CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER Is Actually Based On Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D.?
When the title of the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger was first revealed back at SDCC '12, fans were ecstatic and all eyes turned to comic book writer Ed Brubaker. He's the individual behind turning lithe and agile sidekick Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) into the badass, rogue assassin known as the Winter Solider. However, Brubaker pretty quickly revealed that the announcement was a complete surprise to him. That's somewhat strange, not to say that Brubaker has to work on the script or anything but it's weird that he had absolutely no inkling of what was coming. Besides the title, the next bit of pertinent info came from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who said the film is a "political thriller." But that little bit of info doesn't point anyone towards the 1988 six issue miniseries, Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D. written by Bob Harras (with art from Paul Neary). Indeed, for the last few months, I've been patiently gathering clues about the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I think I've cracked the code. The very first clue came when actor Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty, 300: Rise of an Empire) was pegged as playing Jack Rollins in the film. From here, one clue after another emerged to slowly reveal that the Harras' miniseries is definitely the source material being used for the film. Let's look at each clue and then look at what it all means in the context of the bigger Marvel Studios picture.
With Winter Soldier appearing in the title, many assumed the film would take inspiration from Ed Brubaker's modern run of Bucky Barnes stories but there's clear cut evidence that suggests CA:TWS is based on 1988 miniseries Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D.
When Callan Mulvey was first listed as playing Jack Rollins, a quick search revealed that his character actually comes from a classic comic book. Rollins debuted in Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D. and hasn't been used in anything else. Rollins has a small but key role in the story. Admittedly, that bit of info didn't immediately spark the ol' light bulb but it was definitely something to tuck away in case it became relevant.
The next clue emerged when it was revealed that Robert Redford would be portraying Alexander Pierce, another character that hails from Marvel Comics' rich history. If you search Alexander Pierce on the internet today, you'll come up with images of a youngish S.H.I.E.L.D. agent which is how Pierce has been depicted in a few modern comic books. But if you look at his first appearance you'll see he was initially depicted as an elderly man. And in what book did Pierce first debut in? You guessed it, Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D.
Now we're at the point where actual filming has begun, and Samuel L. Jackson has just left make-up and is heading back to his trailer. Notice that gigantic bump/bruise on his head? That would seem to indicate that ol' Nick is definitely getting in on more of the action this time around. At this point, you probably need a bit of info on what Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D. is all about. The miniseries is an intriguing story that reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by a foreign group (Deltites, more on them later) and that the infiltration has spread all the way up to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Control Board (or World Security Council, remember those guys from The Avengers?). Fury figures out that there's been an infiltration but he has now way to tell who's loyal and who's not, so he hatches a scheme to catch the culprits. However, the offensive backfires and Fury is branded a traitor of S.H.I.E.L.D. and goes on the run. His friends and loyal followers within S.H.I.E.L.D. are then given orders by the Control Board to hunt Fury down. They must decide whether to believe in Fury or believe in S.H.I.E.L.D.
A banged up Fury and two characters that first debuted in Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. - at this point, it wouldn't necessarily be foolish to think that the film borrows some philosophical elements from the comic book miniseries. For instance, maybe Fury is betrayed and has to go on the run but surely the film won't incorporate such an outlandish concept as the Deltites, right? But then this peculiar set video surfaced. Looks odd, right? Like maybe something that looks human but doesn't necessarily know how to be human. Well, that's exactly what the Deltites are, advanced Life Model Decoys created by none other than Arnim Zola. Guess which Hydra scientist was confirmed to be returning for Captain America: The Winter Soldier? [Note: Marvel Studios got famed Japanese band World Order to film this scene in DC. What's the band's signature trademark? Synchronized robotic dance moves.)
Remember, that confrontation between Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández)? Well, Jasper Sitwell is one of the first S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents to be revealed as a Deltite.
Fake bruises and bumps don't necessarily mean that Nick Fury is on the run, it just means he's been in a fight. However, today, we got a set report from The Daily Superhero which shows that a very large contingent of Washington D.C. law enforcement are on the hunt for Fury. He's definitely on the run.
ASSEMBLING THE CLUES - Possible Spoiler Warning
At the very beginning of Nick Fury vs S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury and his espionage cohorts are given a sound defeat in one of their operations. In the opening skirmish, Fury's right hand man Clay Quartermain dies in the crossfire. Fury initially suspects either A.I.M. or Hydra but as the story unfolds it is revealed that the threat is actually from within, from the very top of S.H.I.E.L.D. command. Not only have The Deltites infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. command, they've been there for years. They've also infiltrated the government and every major corporation in the world and no one was the wiser. How? What exactly are Deltites? They're derivatives of "The Deltite", an advanced, Life Model Decoy (LMD) created by Arnim Zola who became sentient. "The Deltite" infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and tinkered with their LMD's to create others "Deltites." The sci-fi element gets cranked up another notch as "The Deltite" has created a process that allows for the memories of humans (dead or alive) to be transformed into their LMD/Deltite dopplegangers. Over the years, this process has been refined an enhanced to create more and more life-like Deltites. In the miniseries, the deceased Clay Quartermain is used as the latest test subject in the most advanced Deltite-conversion process to date. It's a smashing success, in fact, it works too well and the Quartermain-Deltite thinks he's the real Quartermain. While Quartermain is a central figure in the miniseries, obviously, there's no Quartermain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (looking at you Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). But there is a Winter Soldier, don't be surprised if Bucky turns out to be a super advanced Deltite that thinks he's the real Bucky. At the end of the conflict, it's the Quartermain-Deltite that switches sides and helps S.H.I.E.L.D. eke out a victory; such a turn by the Winter Soldier would be a good segue into The Avengers 2.
While Fury is on the run, his small contingent of faithful operatives are left to decide whether they are "good soldiers" and follow orders without question or if they should believe in Nick Fury. In the miniseries that's "Gaffer", Contessa Valentina, Jimmy Woo, Dum-Dum Doogan and a few others. However, in Captain America: The Winter Solider I'm guessing it will be Cap, Black Widow and Falcon having to decide whether they hunt Fury down or join him in his rebellion.
Running Time: Filming in progress
Release Date: April 4, 2014
MPAA Rating: This Film Has Not Yet Been Rated
Starring: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Toby Jones,Jeremy Renner (rumored), Emily VanCamp
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Joe Simon (comic book), Jack Kirby (comic book), Ed Brubaker (concept and story)
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” picks up where “Marvel’s The Avengers” left off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, to battle a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C. Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Georges St-Pierre, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp and Maximiliano Hernández with Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is directed by the team of Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. Executive producers on the project include Alan Fine, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee. The creative production team on the film includes director of photography Trent Opaloch, production designer Peter Wenham, editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. and Mary Jo Markey, A.C.E. and three time Oscar®-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is set for release on April 4, 2014."
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