(How to Do It’s primary objective is to create serious discussion on how to adapt various properties to the silver screen. It is not about my dream cast for a Great Lakes Avengers television show.)
Now firmly established along the Marvel motion picture road to The Avengers, I think it’s about time we started making our desires known for the inevitable Captain America sequel. At the forefront of my thinking, as anyone who read my review knows, I would like to see the director replaced and The Red Skull put on hold indefinitely, and by that I mean precisely long enough to make recasting him less weird.
My attempt here isn’t to provide a logical outline for a script but to loosely connect different pieces of the Captain America mythology as I’d like to see them lifted by some professional screenwriters. There’s also my director and casting choices, and I’m sure you’ll have your own for the comment box.
If you’re a fan of Winter Soldier you might as well skip this whole thing. I’m not having any of that.
Captain America 2: Five Heads of Hydra
The most compelling aspect of Captain America is Steve Rogers the anachronism. If Captain America is his life, personal identity is his love. The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger should be primarily occupied with struggling to adapt to the modern. The Dodgers have moved to Los Angeles, Ebbets Field has been torn down. The comics written just a few years ago had him living in Red Hook because it’s the most underdeveloped area of the city, but even in that short amount of time they managed to build an Ikea along the waterfront. Life is pretty heartbreaking for the man out of time, but it would get easier. His positive influence will encourage his neighbors, he’ll be set up on dates that he doesn’t realize are dates. The private life of Steve Rogers is the most essential thing to get right as it’s spread across two or even three Captain America sequels.
Rockmond Dunbar as Sam Wilson
Still, there should be some sort of fight. Make it a street level misunderstanding between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson. I don’t have any ideas on how to make a flying man interesting, so no plans to turn Sam into The Falcon. Instead, think Million Dollar Baby. Sam runs a worn out youth center and Steve puts money up for its renovation. Captain America was never declared dead or discharged so he’s been awarded seventy years retroactive salary to be able to do this. In future Cap movies, accepting this money will be considered admittance that Captain America is a property owned by the U.S. government. They’ll ask him to quit being Cap or follow military orders, S.H.I.E.L.D. in this case because it’s probably an American institution in the movies, rather than vaguely autonomous. Captain America will promptly tell them to fuck off. In the comics he turned in his shield and that still pisses me off.
Robin Wright as Sharon Carter?
This one’s a red herring. Steve learns that Peggy Carter moved to New York after the war. Cap was only frozen for twenty years in the comics so a lot of things that worked about it need to be rethought into a three or even four generation structure. Knowing only that he’s searching for Peggy’s descendant, he assumes this woman to be her, as does the audience due to the resemblance, but she’s actually the foster mother of a much younger Sharon Carter. All Carter women were single mothers, all soldiers. The real Sharon Carter’s mother was a casualty.
Chloe Moretz as Sharon Carter
I’m throwing out the Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter romance. As much as Marvel tries to play her as his one true love, Sharon was the least interesting of his girlfriends. Everything good about the character is Shield related. I don’t think we even saw a sensitive side. However, no superhero film has dealt with the dangers of impressionable young sidekicks put in danger despite it being one of the most iconic aspects of the form. Bucky might’ve even been older than Cap was in the first movie. Sharon’s not an actual sidekick, but takes self defense classes at the youth center and Steve sees nothing wrong with it. In future sequels she’ll become a S.H.I.E.L.D. cadet, and crush on Steve, who continues to think of her as a kid.
Christopher Lloyd as Wolfgang von Strucker
Nick Fury doesn’t want Steve getting involved, but Hydra continues to exist. S.H.I.E.L.D. has in custody the man they believe to be the head of Hydra, Wolfgang von Strucker. The villain will only reveal the locations of the other four heads of Hydra if he can speak to Captain America directly. Sort of Hannibal Lecter quid pro quoish progression through the ranks of Hydra. The real motivation is to wear down Captain America with pawns until the film’s main villain can get a sample of his blood. Naturally, without ever having left confinement, his orchestration will provide the means for his escape, just in case someone wants to make a S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff.
Hiroshi Abe as The Gorgon
He’s a tall, stoic Samurai who turns people to stone by looking them in the eyes (in the movie, just paralyzed). That’s eyes, plural. With Cap still on the sidelines Fury’s eyepatch lets him see some action for a change, but ends up on the ropes anyway. The Gorgon fails when a young S.H.I.E.L.D agent flanks him without permission. Fury’s angry that she got involved, seeing as her only purpose on the mission was to provide recon from his hovercar.
