With The Wolfman press conference came with veritable ton of First Avenger: Captain America news, courtesy of Joe Johnston, and all the sites that were lucky enough to sit down with him. I don't want to steal any thunder or exclusives, but I'm rounding up all the cool and relevant items for your reading pleasure, but I urge you to visit all our friends and read their pieces in entirety as there's lots of intriguing little hints that I can't begin to list here.

If you were worried that Cap would be battling anyone other than the Red Skull, you can put your mind at ease. Johnston confirmed to Ryan Rotten at ShockTillYouDrop that Red Skull will be the main villain of First Avenger: Captain America. As fans know, the creation and success of the Nazi terror known as the Red Skull is what leads to America "turning" Steve Rogers into Captain America. You can read a little more about him on an old Geek Beat if you like.
Meanwhile, over at CHUD, Devin Faraci learned that The Invaders will be Cap's costars. The Invaders were a WW2 superhero team that boasted Cap and Bucky as members, but the Marvel movie version will be a European team that fights alongside them. The goal is to make First Avenger more of an international film instead of a purely American spectacle. It's not yet known who among the Invaders will be gracing the silver screen, but Johnston hints that they'll be six members strong. If I was a betting woman, I'd put my money on Union Jack being a lock for the team. He's English, he has a cool costume, and he'd be perfect for a spin-off.

Cinematical readers already expressed concern about changes to Captain America's origin story -- too much like Spider-Man was the consensus -- so I'm afraid the news about Cap's costume might be a bitter pill to swallow. Johnston feels that the costume itself needs an origin story, and he revealed his plans to The LA Times. "The costume is a flag, but the way we're getting around that is we have Steve Rogers forced into the USO circuit. After he's made into this super-soldier, they decide they can't send him into combat and risk him getting killed. He's the only one and they can't make more. So they say, 'You're going to be in this USO show' and they give him a flag suit. He can't wait to get out of it ... The government essentially puts him up there as a living comic-book character and he rips it off and then reclaims some of its imagery after he recognizes the value of it. We think it's the best way to keep the costume and explain it at the same time." Of course, I wonder if a costume really needs an origin story unless it's an Iron Man kind of technology. I don't know that it needed to go to an elaborate Buster Bluth route to be palatable to audiences. WW2 propaganda is pretty legendary, so why not simply have him assigned his outfit purely for marketing reasons, particularly since he's facing off with the Red Skull? You can still have him finally accept what his imagery means, but I'm skeptical of a USO storyline. That sounds corny.

However, fans can at least be assured that Cap's outfit will resemble the comic original. His USO costume will be very similar to Jack Kirby's vision, and when he hits the battlefield, he'll be wearing "a sturdier, more muted version" that he's put together himself. It'll be more like a traditional set of fatigues, with lots of straps and buckles, and based more in the real world look he's sporting today.

Finally, Johnston dropped the bomb that he'll have all casting finished (and probably announced) by March 1. The plan is for Cap to be played by an unknown actor, but surrounded by a lot of big names. "We're looking for a complete unknown," Johnston told Collider. "I hope it'll be somebody we discover and whose never been in...well he's probably been in something ...you won't know who he is or recognize him. We'll surround him with more prominent names. That's who we're looking for. Will we find him? I don't know. It's tough." Johnston gave a few more hints to the LA Times as to the range of unknowns they were looking at: "We're testing five or six guys. The youngest is 23, the oldest is 32. Most of the guys in the war are just kids, 18 or 19, but we want to go a little bit older. We have to have somebody locked in before I leave March 1 for London."

The buzz is that everyone who is blond, blue-eyed, and boasts a lantern jaw has read for the part. Moviehole talked to Ryan McPartlin from tv's Chuck who even joked and criticized to that effect. "The one thing I can't stand are these actors that are twittering about auditioning for Captain America. It's really tacky. With that said, it is in the casting process and like many other actors, I read for it, so we'll wait and see what happens. Regardless, I'm pretty psyched to be Captain Awesome for the time being." You can probably expect an up-and-comer like McPartlin to nab the role, and I'm excited to see someone make his name as Cap, rather than a big name who has to try to convince us he can be Cap.

This is a lot of news to digest, and weigh in on. I'm anxious to hear what you Cap fans think of all these plans, and who you would like to see sign on to be Invaders, the Red Skull, or Cap himself.

[Thanks to CHUD, Collider, Coming Soon, The LA Times' Hero Complex, and Moviehole. If there's anyone I neglected to credit properly, or accurately, I apologize. Lots of links to sort through.]
categories Movies, Cinematical