As well as the Captain America franchise, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are also credited with the likes of Pain & Gain and Thor: The Dark World as well. They're an extremely talented pair of writers and have guided Steve Rogers through WWII and into one of the most received comic book movies of all-time. They're currently working on a third movie in the franchise (set for release on May 6th, 2016), but ahead of the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on DVD and Blu-ray next month, I managed to catch up with the duo to talk all things Cap!
Which of the deleted scenes are you most excited for fans to see on the upcoming Blu-ray release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier?
Christopher Markus: I don't know what's on the Blu-ray to tell you the truth! I'm trying to remember what we shot that didn't make it...
Stephen McFeely: There's a small scene between Natasha and Nick Fury sort of about, 'Why didn't you tell that you'd faked your death?'
Christopher Markus: I don't know if it's on the DVD, but we shot a fair amount of Peggy, not present day old Peggy, but 1950s interview Peggy. [Hayley Atwell] did a pretty long run on that and all of it was great, but it started stepping on the scene that came after it so we cut it down.
Stephen McFeely: There's not that much on the cutting room floor. We did the commentary a couple of months ago and I don't remember them deleting that much.
Why did you choose not to include characters like the Red Skull or Alexander Lukin in the film?
Christopher Markus: One, we wanted Cap to sort of examine the state of present day America. If you're going to walk around calling yourself Captain America, you might as well take a good long look at the country you're advertising, and to then fob the guilt off on an immortal German and an evil Russian seemed sort of, like, 'Let's let him soak in it for a while.'
It also seemed to soon to bring back the Skull because then it's like we only have one arrow in our quiver, and it's like, 'Yes! It turned out to be the Skull.' In a kids cartoon, it's ALWAYS going to turn out to be Skeletor [Laughs] because they've only got the one guy.
Did you ever consider having Arnim Zola walking around or was it always the plan for him to be down in that Hydra base?
Stephen McFeely: You're talking to the right guys! [Laughs]
Christopher Markus: We always wanted to start him as a computer, and I would have loved to have dropped a little hint that maybe he had a little something in the back closet that he could walk away on, but you never know. It's pretty hard to kill a computer programme. I don't know how he ended up in that explosion...
Stephen McFeely: That's the most comic book scene in that movie, right? It's a conspiracy thriller until you get to the midpoint and then you have a big comic book vibe. So we did it the best we could and the Russos really nailed it, but it was always a weird tone for this movie because it dealt with the grittier, more adult tone of the Marvel Universe. We always wanted to make sure this remained a comic book movie and Chris was always quick to point out that we couldn't forget where this came from. I think perhaps had he walked away, it would be a bridge too far!
Are there any villains you're hoping to introduce in the future who are some of your favourites?
Christopher Markus: That's a little tricky because some of them are theoretically very good. Some of them have great concepts but are really tough to pull off visually. Like Flagsmasher who wants to destroy nations, and that's a terrorist and seems like a guy you could work with, but he literally has a cape and flies on flying skies, and then you're like, 'Ok, do we take away everything?' and then he's just a guy and we're only portraying the character. They're tricky to bring across. I always wanted to do M.O.D.O.K., but it seems like we're leaving our grounded political arena way behind when you've got a giant floating head on a rocket chair.
Stephen McFeely: Exactly!
Stephen McFeely: I'll do it one day, I'm telling you people!
Are you still considering the psychotic 1950s Captain America?
Stephen McFeely: [Laughs] Chris, would you like to put that to bed?
Christopher Markus: Yes! That was a smart remark, off the cuff. What I love about that whole run, the whole existence of that, is the sort of single minded desire to retcon everything into continuity, you know? 'But there was five issues in 1950 where he was a jerk!' I know he was a crazed college professor who had plastic surgery, but I think we can honestly say that he will not be making an appearance.
Stephen McFeely: You know, there's probably 20 minutes of movie there. There's something interesting about a guy who so desperately want to be [Captain America] and be a tribute...I just don't think it's a whole movie.
At the end of the movie, has the Winter Soldier regained his memories or is he simply learning about who he used to be?
Stephen McFeely: Ohh, good question, but that's probably not answerable at the moment...
Christopher Markus: The guy's been murdering people for 70 years, I don't think you cure him. I would be disappointed if he got good guy'd too quickly.
Can you tell us anything at all about Captain America 3, and how do you feel about the rivalry with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice on the same weekend in 2016?
Stephen McFeely: [Laughs]
Christopher Markus: We're not backing down!
Stephen McFeely: All those question, we surrender to Kevin [Feige!]
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us!