Captain America 2: Why Winter Soldier is better than Red Skull

Captain America: The Winter Soldier director Anthony Russo on why Bucky is a better villain

Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier in Marvel's Captain America sequel
Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier in Marvel’s Captain America sequel

Steve Rogers isn’t just mourning his lost world and his dead barbershop quartet in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he’s still coming to terms with the loss of his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan).

In Captain America: The First Avenger, the sidekick sniper seemingly perished after falling from a moving train into an icy ravine. Just before that happened, though, the writers were already prepping for his return.

When Cap comes to rescue his pal from the Red Skull and Nazi scientist Arnim Zola, he finds him strapped to a chair, having been tortured and probably subjected to all sorts of experiments. This is the more likely reason for his resurrection, as opposed to the comic-book storyline that saw the Soviets to blame for transforming him into a cyborg assassin.

It won’t be a happy reunion when the mask slips and Cap discovers he’s been battling one of his closest allies, and according to co-director Anthony Russo, this is what makes Bucky the deadliest foe he’s faced so far.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo at San Diego Comic Con (c) Gage Skidmore
Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo at San Diego Comic Con (c) Gage Skidmore

“We wanted to take a really grounded approach to the movie, and the Winter Soldier, even though he has a bionic arm, is in some ways a more grounded villain than the Red Skull is,” says Russo, speaking exclusively to SciFiNow

“He’s an enhanced human being like Cap, and their abilities match up against one another in a very similar way, which is what I think’s brilliant about Brubaker’s creation. We always say that a hero is only as good as the villain, and this villain in particular is a gift from a storytelling standpoint.

“He has such an emotional connection to the lead hero; they’re basically brothers fighting each other, so you can’t ask for a better or richer back story between a hero and a villain. For us, the relationship between Cap and the Winter Soldier is potentially more engaging than with Cap and the Red Skull.”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is due in cinemas 4 April 2014 – read our huge behind-the-scenes exclusive here and find out more about the comics that inspired the film with new digital magazine Uncanny Comics. Buy the first film as triple-play DVD, Blu-ray and digital copy for £17.99 from