While he did not appear at the panel, Robert Redford loomed large over he second Captain America movie, which star Chris Evans made clear swims in the murky, paranoid waters of our current age of surveillance and militarism. In the extended trailer for the film, Redford's S.H.I.E.L.D. bigwig tells Evans' Captain America, "To build a better world, sometimes you have to tear the old one down."
The footage in general looked strong, placing Cap squarely in a story concerned with the nitty-gritty realities of today rather than the vast, fantastical storylines that have dominated Marvel films for a while now. (Even the Extremis plot of Iron Man 3 was rather over-the-top.) I especially enjoyed the contained fight sequence that opened the footage, in which a pack of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents crowd into an elevator and try to take Cap down. "Before we get started," Cap says, when he realizes what's about to go down, "does anyone want to get out?" Nice. (The brief shots of Anthony Mackie's Falcon — flying off a helicarrier as a futuristic fighter attacked him — also made a strong impression.)
For comic book fans, the most welcome revelation at the panel — which featured actors Evans, Scarlett Johannssen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Emily Van Camp, and Frank Grillo, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and producer (and Marvel Studios chief) Kevin Feige — was when Feige confirmed that the storyline would follow the arc penned by comic book writer Ed Brubaker for Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), a.k.a. the Winter Soldier of the title.
Barnes, you may recall, seemingly fell out of a train to his death in 2011's Captain America. Instead, he was transformed into, well, click here if you want to know more.