Note: If you have not watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, you may want to watch the movie before reading on, as this article contains Spoilers.
The beauty of the Marvel movies lies, amongst many things, in their closures. That the movie does not end even after it has ended. As you walk out of the cinema hall, it has given you some “food for thought”, clues to decipher the next path for the Marvel superheroes. We are talking of the post-credits scenes that are now integral to the Marvel movie world. In fact, the studio has now shifted to the strategy of having a dual closure – a mid-credits scene and an end-credits scene. The mid-credits scene throws clues on the bigger picture, the grander tale going on in the Marvel universe; the end-credits scene is more relevant to the story of the movie that you have just seen, and where it may be headed next. The recently released Captain America: The Winter Soldier also delivered both scenes, each one of them bringing squeals of delight from the audience, and so now we dwell on them further.
(Thomas Kretschmann plays HYDRA leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker)
The mid-credits scene has two men walking in a basement and discussing on the failed attempt to takeover S.H.I.E.L.D. completely. The man in command in this scene is the one to lookout for as he is none other than Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (played by actor Thomas Kretschmann), the leader of the villainous group HYDRA. In the Marvel comics, Strucker’s origins date back to the late 19th century. He fought for Germany during both the World Wars and was one of Hitler’s commanders as well as an ally of Red Skull (who was the villain in Captain America: The First Avenger), and one of the early leaders of HYDRA. More interestingly, Strucker discovered a method of slowing his aging, and has thus survived to the modern day relatively youthful. Now that’s a long and complex background, and I wonder whether the forthcoming movies would prefer to simplify it and maintain Strucker as the current head of HYDRA without dwelling on his century old past.
(Scarlet Witch shown in a cell with Quicksilver in the adjoining one)
Along with the introduction of Strucker, there was the first screen appearance of two much awaited characters — Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen). Both of them are shown in a disoriented state, held in captivity as Strucker refers to them as “miracles”.
This isn’t the age of spies. This is not even the age of heroes. This is the age of miracles… and there’s nothing more horrifying than a miracle.
This plot line is highly interesting. The Maximoff twins are the children of none other than Magneto of the X-Men universe. But Fox owns the rights to that X-Men character as well as the Marvel term “mutant”, so maybe that is why the the twins have been referred to as “miracles”. The brief scene, which in fact has been helmed by Joss Whedon, gives an idea of the powers of the two, Quicksilver’s amazing speed and Scarlet Witch’s ability to manipulate probability itself. They seem raw and still coming to terms with their powers in this scene, and more of them would follow in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In all likelihood, the origin of their powers may be attributed to some experimentation or may get linked to the Infinity Stones, but such speculations would just get our minds muddled further. A deviation from the comics nonetheless is about to follow, and so that throws a challenge to Joss Whedon and Marvel to bring these two cool characters to the screen without doing them disservice. Oh, and it is very much likely that the twins would start from HYDRA and end up assisting the Avengers, a journey from the dark side to the good one, something akin to the comics.
The scene also had Strucker mentioning about a powerful object in his possession which is revealed to be Loki’s scepter. Again speculation here, but since we haven’t had any mention of the Infinity Stones in this movie, the powerful scepter could well be holding the third one. Well it better be, for there are six of them, and we are not even halfway there yet. The first two are of course the Tesseract and the Aether, something discussed in our previous post on Thor: The Dark World. But how does the scepter of Loki end up on Earth in the hands of Strucker? That is something which surely Avengers: Age of Ultron would further explore.
And finally, the end-credits scene has Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier ending up at the Smithsonian where he comes across a memorial on himself. This should be the part where one can assume Bucky would switch over to the good side again and be an asset rather than a threat for Captain America and others. But there is also a bigger rumour going around, that as Chris Evans may no longer continue playing this role after the third solo film, Bucky Barnes could take over as Captain America, as was the case briefly in the comics. Now if this means that the current Captain America dies in the third film, it would be a bummer, something really hard to swallow. So we just cross our fingers and hope for more pleasant things to grace the Cap. Oh, and hope you caught the mention of Stephen Strange in the movie, which at least confirms the guy exists in this universe, and this might just lead to a film soon!
Well, as usual, we can only speculate on what Marvel is planning next. A few pieces fall in place, and at the same time more gaps open up; that is the way Marvel has continued to bamboozle and delight us at the same time. We all know that Ultron is going to be the bad guy to beat in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. But there are so many more bad guys lined up now, von Strucker, Thanos and possibly the Collector, and maybe a few mysteries would be cleared up in the next Marvel outing Guardians of the Galaxy releasing later this year. Can’t wait!
And the final words from Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, as told to CraveOnline, when asked on the absence of Hawkeye from the film. Interesting to hear the thoughts that go in these films.
We will discover, later, the answers to that question. But it really came down to how many players can you have on the field at this time? We really wanted to bring in Falcon, we really wanted to team [Captain America] up with Black Widow, we really wanted Fury to have more of a part than he’s ever had in any of the other movies before. We wanted, ever so briefly, to introduce Sharon Carter. And we had a fun place for Maria Hill to be involved. So we didn’t want to just have, “Hey, I’m Hawkeye! Hey, I’m Iron Man!” We want to avoid the brief cameos of the week….Not every character from every movie is going to be in Age of Ultron, for sure. But Joss [Whedon] is excited and, for the characters you haven’t seen since the first Avengers – like Hawkeye, like Hulk – there’s a reason for that, and that gets showcased quite prominently in Age of Ultron.