It’s no secret that Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo have become mainstays over at Marvel Studios, following their initial effort with 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Russo’s took the Steve Rogers character, the man out of time, and placed him at the centre of a present-day elite covert S.H.I.E.L.D. taskforce, albeit while actually having to stop an enemy that existed back in his day. The Winter Soldier was a superhero movie done up as a spy-thriller, breathing a breathe of fresh air into a the comic book genre that was already feeling a little tired. Moving into Captain America: Civil War, the directing duo were tasked to squeeze many of the MCU‘s big heroes into one film all while building a conflict between its central figures, Rogers and Tony Stark. Infinity War, and its follow-up Avengers 4, present the Russo Brothers with their greatest challenge yet in having to balance even more superheroes along with bringing a fully realised Thanos to the big screen.
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Winter Solider and Civil War may be Marvel’s closest blood relatives, in terms of story and tone, with both films revolving around Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, and The Cap’s ongoing efforts to save him from trouble. While Infinity War sees the culmination of events encompassing all MCU films since the first Iron Man, it also represents the beginning of the end for the Russo’s own personal mini story arc.
While talking with Spin 1038, the pair discussed that personal narrative, and their personal experiences on working in the Marvel movie space since they began on The Winter Soldier:
“For us, this was the challenge of telling the story but also completing the personal journey that we started as storytellers in Winter Soldier. So the story that began in Winter Soldier and that ends in Avengers 4 is a, there’s a very personal arc there for us. I think you’ll understand our point of view as filmmakers and who we are as people when you watch all four of those movies together.”
It seems the co-directors were both unsure as to how Winter Soldier would be received, but once the movie had earned the popularity and praise that it did they knew to keep following their instincts, which clearly they were right to – with Civil War going on to be one of the studio’s biggest hits to date. Undoubtedly, Marvel was more than happy to hedge its bets on the pair to tackle Avengers 3 and 4:
“Yes, that was a revelation for us, to be honest with you, because we didn’t know going into Winter Soldier. We knew why we wanted to make the movie. We knew what we loved about the character. We knew where we wanted to take it and what we wanted to do with that movie. But we didn’t know how anybody else in the world would respond. So, having the movie received like that was a validation for Joe and me that we should just stick with our instincts and our passion for the material and run with that. And hopefully, that’s what’s going to translate to audiences.”
As mentioned earlier, the connective tissue in all the Russo’s films (besides being helmed by them) seems to be Bucky. Whether the directors are alluding to this here is up for debate, but could this arc that, “ends with Avengers 4”, be an indication of the completion of the Winter Soldier’s story? If so, could it be that Barnes will be meeting his end in, or by, Avengers 4? It looks as though that’s a strong possibility.
Of course, it could also be said that the central character tying the Russo’s Marvel titles together is Captain America himself and that perhaps Steve is the prime candidate for a tragic death in one of the two upcoming Avengers films, particularly given his self-sacrificial nature. In fact, the Cap sacrificing himself to save Bucky might be the most fitting way to complete the Russo’s Marvel run seeing as helping his old friend has really been his main mission throughout the Directors’ quadrilogy.
Still, nothing is certain and it’s all to play for at this point. Although, with not long to go until Infinity War‘s release later this month we may have much more of an insight into the circumstances both Captain America and The Winter Soldier by Avengers 4 in the coming weeks.
Avengers 4 Is Expected To Hit Cinemas April 26th, 2019