Elizabeth Gillies as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
Fury has Contessa shadow Captain America at the youth center after realizing he can’t keep her out of combat. Later, when Steve is attacked she, again, tries to prove herself. Now aware that Fury is both keeping him under surveillance and training girls too young to be in combat, Steve wants even less to do with S.H.I.E.L.D. More importantly, she’s already developing a friendship with Sharon, foreshadowing her joining the organization. If there is a S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff, Contessa becomes Fury’s right hand or plays both sides between he and Hydra.
Bruce Spence as Giest, Cyril Raffaelli as Kraken
After hours at the youth center, Steve has just finished training Sharon. He’s willing to walk her home but won’t let her on his bike (When did he learn to drive, anyway?). This further forms him as a cautious father figure, the first she’s ever had, and her as prone to excitement. The youth center is hit by Giest, the Nazi scientist who has been kept alive since the war by cybernetics, and Kraken, in more dangerous looking armor. Kraken overcomes Steve as Sharon is frozen with fear behind cover. Giest draws blood into a syringe (part of his arm) before Kraken is jumped by Sam Wilson, allowing Rogers to recover. As S.H.I.E.L.D. is on scene for the cleanup, Steve is taken to the helicarrier for one last sitdown with Strucker, naively leaving Sharon to Contessa and Giest’s arm in the possession of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jenna Malone as Viper
Strucker reveals that he was never the head of the Hydra, that only one person has ever been in charge since WWII. He laughs at the idea of this being Giest. Convinced The Red Skull somehow survived, Steve joins the final assault against Hydra’s main fortification as Captain America. The mastermind is revealed to be a girl in her twenties. Viper uses a bullwhip to keep Captain America at a distance, inflicts hallucinogenic on him, fights with the reflexes of a snake. Before he manages to overcome her she reveals that she’d been kept alive since the 40’s by Giest. How old was she at the time? Old enough to kill every one of the Howling Commandos. The fight, therefore, is intercut with a psychedelic horror trip depicting their demise in WWII. Once she’s overcome, Steve leaves her with Fury, who proceeds to shoot her multiple times without Cap’s knowledge.
Back at the youth center, half cleaned up, Steve begins his self defense class, his eyes are straying to the open door. Sharon isn’t coming.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Ok, so I’m taking a risk by choosing someone who never did action outside of Beowulf, but as much as I wrote out a bunch of fight sequences, the actual pacing of Captain America 2, as it plays in my head, focuses mostly on the Steve/Sharon dynamic as he plays surrogate father and she surrogate mother right back, knowing things like how you pay for a train pass. Above all this is Steve’s frustration at the fast paced world. Zemeckis is no stranger to journeys through a foreign time period, having directed all three Back to the Future‘s. He told the sentimental tale of a grand, simplistic heart with Forrest Gump, and more of a jaded fish out of water with Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The director has also flirted with horror in Death Becomes Her, What Lies Beneath, and three episodes of Tales from the Crypt, which should aid him in the Hydra horrors. His camerawork rarely stops completely, which would give the effect of the world moving around the often stationary Steve Rogers, and he’s somewhat affordable after Cast Away, having followed it with three poorly received computer animation films.
Cyril Rafaelli’s casting in the roll of Kraken is mostly a bonus to bringing him on as fight choreographer. He put together the sequences for many of the films produced by Luc Besson, including The Transporter and District B13, the latter he also starred in. Cyril also coordinated Tim Roth’s action in The Incredible Hulk (directed by protégé of Luc Besson, Louis Letterier). It might not hurt to let him take a second unit director role. He’s never done it before but neither has Andy Serkis, who will be assuming that responsibility in the upcoming The Hobbit films while reprising the role of Gollum.
Zemeckis has previously worked with Christopher Lloyd, Robin Wright, and Jena Malone. His treasure hunt movie Romancing the Stone could serve him if he loosely adapts the six part Cap series The Bloodstone Hunt for Captain America 3
So that’s what I’ve been kicking around in my head for almost a week now. What’s your vision of an ongoing Captain America motion picture series? Have better ideas for casting? Let’s hear em.