Anthony Mackie's appearance in this film fulfills his dream of playing a Marvel comic book character. He wrote a series of e-mail pleas to Marvel, wanting to play any comic character that would appear on film. Though the studio repeatedly replied to him that they will respond in due time, Mackie's emails caught the attention of Producer Kevin Feige, who subsequently offered him the role of Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon.
Unlike other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie minimized the use of visual effects as much as possible. Anthony Mackie elaborated: "The Russos, what they did that was so great was, they wanted to stay with live-action, which is a dying art form. If they could build it, they built it. If we could do it, we did it. They wanted to do as little CGI as possible. That's why the movie looks so great."
To prepare for the role of the Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan went through five months of physical training and historical research: "I dove into the whole Cold War history: I looked at the KGB. I looked at all kinds of spy movies, and all kinds of documentaries about that time, and what it was about. I grabbed anything from that time period, and anything about brainwashing."
(At around sixteen minutes) When the Helicarriers are revealed for the first time, Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) mentions to Captain America (Chris Evans) that Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) insisted on making changes to the propulsion systems "once he got a closer look". In The Avengers (2012), Iron Man struggled to restart the damaged propeller-based engines of an earlier generation Helicarrier. The new Helicarriers use repulsor technology instead of propellers to create lift.
When asked why Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, or any of the other Avengers weren't called to help Captain America or Black Widow in the film, the screenwriters explained that the movie only takes place in about three days, therefore the characters didn't have a chance to contact them.
While writing the script, there was a big possibility of Hawkeye being in the film. However, the writers felt that there were too many characters introduced, and they didn't want Hawkeye to be there without any depth. They instead decided to write a small scene in which Hawkeye and his whereabouts are mentioned, which was shot, but ultimately wasn't included in the film.
(At around one hour and three minutes) Black Widow mentions "Operation Paperclip", which was a real-world reference to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program, in which over one thousand five hundred German scientists, technicians, and engineers from Nazi Germany, and other foreign countries, were brought to the United States for employment in the aftermath of World War II.
According to Chris Evans, Steve Rogers continues his adjustment to the modern world, which began in The Avengers (2012): "It's not so much about his shock with technology. It's more about the societal differences. He's gone from the 1940s to today. He comes from a world where people were a little more trusting, the threats not as deep. Now, it's harder to tell who's right and wrong. Actions you take to protect people from threats could compromise liberties and privacy. That's tough for Steve to swallow."
Hayley Atwell was aged using computer graphics imagery for her appearance as an elderly Peggy Carter. Co-director Anthony Russo commented that "all of the old people have looked the same in movies since the 80s when you go down the make-up route." Co-director Joe Russo said: "We changed her face and her muscle structure and all of those things that change when you age."
The elevator fight with the Strike Team attempting to take Cap prisoner is an homage to the Civil War story arc, when Cap refuses to participate in the government's plan to register all superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to take him prisoner.
(At around two hours and five minutes) Kate/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) is later referred to by her real name "Sharon Carter". Many fans would have put it together, when she was called Agent 13, and others, when she is called Sharon, but this is Sharon Carter, Peggy's younger sister in the comics (they later changed it to her niece, when they made continuity changes, but the relationship in the movie is not established) and a major love interest for Captain America. What, if anything, this will mean for future movies remains to be seen. The cover name "Kate" is from S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Kate Neville.
The mall/shopping center in which Black Widow and Captain America visit, in order to find the origin of the encrypted USB stick, is called the Tower City Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The front of the building, and its concourse, were used in The Avengers (2012) as the opera hall in which Loki confronts German opera patrons.
(At around one hour and seven minutes) When Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is opening his refrigerator, a jar of Newman's Own Sauce is visible on the shelf, an apparent homage to Redford's long-time friend and two-time co-star Paul Newman.
Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) mentions some high-risk targets that H.Y.D.R.A. is keeping tabs on. Among these are Bruce Banner (The Hulk), Dr. Stephen Strange, and "a man in Cairo". The latter is most likely Marc Spector/Moon Knight, an Avengers team member who hasn't made it into the movies yet.
Anthony Mackie took the role of Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, partly to give African-American kids another black superhero to enjoy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart from War Machine in the Iron Man movies. However, he was unhappy with the modern take on his costume as Falcon, since he wanted the red spandex look from the comics. Instead, this film adapts the Falcon from Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel imprint, which has him as a special operations soldier who happens to be equipped with a costume, goggles, and a unique winged flying harness with much more subdued dark colors.
