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    April 8, 2014


    When the production for the Captain America sequel was announced during the San Diego Comic Con back in 2012, those who are familiar with the Marvel property should be able to recognize the significant of its subtitle, The Winter Soldier. The comic fans knew what is coming but little do they know that it eventually becomes something as big as this.

    I have watched the latest Marvel’s offering and I can summarize from my review that this film is indeed, a game-changer and is one of the best Marvel movies so far. But going into the cinema blind should be avoided. For a starter, you need to watch Captain America: The First Avenger. But in case you have already did so and is still left with some unclear thoughts, fret not as I am going to examine and to conclude my findings on how Captain America: The Winter Soldier will affect the franchise in the future. In this post, I will be discussing on:
    1. Infinite gems
    2. Mid Post Credit Scene
    3. The Whereabouts of SHIELD Agents
    4. Post Credit Scene
    5. How Marvel's Agents of SHIELD relates to the future of MCU


    (Partial-spoiler): During my mini-summary for Thor: The Dark World last year, I did mention about the significant for the several objects or items that will be and has been predominantly featured in the MCU (the ultimate Macguffin). Let's recap, in the mid post-credit of Thor: The Dark World, we saw how Volstagg and Sif passed the malicious object known as Aether to a mysterious and eccentric man, known only as Taneleer Tivan aka "The Collector" (Benecio del Toro). Aether is the "powerful" red-coloured gem/stone (dubbed for its strength) which enables the handler to become invulnerable through a strong symbiotic force with something that is so evil that it almost kills Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). But its real potential is yet to be known. And The Collector did appear in the trailer of Guardians of the Galaxy too for more scheme of his own. Aether looks like this:

    Most likely, every Marvel fan would have tell you that Aether is one of the six important items that will shape the future story. When all of the six items used together, they form an extensive divine tool/weapon that fired from within a single platform known as the Infinity Gauntlet (yeah, sounds like the one in Dota or something). Yes, The Collector is on his mission to collect them all (when he said "One down, five to go") and most likely is helping the big villain known as Thanos (was featured in the post-credit scene of The Avengers).

    So, if there are six, where are the other five gems/stones? As far as we have gone, there are only two of such been featured around. The second gem/stone is known as the Tessarect. Tessarect was prominently laid out as major plot arc in the first Captain America movie and in The Avengers. The ability of Tessarect is rather more established than Aether. In The Avengers, the alien-race Chitauri and Loki use the gem to gain entry into our world as this blue-cubic stone represents a fabric of space. Who has it now? Heimdell as keep it safe in Asgard, but with given circumstance of that particular ending of Thor: The Dark World, chances are someone will just sneak it out and will ultimately falls into the hand of Thanos. Tessarect looks like this:

    It is an open secret that the third gem has already make an appearance in MCU. The trailer for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy contains one of the most iconic scene which gives an idea how this third gem/stone looks like. At this given time, there is no clear indication yet how this gem/stone works, but we do know it will be known simply and tentatively as "Orb".


    (Major spoiler) Following the aftermath events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Chitauri Scepter (Loki's spear) is found to be in the hand of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. It makes sense since the object was last used by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to close the portal during the Battle of New York. After she submitted the item to S.H.I.E.L.D., it could be possible that any of the HYDRA sleeper agent inside the organization may have passed it down to him. In the mid-post credit scene, Strucker was heard mulling about some HYDRA experiment, how the Nazi-related organization is still operating around the world and the talk about new world order is still there.

    This experiment in particular has been met with some setback with many of the test subjects were killed, save for two subjects known as The Twin. One of the twin, the female subject in particular displays a telekinetic power. The other one, the male subject seems to be able to move quickly. Both were seen held inside a cell. The male subject displays something consistent with the Tessarect which plays through space. But the female subject displays an ability reminiscent of another Infinity stone that toys on the idea of such.

    There are various speculations on what this could mean but it seems likely it is an indication to a new gem/stone to be featured in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Nevertheless, the primary question will be - is it possible that the Chitauri Scepter is the fourth gem which is used to control mind of the twin? This scene is significant as it clearly sends out the message rather loud and clear - that we will be entering "The Age of Miracles" in MCU.


    (Major spoiler) Now we know that Aldrich Killian and Malakeith are basically dead. And we can add Robert Redford's character, Alexander Pierce into that list too.

    The agents in S.H.I.E.L.D. will be pretty much living a low profile life now after what happens in the movie. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) will retreat from the central role for awhile, go into hiding in Europe after the latter "deliberately" leaked their whole "little dirty secrets" to the public in order to take down HYDRA. But the consequence of which is also leads to the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. What's next for Nick Fury remains a big question. IGN reported on February that Jackson's contract is almost up - with three more movies in place and The Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of those. The other two? Could be Cap 3 and Avengers 3 but that's for everyone to guess.

