Warning: major spoilers for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” are ahead.
Virtually all S.H.I.E.L.D. employees who aren’t dead or under arrest are looking for new jobs this weekend. But not Steve Rogers. The super-soldier remains super-employed as one of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Following Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Chris Evans will be right back as Cap in one year, taking center stage in next summer’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The superhero sequel sees Rogers reuniting with billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark, occasional giant green rage monster Bruce Banner, thunder-juiced Asgardian warrior Thor, and eagle-eyed sharpshooter Clint Barton.
On top of that, “Age of Ultron” will bring the key “Winter Soldier” duo of Rogers and Natasha Romanoff back together. At the end of the “Captain America” sequel, the two parted ways, with Black Widow deciding to work on a new cover, now that all her previous aliases and classified information has been revealed alongside the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Cap, meanwhile, sets off with his new pal Sam “Falcon” Wilson to track down the missing Winter Soldier, now active with his old Bucky Barnes memories.
What new side of Black Widow will we see once she resurfaces in “Avengers” from her post-”Winter Soldier” mission? And will Cap be any closer to finding Bucky when the Avengers assemble against Ultron? And will he bring Falcon along for the fun? We certainly hope so — if “Winter Soldier” proved anything, it’s that all Marvel movies could use some Anthony Mackie.
There’s also the question of Nick Fury. The former S.H.I.E.L.D. director isn’t just out of a job, he’s also presumed dead to the world at large. How will he resurface for the “Avengers” sequel? We already know that Samuel L. Jackson has a role to play in “Age of Ultron,” though he says it’s only a minor part compared to his previous “Avengers” appearance. Is Fury running the Avengers from behind-the-scenes? Or will he pop up in the right place at the right time with the right suggestion for stopping Ultron?
And let’s not forget about “The Twins.” Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, made their Marvel debut in the “Winter Soldier” post-credits scene, ahead of their extended roles in “Age of Ultron.” It appears that the super-siblings are just in the process of discovering their powers, based on their imprisoned positions in the scene. What’s the secret to their power? And how did they come under the influence of HYDRA’s Baron von Strucker?
Finally, there’s the not-so-subtle Stephen Strange name-drop to consider. In the movie, Jasper Sitwell specifically mentions the Master of the Mystic Arts as one of the potential threats-in-the-making that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new Helicarrier program could target. Was that just fan-service? Was it teasing up a “Doctor Strange” movie for some point down the line? Or will the good doctor make an appearance as soon as next summer’s “Avengers” sequel?
Sadly, the answers to all of these questions will likely have to wait until “Age of Ultron” bows on May 1, 2015. On the plus side, you can always go back to theaters and watch “Captain America” over and over and over again.