Co-director Joe Russo is a big fan of a YouTube channel called Screen Junkies. One of their segments is called Honest Trailers, which features spoofing movie trailers which poke fun at the movies for which they appear to be. Russo was aiming this film to be "Honest Trailer-proof". However, Screen Junkies did release an Honest Trailer for it, in August of 2014, and the Russo brothers appeared in a special video to discuss it with the YouTube channel host Hal Rudnick, and Honest Trailers writers Dan Murrell and Spencer Gilbert on April 16, 2016.
The outfit that Nick Fury wears in his last scene in this movie was the same outfit he was seen wearing in the first season finale "Beginning of the End" of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), right down to the sunglasses and beanie.
In battling the Winter Soldier, Captain America needs all of the resources he can get, including his iconic shield, which has a lot more uses in this movie. The shield is traditionally used mostly as a defensive weapon, but in this film, the filmmakers wanted to explore using it more as an offensive weapon. There are two handles on the shield, and Steve Rogers can hold onto the handles in order to utilize it in an eastern style of fighting.
Hawkeye was originally going to appear in several scenes, including a fight sequence where he would have battled Captain America after a prolonged chase through the city. Scheduling issues with Jeremy Renner prevented this. Originally, Hawkeye was sent to hunt down Steve, catching up to him and the two of them fighting. Steve wins, but finds Hawkeye whispering to him to make his defeat look real, revealing Hawkeye deliberately lost because a Quinjet is recording the whole thing overhead. He also alerts Steve about the tracking device in his suit.
A deleted scene explains why Captain America had to borrow his old uniform from the museum. He let the S.T.R.I.K.E. team track his new uniform to a basketball court, while he went back to the hospital in regular clothes.
(At around thirty-four minutes) When Steve Rogers enters his apartment, you can briefly see a copy of the book "All the President's Men" on his bookshelf. Robert Redford was producer and co-star (with Dustin Hoffman) of the movie adaptation of this book.
(At around two hours) Maria Hill's (Cobie Smulders') last scene is of her joining Stark Industries. In the comics, she served under Tony Stark, but it was the other way around, as he ended up joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
Shooting in Washington, D.C. put Steve Rogers, Black Widow, and Falcon in scenes at some of the most prominent national landmarks, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Abraham Lincoln Memorial, National Air and Space Museum, Capitol Building, National Mall, Occidental Restaurant at The Willard Hotel, DuPont Circle Neighborhood, and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, which the production shut down for the first time for the filming of a major motion picture.
Kevin Feige selected Joe Russo and Anthony Russo to direct the film on the basis of their two back-to-back episodes of Community (2009) that they've directed, with which Feige was impressed: season two, episode twenty-three, "A Fistful of Paintballs" and season two, episode twenty-four, "For a Few Paintballs More".
Anthony Mackie likes to say "cut the check!" whenever something had gone right or a scene had been completed. The phrase caught on during filming, and before long everyone on-set was saying it. However, according to the directors, he overdid it so many times that it started to lose effect after a while.
The mask of Winter Soldier is exactly opposite to the mask of Captain America, just like Cap's image. Winter Soldier's mask covers his lower face and reveals his eyes, where Cap's cover his eyes and reveals his lower face.
The freighter Batroc hijacks in the beginning is named the "Lemurian Star". This is a reference to Lemuria, the sunken continent that was the home of the Deviants, a race of superhumans created by Jack Kirby.
UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre plays an Algerian mercenary in the film. For the filmmakers, landing the popular MMA fighter for the role, was a stroke of luck and good timing, but it was equally a stroke of luck for St. Pierre, who was excited to get his first chance at being in a big action movie.
Prior to the release of this film, there was some doubt that this sequel would have much appeal outside of the United States considering the character's obvious American imagery. However, the film proved to be a major international success upon release.
At one point, the writers had proposed sparing Arnim Zola by revealing that the computer in which he housed his memory could transform into a mobile robotic body. Marvel vetoed the idea, on the grounds that it was too silly.
(At around two minutes) When Rogers talks for the first time with Wilson, he mentions some differences between his time and modern times. He comments "No polio is great". It's a nod to Captain America (1990), where Steve Rogers (Matt Salinger) was sick with polio before undergoing the experiment to become Captain America.
(At around two minutes) Cap's list of the things he missed, includes the Moon Landing. In the Marvel storyline "House of M" (an alternate reality, where Magneto and mutants rule the Earth) Cap was the first man on the moon.
This movie is the last live-action appearance of the late Garry Shandling. While this movie was his final appearance on the big screen, his final film role would be in a voice-over, in The Jungle Book (2016).
Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon got double exposure in 2014. First, he is included as a major character in this movie, and in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Secondly, in the comics, with Steve Rogers having aged rapidly, Wilson has been called upon to replace him as the new Captain America.
In the comics, Steve Rogers often struggled financially, taking odd jobs such as comic book illustrator, teacher, etc. However, the Ultimates version states he is financially secure, since he was given sixty years of back pay by the Army for his time in suspended animation. The film version shows he remains employed as a government agent, like the 1960s-1970s comic version.
(At around one hour and two minutes) In Dr. Zola's lair, Black Widow says "Shall we play a game?" This was a line taken from WarGames (1983), which was a movie about war simulation programs run by a national defense computer, which almost triggers a nuclear war.
In his first comic incarnation, Falcon had the superpower to communicate with birds telepathically. The film version, much like the Marvel Ultimate comics version, does not give Falcon any superpowers.
(At around one hour and fifteen minutes) While Rogers and Romanov are questioning Agent Sitwell about Zola's algorithm, Sitwell lists people that are being tracked. He mentions Stephen Strange. He is the main character in Doctor Strange (2016), played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Between The Avengers (2012) and this movie, Cap's shield is no longer magnetic with additional electronics. This reflects the comic books, where Cap found that the modifications affected the delicate balance of the shield, and had them removed.
When Nick Fury is racing through the busy streets, after his SUV has been attacked, there are two clips where he drives by the street (E 9th) and intersection (E 9th and Euclid) where the street battle scenes from The Avengers (2012) were shot. There is also a very short clip of him driving down the street where those scenes were shot. Several of the buildings from The Avengers (2012) can be seen. Also, the rotunda-styled bank, where Bucky goes for his treatments, is the same building from The Avengers (2012), of which Captain America was blown out, when the alien grenade went off.
This marks the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film in which vehicles produced by an American car maker, Chevrolet, are featured as part of a product-placement deal. Chevy vehicles prominently featured in the movie include a pre-production 2014 Corvette Stingray, driven by Natasha in an early scene; a Tahoe SUV (featuring a substantial number of S.H.I.E.L.D. upgrades, including bulletproof glass and the ability to drive itself) driven by Nick Fury during an extended chase sequence; a Silverado pickup truck driven by Steve; and an Impala driven by Sam. Other Chevy vehicles are plainly visible in some shots, including several of its limited-production Volt hybrid vehicle.
Before settling on a darker military outfit, several of the proposed Falcon costumes featured a more armored look, complete with a helmet. At least one of the suits also retained Falcon's red and white color scheme from the comics, as well the golden forehead crest he wears on his mask.
This movie and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) involved Captain America falling into a water body in the end: The Arctic in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and the Potomac River in this movie.
In the commentary, the filmmakers say the mask used by Natasha Romanov is based on the mask used by the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), thus showing another link between H.Y.D.R.A. and S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Russo brothers considered using the "Captain America" March for when Steve Rogers steals his old Captain America costume from the Smithsonian Institution for the final battle against H.Y.D.R.A., but ultimately decided it wasn't necessary, since this movie is different in tone than Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
The dialogue between Pierce and Natasha, about potentially leaking her past alongside the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. database, ran longer, with a mention that Pierce isn't doing anything to stop it because H.Y.D.R.A.'s existence being known to the public won't matter once the Helicarriers are fully operational.
(At around one hour and fifteen minutes) Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans were in The Perfect Score (2004). In that movie, they, and a group of high school students, plot to steal the answers to the S.A.T. In this movie, when Black Widow and Captain America are interrogating Sitwell, he makes reference to "Perfect Score", when he says that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows everything about them, even their S.A.T. scores.
(At around fifty-seven minutes) When Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanov are talking in the stolen truck, Natasha asks where Captain America learned to steal a car. In Captain America (1990), he stole multiple vehicles from American citizens.
Near the beginning of the film, in an aerial shot of Washington, D.C., the camera lingers on a shot centered on the Watergate complex, where President Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President (the Plumbers) broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, sparking the Watergate scandal, which led to the revelation Nixon had been using the intelligence agencies to gain political power. Robert Redford played Bob Woodward in the famous Watergate scandal movie All the President's Men (1976).
In this movie, Natasha Romanov a.k.a. Black Widow was twenty-nine years old, one year older than Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, who was only twenty-eight-years-old (biologically). In real life, Scarlett Johansson is three years younger than Chris Evans.
(At around thirteen minutes) The coordinates of the Triskelion (when corrected from the impossible south longitude to west longitude) are 38N 53'33.78" 77W 3' 38.91. This puts it on Theodore Roosevelt Island, in the Potomac River, Washington, D.C., with the shown view of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial to its southeast.
