Production on the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger is set to get underway shortly in order to meet an April 4, 2014 release date.
This cornerstone of Marvel's Phase 2 leading up to The Avengers 2 in 2015 already has a formidable cast of actors returning from The First Avenger, The Avengers, and even a few newcomers.
But now it's also getting some more help from Redford, an iconic actor whose credits include All the President's Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Out of Africa, The Natural, and my personal favorite The Candidate. An influential figure in the emergence of independent film as we know it today, Redford has been busying himself principally with directing as of late, having helmed Lions for Lambs and The Conspirator in the last several years. His next directorial endeavor, The Company You Keep, hits theaters on April 5th.
Deadline reports that he's in talks to show up in his first superhero movie. Though his exact character is unknown, he'll reportedly be playing "a senior leadership role in S.H.I.E.L.D." The Avengers got away with Nick Fury reporting to a bunch of shadowy faces on S.H.I.E.L.D. screens, but the sequel will apparently include a physically present boss of the international espionage agency, which is also getting its own ABC television series.
Pretty much no actor playing a major character in any of Marvel's cross-pollinating franchises signs up for just one film, so it's entirely possible that Redford may pop up in future films like The Avengers 2, but that's getting ahead of ourselves. It's also possible that, like Tommy Lee Jones or Stanley Tucci in the first Captain America, Redford is only appearing to lend some gravitas in this one installment.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set to be by far the most S.H.I.E.L.D.-intensive entry in Phase 2. Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Cobie Smulders are all set to reprise their respective roles as Nick Fury, Natasha Romanoff, and Maria Hill.
Chris Evans is set to play Steve Rogers for the third time, with Sebastian Stan also returning as the eponymous Winter Soldier, a brainwashed mercenary version of Cap's old sidekick Bucky Barnes. Fellow The First Avenger actor Toby Jones is also set to play Arnim Zola again, while recent scuttlebutt suggested that Hayley Atwell could show up as Peggy Carter in a flashback.
As for the newcomers, Emily VanCamp will play Steve's love interest, with Anthony Mackie as The Falcon and Frank Grillo as Crossbones.
Joe and Anthony Russo, a duo best known for television comedies like Community and Happy Endings, take over as directors, working from a script by returning writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus. It's expected that Joss Whedon might be taking an uncredited pass at the screenplay, too, as he did on the first movie.