Anthony Mackie's appearance in this film fulfills his dream of playing a Marvel comic book character. He wrote a series of e-mail pleas to Marvel, wanting to play any comic character that would appear on film. Though the studio repeatedly replied to him that they will respond in due time, Mackie's emails caught the attention of producer Kevin Feige, who subsequently offered him the role of Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon.
(at around 15 mins) Nick Fury relates a story of his grandfather being an elevator operator. In real life, Samuel L. Jackson's grandfather was an elevator operator.
Unlike other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie minimized the use of visual effects as much as possible. Anthony Mackie elaborated: "The Russos, what they did that was so great was, they wanted to stay with live-action, which is a dying art form. If they could build it, they built it. If we could do it, we did it. They wanted to do as little CGI as possible. That's why the movie looks so great."
Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson wrote their own dialogue for several scenes they had together.
Robert Redford wanted to do the film because his grandchildren are fans of Marvel films, and he wanted them to see him in one.
(at around 1h 3 mins) Black Widow mentions "Operation Paperclip", which was a real-world reference to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program, in which over one thousand five hundred German scientists, technicians, and engineers from Nazi Germany, and other foreign countries, were brought to the United States for employment in the aftermath of World War II.
(at around 16 mins) When the Helicarriers are revealed for the first time, Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) mentions to Captain America (Chris Evans) that Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) insisted on making changes to the propulsion systems "once he got a closer look". In The Avengers (2012), Iron Man struggled to restart the damaged propeller-based engines of an earlier generation Helicarrier. The new Helicarriers use repulsor technology instead of propellers to create lift.
When asked why Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, or any of the other Avengers weren't called to help Captain America or Black Widow in the film, the screenwriters explained that the movie only takes place in about three days, therefore the characters didn't have a chance to contact them.
(at around 5 mins) The scene where Captain America jumps out of a plane, without bothering to use a parachute, is an homage to a similar scene from the first issue of "The Ultimates" comic.
Cap's new costume takes cues from the "Super-Soldier" outfit he wore when he served as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics.
Samuel L. Jackson described Nick Fury as facing a crisis: "Almost everything that comes out of Nick Fury's mouth is a lie in some sense. He has to ask if he is even lying to himself."
While writing the script, there was a big possibility of Hawkeye being in the film. However, the writers felt that there were too many characters introduced, and they didn't want Hawkeye to be there without any depth. They instead decided to write a small scene in which Hawkeye and his whereabouts are mentioned, which was shot, but ultimately wasn't included in the film.
Hayley Atwell was aged using computer graphics imagery for her appearance as an elderly Peggy Carter. Co-director Anthony Russo commented that "all of the old people have looked the same in movies since the 80s when you go down the make-up route." Co-director Joe Russo said: "We changed her face and her muscle structure and all of those things that change when you age."
According to Chris Evans, Steve Rogers continues his adjustment to the modern world, which began in The Avengers (2012): "It's not so much about his shock with technology. It's more about the societal differences. He's gone from the 1940s to today. He comes from a world where people were a little more trusting, the threats not as deep. Now, it's harder to tell who's right and wrong. Actions you take to protect people from threats could compromise liberties and privacy. That's tough for Steve to swallow."
The mall/shopping center in which Black Widow and Captain America visit, in order to find the origin of the encrypted USB stick, is called the Tower City Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The front of the building, and its concourse, were used in The Avengers (2012) as the opera hall in which Loki confronts German opera patrons.
(at around 1h 7 mins) When Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is opening his refrigerator, a jar of Newman's Own Sauce is visible on the shelf, an apparent homage to Redford's long-time friend and two-time co-star Paul Newman.
Anthony Mackie took the role of Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, partly to give African-American kids another black superhero to enjoy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart from War Machine in the Iron Man movies. However, he was unhappy with the modern take on his costume as Falcon, since he wanted the red spandex look from the comics. Instead, this film adapts the Falcon from Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel imprint, which has him as a special operations soldier who happens to be equipped with a costume, goggles, and a unique winged flying harness with much more subdued dark colors.