(At around thirty-four minutes) When Steve sneaks into his apartment through the window, the book Night Stalkers by Mike Durant can be seen at the bottom of the horizontal stack of books. Durant served in the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, and was taken prison in Somalia during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. He was released after spending eleven days in captivity. Black Hawk Down (2001) portrayed the events of the battle, and Durant's capture.
In the opening sequence on the Lumerian Star, Captain America's shield has pale colors of red and blue. The next time you see Captain America with his shield after the mission on the ship, he has his shield with the original solid red and blue colors. There is no explanation of what happened to the first shield, as it is never seen again after the mission on the ship. It is assumed that it was simply painted muted colors for a camouflage effect, and then repainted to its original colors after the night mission.
(At around one hour and forty minutes) Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) says "What if Pakistan marched into Mumbai tomorrow?" This dialogue is the reference to Mumbai terror attacks, which was done by terrorists group situated in Pakistan, on Hotel Taj Palace, Mumbai in 2008.
One country where this film proved unexpectedly popular to a major degree was in China. Apparently, the adventures of a superhero with such a patriotic motif who was willing to defy his government when he found it morally necessary proved appealing to the citizenry of a nation with an authoritarian regime.
In this movie, Robert Redford plays Alexander Pierce, and Sir Ben Kingsley plays Trevor Slattery in Iron Man Three (2013). Both worked together in Sneakers (1992), with Kingsley playing the villain, and Redford the main protagonist. Now, both Academy Award winning actors have been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Joss Whedon: (At around eighteen minutes) Writer and director of The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) as the man wearing a Captain America t-shirt, and going down the escalator with a little boy at the Smithsonian Institution.
Danny Pudi: (At around one hour and thirty-five minutes) As the Com Tech operator who lets Captain America into the communications room. The Russo brothers previously directed Pudi on "Community," where he played Abed.
There is a brief mention of a Canadian agency called "Department H" by Natasha Romanov a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), which was the organization that experimented on Wolverine and gave him his Adamantium-bonded skeleton in the Marvel comics. In addition, it is the organization that created the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight.
In several scenes, Natasha Romanov a.k.a. Black Widow wears a necklace with an arrow on it. This is a reference to her teammate Hawkeye, but it also spread the doubt of them being lovers. The necklace was Scarlett Johansson's idea.
(At around one hour and fifty minutes) When the Helicarriers are looking for their targets, on one of the monitors there is a wire-frame model of the former Stark Tower in New York City, now sporting the Avengers sign. In the same image is a mugshot of Tony Stark, on the right-hand side, as a H.Y.D.R.A. target.
Sebastian Stan is contracted for nine films, but according to him, when production for this film began, he was not told anything of which films he will be incorporated. Stan only realized he was playing the title role of the Winter Soldier when the title was formally revealed in San Diego Comic-Con 2013.
(At around thirty-three minutes) The laser cutter that Nick Fury uses to escape from his ruined SUV into the sewer, has the same blue beam as the one used to access the plane buried in the ice in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). The episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), that aired directly after the film's release, "Providence", revealed that they were invented by Fitz.
(At around two hours) At the end of the movie, Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) can be seen burned, but alive, being healed by some doctors while he is moved in an ambulance. In the comics, Crossbones (Rumlow's supervillain moniker) had his face severely burned, necessitating that he wear a mask.
The Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes) is able to match Captain America (Steve Rogers) move by move, even to the point of catching Rogers' shield. This foreshadows Barnes taking over as Captain America (which happened in the comics).
Comic book writer Ed Brubaker was pleased and surprised at the adaptation of the Winter Soldier storyline, his work on the title, including the return of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier: "I got to go out to Marvel Studios and read one of the later drafts of the script. I went out to dinner with directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and talked about the project, and gave them feedback on what I liked, or didn't like, or what parts didn't work. I mean, the script I read was fantastic. The tone of it, and the Bucky stuff is so perfect, and the way I'd want it to be, I was so thrilled to see that."
One of the first-revealed deleted scenes was a short, painful conversation between Natasha and Nick Fury about his decision not to bring her in on his survival plan. Scarlett Johansson suggested it be cut because it disrupted the momentum of the film, and the basic gist of the scene is still conveyed without being needed to spell it out. Albeit, this scene also introduced the photo-veil, the high-tech mask that allows Natasha to impersonate the female councilwoman and enter the Triskelion.
(At around one hour and eleven minutes) Steve Rogers tells Natasha Romanov that he is "always honest". He takes this to an extreme when addressing S.H.I.E.L.D. about the H.Y.D.R.A. takeover (at around one hour and thirty-five minutes). Although everyone believed that Nick Fury had been killed, Steve only states that Alexander Pierce had Fury "shot", since Steve knew that Fury was still alive.