    As for Black Widow whose past has been the tricky part of the whole MCU, The Avengers: Age of Ultron may just provide more on that, according to exec producer Kevin Feige. Agent Maria Hill (Colbie Smulder) has nine under her contract and had done two. Well, at least she still has a decent job at the office of Stark Industries.

    What about the other characters? Georges St Pierre's Batroc the Leaper, a master of Savate and the lead pirate that hijacks the Lemurian Star may not be featured in the upcoming instalment - so the character is pretty much done. Then you have Brock Rumlow aka Crossbones (Frank Grillo) who seems to have survived that major crash inside the Triskelion towards the end. There is a rumour that Crossbones will be featured in the future Marvel One-Shots.


    Judging by how the post-credit scene plays out, The Winter Soldier aka Bucky Banes (Sebastian Stan) is likely to play a larger role in the third phase of MCU. It is shown from this particular scene that Bucky is able to regain his control over his conciousness and finally learned about his past and his friendship with Steve Rogers aka Captain America through the exhibit in Smithsonian Museum. What does this mean?

    There is a speculation that with the support from comic story arc, Bucky will assume the role of Captain America when the First Avenger succumbed in a battle (2000s comic arc with him pronounced dead after killed by Red Skull). Do note that Chris Evans' contract in MCU does not extend beyond The Avengers 3 while Sebastian Stan's runs to up to 9 movies. Could that really happen when Bucky takes over the role of Captain America? Could it be that Thanos is able to take down the Avengers most important key member in the third movie? The following still from the movie is no coincidence, no?


    (Major spoiler) The greatest repercussion and effect following Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a whole. But the last few episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did play around with potential cross material-references with the bigger MCU.

    Episode 13 (T.R.A.C.K.S.) introduces Project Deathlok which is a bounty killer activated through force by Centipede organization and by its mysterious leader known as The Clairvoyant. Deathlok aka Mike Peterson was first introduced in the pilot for possessing power generated by super soldier serum (similar to one fueling Captain America) and has recently converted into a cybernetic operative under direction of The Clairvoyant.

    Episode 14 (T.A.H.I.T.I.) is a continuation from the previous episode that reveals more about the mysterious revival of Agent Coulson who was stabbed by Loki using the scepter in The Avengers. It turns out that Nick Fury "moved all heaven and earth" to save Coulson in a hidden facility known as the Guest House (G.H.). In the facility, we learned that Coulson underwent memory corrective surgery that implants the Tahiti experience into his head and is able to heal due to a drug known as GH-325. It turns out GH-325 is synthesized from a deceased blue alien species known only as the G.H.. Further inspection reveals that G.H. belongs to an alien race known as the Kree, which will be featured in Guardians of the Galaxy as the possible alliance to Thanos. The few alien officer who captured Peter Quill when he is stealing the "Orb" in the trailer are actually Kree.

    G.H. test subject
    Karoth, one of the Kree guard appearing in the trailer of Guardians of the Galaxy

    Episode 15 (Yes Men) - Jesper Sitwell was featured in the episode. So as Lady Sif from Thor: The Dark World. In this episode Coulson asked Lady Sif if any particular blue alien species ever come to Earth and Sif answered never at all. The mysterious disappearance of Nick Fury (went off-grid) is a great cause of concern throughout this episode too.

    Episode 16 (End of the Beginning) - S.H.I.E.L.D. has been pretty much dismissive when it comes to the term psychic. As revealed during the meeting at the beginning of the movie, The Clairvoyant hunt is pretty much the top priority. Moments later, Agent Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) instructs Jesper Sitwell to board the Lemurian Star (Yes, THAT SHIP!)

    And it gets some suspicious when Agent Hand decided to back off from joining the hunt. They failed to catch the "real" Clairvoyant and it turns out that there is a mole working inside S.H.I.E.L.D. Since this episode played before the release of The Winter Soldier in U.S. last week, I cannot conclude but to suspect that Agent Hand could be Hydra - more so might turns out to be Lady Hydra. But who is the Clairvoyant? Could he/she be a mere distraction or a bogus character to throw everyone out?

    After all, I am eager to see how the new episode will play out as it is certainly to occur slightly at the same time with the timeline in The Winter Soldier. Now that we know what had happen in the movie and it will be interesting to see how it impacts this TV series soon.

    There goes my long summary analysis on how Captain America: The Winter Soldier has played out on the whole MCU. Do read my review on the movie here. The next Marvel adventure is through the eyes of a bunch of A-hole in this August's Guardians of the Galaxy and next summer's big event The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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