In an attempt to prevent spoilers and keep secrecy, the working title of this movie while filming was "Freezer Burn".
(at around 34 mins) When Steve Rogers enters his apartment, you can briefly see a copy of the book "All the President's Men" on his bookshelf. Robert Redford was producer and co-star (with Dustin Hoffman) of the movie adaptation of this book.
The filmmakers described the Winter Soldier as a "negative image of Captain America."
Hawkeye was originally going to appear in several scenes, including a fight sequence where he would have battled Captain America after a prolonged chase through the city. Scheduling issues with Jeremy Renner prevented this. Originally, Hawkeye was sent to hunt down Steve, catching up to him and the two of them fighting. Steve wins, but finds Hawkeye whispering to him to make his defeat look real, revealing Hawkeye deliberately lost because a Quinjet is recording the whole thing overhead. He also alerts Steve about the tracking device in his suit.
Co-director Joe Russo is a big fan of a YouTube channel called Screen Junkies. One of their segments is called Honest Trailers, which features spoofing movie trailers which poke fun at the movies for which they appear to be. Russo was aiming this film to be "Honest Trailer-proof". However, Screen Junkies did release an Honest Trailer for it, in August of 2014, and the Russo brothers appeared in a special video to discuss it with the YouTube channel host Hal Rudnick, and Honest Trailers writers Dan Murrell and Spencer Gilbert on April 16, 2016.
In battling the Winter Soldier, Captain America needs all of the resources he can get, including his iconic shield, which has a lot more uses in this movie. The shield is traditionally used mostly as a defensive weapon, but in this film, the filmmakers wanted to explore using it more as an offensive weapon. There are two handles on the shield, and Steve Rogers can hold onto the handles in order to utilize it in an eastern style of fighting.
(at around 2h) Maria Hill's (Cobie Smulders') last scene is of her joining Stark Industries. In the comics, she served under Tony Stark, but it was the other way around, as he ended up joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
Kevin Feige selected Joe Russo and Anthony Russo to direct the film on the basis of their two back-to-back episodes of Community (2009) that they've directed, with which Feige was impressed: season two, episode twenty-three, "A Fistful of Paintballs" and season two, episode twenty-four, "For a Few Paintballs More".
In the comics, Steve Rogers often struggled financially, taking odd jobs such as comic book illustrator, teacher, etc. However, the Ultimates version states he is financially secure, since he was given sixty years of back pay by the Army for his time in suspended animation. The film version shows he remains employed as a government agent, like the 1960s-1970s comic version.
Shooting in Washington, D.C. put Steve Rogers, Black Widow, and Falcon in scenes at some of the most prominent national landmarks, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Abraham Lincoln Memorial, National Air and Space Museum, Capitol Building, National Mall, Occidental Restaurant at The Willard Hotel, DuPont Circle Neighborhood, and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, which the production shut down for the first time for the filming of a major motion picture.
Producer Kevin Feige described this movie as "a 1970s political thriller masquerading as a big superhero movie."
(at around 1h 2 mins) In this movie, the audience learns Natasha's full name: Natalia Alianovna Romanova.
This movie is the last live-action appearance of the late Garry Shandling. While this movie was his final appearance on the big screen, his final film role would be in a voice-over, in The Jungle Book (2016).
The freighter Batroc hijacks in the beginning is named the "Lemurian Star". This is a reference to Lemuria, the sunken continent that was the home of the Deviants, a race of superhumans created by Jack Kirby.
Anthony Mackie likes to say "cut the check!" whenever something had gone right or a scene had been completed. The phrase caught on during filming, and before long everyone on-set was saying it. However, according to the directors, he overdid it so many times that it started to lose effect after a while.
(at around 1h 30 mins) The photo of Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) from 1992 is a still image of Redford from Sneakers (1992).
UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre plays an Algerian mercenary in the film. For the filmmakers, landing the popular MMA fighter for the role, was a stroke of luck and good timing, but it was equally a stroke of luck for St. Pierre, who was excited to get his first chance at being in a big action movie.
(at around 2 mins) When Rogers talks for the first time with Wilson, he mentions some differences between his time and modern times. He comments "No polio is great". It's a nod to Captain America (1990), where Steve Rogers (Matt Salinger) was sick with polio before undergoing the experiment to become Captain America.
Prior to the release of this film, there was some doubt that this sequel would have much appeal outside of the United States considering the character's obvious American imagery. However, the film proved to be a major international success upon release.
(at around 2 mins) Cap's list of the things he missed, includes the Moon Landing. In the Marvel storyline "House of M" (an alternate reality, where Magneto and mutants rule the Earth) Cap was the first man on the moon.
Although Captain America never holds or uses a gun in this film, he is still sometimes seen wearing a holstered pistol on his belt.
In his first comic incarnation, Falcon had the superpower to communicate with birds telepathically. The film version, much like the Marvel Ultimate comics version, does not give Falcon any superpowers.
In the comics, the Winter Soldier trained Natasha Romanov, and the two eventually were in a romantic relationship.
Although playing a French/Algerian character, Georges St-Pierre speaks his lines in his native French-Canadian accent.
Anthony Mackie did this movie so that his son and other black children can see that there are superheroes who look like them.
The score from Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) is heard at the beginning, when Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson are jogging in Washington, D.C.
The name "exo-7" of the prototype wings used by Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon, is a pun on French pronunciation "exocet", which is the name of a type of flying fish that has shiny "wings".
Robert Redford was cast, in part, as an homage to his roles in 1970s thrillers like Three Days of the Condor (1975).
Georges St-Pierre, who plays Batroc the Leaper, is the former UFC Welterweight Champion (2008-2013), having vacated his title in December 2013.
This marks the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film in which vehicles produced by an American car maker, Chevrolet, are featured as part of a product-placement deal. Chevy vehicles prominently featured in the movie include a pre-production 2014 Corvette Stingray, driven by Natasha in an early scene; a Tahoe SUV (featuring a substantial number of S.H.I.E.L.D. upgrades, including bulletproof glass and the ability to drive itself) driven by Nick Fury during an extended chase sequence; a Silverado pickup truck driven by Steve; and an Impala driven by Sam. Other Chevy vehicles are plainly visible in some shots, including several of its limited-production Volt hybrid vehicle.
The Russo Brothers cited Klute (1971), The Parallax View (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975), All the President's Men (1976), The French Connection (1971), and To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) as inspirations for making this film.
Before settling on a darker military outfit, several of the proposed Falcon costumes featured a more armored look, complete with a helmet. At least one of the suits also retained Falcon's red and white color scheme from the comics, as well the golden forehead crest he wears on his mask.
Anna Kendrick, Felicity Jones, Imogen Poots, Teresa Palmer, Alison Brie, Emilia Clarke, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jessica Brown Findlay were considered to play Sharon Carter. Although the role ultimately went to Emily VanCamp, Olsen appears as Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch in a mid-credits scene.
One country where this film proved unexpectedly popular to a major degree was in China. Apparently, the adventures of a superhero with such a patriotic motif who was willing to defy his government when he found it morally necessary proved appealing to the citizenry of a nation with an authoritarian regime.
In the commentary, the filmmakers say the mask used by Natasha Romanov is based on the mask used by the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), thus showing another link between H.Y.D.R.A. and S.H.I.E.L.D.
(at around 1h 15 mins) Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans were in The Perfect Score (2004). In that movie, they, and a group of high school students, plot to steal the answers to the S.A.T. In this movie, when Black Widow and Captain America are interrogating Sitwell, he makes reference to "Perfect Score", when he says that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows everything about them, even their S.A.T. scores.
Michael B. Jordan read for the role of Falcon. He played Erik Killmonger in Black Panther (2018).
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Durand, and Josh Holloway screentested for the role of Brock Rumlow a.k.a. Crossbones.
In the opening sequence on the Lumerian Star, Captain America's shield has pale colors of red and blue. The next time you see Captain America with his shield after the mission on the ship, he has his shield with the original solid red and blue colors. There is no explanation of what happened to the first shield, as it is never seen again after the mission on the ship. It is assumed that it was simply painted muted colors for a camouflage effect, and then repainted to its original colors after the night mission.
(at around 1h 40 mins) Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) says "What if Pakistan marched into Mumbai tomorrow?" This dialogue is the reference to Mumbai terror attacks, which was done by terrorists group situated in Pakistan, on Hotel Taj Palace, Mumbai in 2008.
(at around 13 mins) The coordinates of the Triskelion (when corrected from the impossible south longitude to west longitude) are 38N 53'33.78" 77W 3' 38.91. This puts it on Theodore Roosevelt Island, in the Potomac River, Washington, D.C., with the shown view of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial to its southeast.
(at around 34 mins) When Steve sneaks into his apartment through the window, the book Night Stalkers by Mike Durant can be seen at the bottom of the horizontal stack of books. Durant served in the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, and was taken prison in Somalia during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. He was released after spending eleven days in captivity. Black Hawk Down (2001) portrayed the events of the battle, and Durant's capture.
In this movie, Natasha Romanov a.k.a. Black Widow was twenty-nine years old, one year older than Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, who was only twenty-eight years old (biologically). In real life, Scarlett Johansson is three years younger than Chris Evans.
Near the beginning of the film, in an aerial shot of Washington, D.C., the camera lingers on a shot centered on the Watergate complex, where President Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President (the Plumbers) broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, sparking the Watergate scandal, which led to the revelation Nixon had been using the intelligence agencies to gain political power. Robert Redford played Bob Woodward in the famous Watergate scandal movie All the President's Men (1976).
Chris McKenna, who worked with the Russo Brothers on Community (2009), did some script polishing during production.
When Steve Rogers is shown touring the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian, there is a museum board with the title, " Welcome Back Cap." with a message thanking Captain America for his service to America. The message is signed by President Matthew Ellis, who would first appear in Iron Man 3 (2013), portrayed by William Sadler.
The second time Henry Jackman replaced Alan Silvestri as the music composer for the film. The first being G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013).
In Captain America #180 (Dec. 1974) Steve Rogers can be seen leaping on top of cars in civilian clothes. A passerby comments that it must be Robert Redford.
F. Gary Gray and George Nolfi were considered to direct the film. F. Gary Gray previously directed Samuel L. Jackson in The Negotiator (1998), while George Nolfi previously directed Anthony Mackie in The Adjustment Bureau (2011).
Reunites Robert Redford with Scarlett Johansson after in The Horse Whisperer (1998), 16 years later.
In this movie, Robert Redford plays Alexander Pierce, and Sir Ben Kingsley plays Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3 (2013). Both worked together in Sneakers (1992), with Kingsley playing the villain, and Redford the main protagonist. Now, both Academy Award winning actors have been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ed Brubaker: (at around 1h 27 mins) A scientist at the birth of the Winter Soldier is played by the author of the Winter Soldier comic book.
Joss Whedon: (at around 18 mins) Writer and director of The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) as the man wearing a Captain America t-shirt, and going down the escalator with a little boy at the Smithsonian Institution.
Gary Sinise: (at around 18 mins) The info voice narrating the history of the Howling Commandos in the museum.
Stan Lee: (at around 1h 30 mins) As a security guard at the Smithsonian Institution, who notices the original Captain America costume is missing and says "I am so fired".
Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely: The film's writers appear as the two S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogators.
Danny Pudi: (at around 1h 35 mins) As the Com Tech operator who lets Captain America into the communications room. The Russo brothers previously directed Pudi on "Community," where he played Abed.