Robert Redford wanted to be in this movie so that he could play a villain, since he almost never gets cast as one. He also reportedly wanted to experience the new style of filmmaking that utilized high technology to bring its characters to life.
The film's plot is based on the storylines "The Winter Soldier" (Captain America's new threat) and "The Ultimates" (S.H.I.E.L.D. is taken over by H.Y.D.R.A.). And long before "The Ultimates", "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D."
According to producer Kevin Feige, every Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2 movie has an homage to Star Wars, in the form of a character losing an arm. -In Iron Man Three (2013), Aldrich Killian loses an arm during the battle with Tony Stark. -In Thor: The Dark World (2013), Loki cuts off Thor's arm on Svartalfheim. -In Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Bucky lost his arm during his fall from the train. In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Gamora cuts off Groot's arm during the group's initial scuffle on Xandar.
Before his death in The Avengers (2012), and subsequent resurrection in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), Marvel considered revealing Phil Coulson as a H.Y.D.R.A. agent. He would have played the role that Sitwell does in the finished film.
The Winter Soldier only lands a total of nine hits in the entire film with his metal arm: one punch on Cap in the street fight, one backhand on the doctor fixing his arm, and seven hits on Cap in the final fight, all of which are hits Cap let him land. All of his other strikes are either blocked or with his non-metal arm. Like Cap, he uses his metal arm like a shield, mainly to block.
(At around thirty-three minutes) When Kate/Agent 13 finishes her phone call and makes small talk with Steve Rogers (in their mutual hallway), she says about the call, "My aunt's kind of an insomniac". Agent 13's name is actually Sharon Carter, and her aunt is Steve's former love interest Peggy Carter.
(At around one hour and fifteen minutes) When Jasper Sitwell is being interrogated, he tells Captain America and Black Widow that a lot of humans will be killed by the Helicarriers, which attended Project Insight. Among those names, he mentioned Dr. Stephen Strange and Dr. Bruce Banner. Bruce Banner is better known as The Incredible Hulk, whereas Dr. Strange is the protagonist in Doctor Strange (2016). They are the main characters of "The Defenders" in the comic books.
The "winter soldier" title is assumed to refer to either Bucky's nickname, the Cold War, or how he was kept in a cold-based suspended animation between missions. But from the commentary, it actually refers to an eighteenth century quote from Thomas Paine: "THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he (the winter soldier) that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." Therefore, the "winter soldier" is Cap, not Bucky.
During the scene where Steve (Chris Evans) and Natalia (Scarlett Johansson) are speaking to Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) in his computer form, Zola mentions that H.Y.D.R.A. changes the present when the need suits them. During this speech, the image of the Winter Soldier can be seen aiming an assault rifle right before the image of a newspaper bearing the headline that Howard and Maria Stark died in a car accident. It was revealed in this movie that the Winter Soldier was responsible for the deaths of Howard and Maria Stark.
By the time this movie came out, the fact that Jasper Sitwell mentions Dr. Stephen Strange as an objective for Project Insight becomes somewhat anachronic. The most common (and simple) explanation for this theory comes from the fact that Dr. Strange movie made no specific timestamp references that could be somewhat related to Captain America: The Winter Soldier; under this logic, Stephen Strange could've been the supreme sorcerer even before the events seen on Avengers: Age of Ultron, thus explaining this scene. Another theory is that this throw away line is evidence that the 'predictive' qualities of project insight are accurate - it has highlighted Stephen Strange as a threat to HYDRA even before he has become one.
Natasha Romanov disguised herself as Councilwoman Hawley by wearing a holographic mask of her. The holographic masks were used in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) by Agent 33/Kara to impersonate Agent May (among others).
Mission: Impossible (1996) and Total Recall (2012) are speculated to be influences behind the movie. The Mission: Impossible connection: Captain America is forced to go on the run and is hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, and is branded a traitor when he is implicated in Nick Fury's assassination. With help from Black Widow and The Falcon, Captain America sets out to solve the mystery behind Nick Fury's assassination by following the trail of Nick Fury's mysterious assassin The Winter Soldier and they soon discover Secretary Alexander Pierce is a traitor, and he masterminded the assassination, and Nick Fury is later revealed to be very much alive and that he faked his own death. The Total Recall (2012) connection: Black Widow disguises herself as Councilwoman Hawley by wearing a Photostatic Veil (Holographic mask) to access the Triskelion and get close to Pierce.