones when you read them on the screen you’d have some reaction to it. Like ‘Duress,’ and ‘Freight Car.’ It’s really just us coming up with stuff. There’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to it.
If we’re being 100% real, it would be very strange if there was some kind of honest connection between Hydra brainwashing words and the title of Spider-Man: Homecoming - but the speculation is earnest simply because of the "Easter egg" atmosphere that Marvel Studios has created in their movies over the last eight years. There are many instances – including scenes in Captain America: Civil War - that partially function because filmmakers started laying seeds in the continuity years earlier. Fully acknowledging this, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely appreciate that fans are constantly trying to unravel different puzzles… even when the puzzles don’t actually exist:
Stephen McFeely: When you’re making so many movies, everybody is looking for connections, it’s absolutely natural to think, ‘Oh my god, they’ve got their fingers on everything, and everything means something!’ And often it means something, but not always.
So, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans – you can feel free to let this little bit of speculation end. Perhaps you can go to another screening of Captain America: Civil War this weekend and find something entirely new to pick up on and investigate!