From the must-have characters and plot points in their “Captain America” script to the elements of Cap’s long history that didn’t make the cut, we covered a lot of area in this portion of our interview.
Oh, and M.O.D.O.K. fans, you might want to read this one all the way through. There’s something in there for you, too!
MTV NEWS: When it came time to make your pitch and get down to business on “Captain America,” what were the comics you read for research? Was there a certain story arc that informed your take on Steve Rogers more than others?
STEPHEN McFEELY: We read through just about everything. To get the job, we had to go to sort of a “Cap School.” Ed Brubaker’s work is pretty relevant, and there’s also a lesser-known series called “Sentinel of Liberty” that sort of informs the first act.
CHRISTOPHER MARKUS: In a way, it’s not our favorite comic book, but it deals with the territory we were covering a lot. We were sort of freed from some things because we were doing the origin story — there are only so many things you can invent or freestyle on. It’s pretty set. It’s been told a few million times, but it’s generally told the same way.
McFEELY: Generally, the first act is what most people think the first act is going to be, and the third act, most people kind of know how we’re going to get him to “The Avengers,” so it’s the second act where you do a million drafts. You have to ask what story is being told, and how you’re going to tell that World War II story while also leaving it baggy enough to go back — in case you want to imply that he had more than the one adventure in the first movie.
MTV: Were you comic book readers before you got involved with “Captain America”?
MARKUS: I was when I was younger and sort of fell away, and now I’m absolutely amazed that I can read comics and tell people, “I’m working!”
McFEELY: [Laughs] It’s like, “Don’t bother me! I’m learning about Batroc the Leaper!”
MTV: You just mentioned Batroc, and we’ve seen Arnim Zola in the “Captain America” trailer. You’re taking some nice dives into Cap’s supporting cast, it seems like…
McFEELY: Absolutely. There are some other ones that will go unnamed that didn’t make the final shooting script, too.
MARKUS: It’s painful because Cap had all of these great villains in World War II. Obviously, the guy no one’s talking about because we’re not using him in the film is Zemo. He’s huge in the WWII story, but you eventually get to a point where there are too many elephants in the room.
McFEELY: You don’t want too many villains. I think other movies have fallen short when there are too many villains. Particularly for the first one, you don’t want to mess up the recipe — and the recipe is: the better your one main villain is, the better your hero is.
MTV: Plus, you probably want to save some of them for future films, right?
McFEELY: True, true…
MARKUS: That’s the one thing about this Marvel universe: it’s so deep and been woven and rewoven so many times. The Howling Commandos, they’re in the movie, and then you have this knowledge about who the characters become. Whether or not anything comes of it, you can say, “That’s Union Jack right there,” or, “That’s Dum-Dum Dugan.”
MTV: You brought up the Howling Commandos, and given Nicky Fury’s connection with that team, a lot of people are wondering whether the Marvel movie version of Nick Fury can actually have a connection to the Howling Commandos now, given the timelines…
McFEELY: Yeah, we’re going to have to kick that to Kevin Feige. [Laughs]
MTV: Okay, here’s one I think you can answer: Will M.O.D.O.K. fans be pleasantly surprised by any cameos in the film? After all, he’s intimately connected with HYDRA…
McFEELY: [Laughs] Let’s hold him for the future…
MARKUS: [Laughs] I am so pro-M.O.D.O.K., you wouldn’t believe. I want a M.O.D.O.K. television show. He would just be hosting it. It would be like, “Heeeeere’s M.O.D.O.K.!”
Keep it locked to Splash Page this week for more from my interview with “Captain America” screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely!