'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Has The 'Strongest Bond' To 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'

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by Brett White

So the word's out: the film formerly known as "Avengers 2" is now "Avengers: Age of Ultron." And with that info now public, a few of the major players behind "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" have decided to open up just a teeny bit about how the upcoming Cap sequel bridges the gap between "Marvel's the Avengers" and "Age of Ultron."

"I think, and [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige] has said this, it's as big of a bridge of any of the Phase 2 movies from 'Avengers' to 'Avengers 2,'" "Winter Soldier" director Joe Russo told Slash Film. "There's a significant shift in the universe at the end of this movie. Like all of the Marvel movies it has elements of all of the other films, this one I think has probably the strongest bond between those goals."

Joe Russo then clarified that the film will still feel like a Captain America movie, despite it's ties to the larger universe.

"The things that happen in the movie are really germane to the movie and germane to Cap," he said. "The big shift in the universe happens because of him. It's not something where we had to feel like we had to patchwork in all of these other narrative elements, it's really [Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely wrote an amazing script that really streamlined this concept that Kevin wanted to get out there."

"And it's very personal to Cap, too," added fellow director Anthony Russo. "I think that's the other thing, even though it's a big event that connects it to the rest of the universe, it's very much Cap's relationship to that and we enter the whole thing through him. So it's all riding on his shoulders and in terms of his experience at this moment with this movie."

And that's not all of the "Winter Soldier" news hitting the web today. Zap2It (and Splash Page Hall of Famer Terri Schwartz) has posted an interview with Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo and Emily VanCamp where each actor talks about just how their characters fit into the film.

VanCamp hinted at the start of a relationship between her character, Sharon Carter, and Steve Rogers. "This is really just an introduction of this character," said VanCamp. "I'm in the movie just a small amount and you're just sort of getting to know who she is. It's sort of the beginning of who she becomes. We meet her and she's living next to Captain America and they sort of have a little moment together." Even if Sharon Carter just has a small part in the film, she was still an important enough character to earn a place at the film's panel this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con International. And considering how close Sharon and Steve get in the comics, it stands to reasons he'll make an impact.

Another character guaranteed to make an impact is the villainous Crossbones, who actor Frank Grillo says will come into his own during the film. "They're introducing a character who - I'm not saying anything out of place here - but starts out as Rumlow and becomes the Crossbones," said Grillo.

Anthony Mackie spoke to the importance of representation in superhero films, citing playing the Falcon - Marvel's first African American superhero - as something he's very proud of.

"It wasn't so much a burden as it was a blessing," said Mackie about landing the part. "I feel like there's a huge segment of our population that's being neglected as far as having people to look up to and having role models to look up to, and I'm really looking forward to next Halloween seeing bunch of little kids running around with wings on... That's why I feel like I hope they make Wonder Woman one day. I hope they bring back these cartoons that little girls and other little kids can look up to and see themselves in that person. It's very important. So being able to play Falcon was a huge coup de gras for me."

I love the way this guy thinks.

Lastly, the larger Zap2It piece touches on whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Sharon Carter or Falcon could turn up on a certain TV series. While VanCamp is committed to another ABC series, "Revenge," Mackie says he'd be down for an appearance.

"The thing about the TV show as opposed to the movies, they have a lot of freedom and leeway to go further into the world of Marvel than we have because we have two hours and they have basically 22 hours," said Mackie. "I think it would be an honor to not only have the ability to add to the TV show but to work with Joss Whedon. I feel like once you're in the Marvel family and under that umbrella, you have the ability to go back and forth and go all the way through it, and no other franchise or studio gives you the opportunity to do that."

What do you think of these "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" updates? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!